Protect More Than Just Your Computer
We all use surge protection strips. We plug our computers and equipment into them. We plug our televisions into them. We protect our electronics, game consoles, and music equipment. How many of us think about our refrigerators and dishwashers though? Or what about the furnace, or the air conditioner? How would you feel, besides sweaty, if on one of these humid, stormy, ninety-degree days, the lightning causes a power surge and your air conditioning stops working? Surge protection is something we think about on a small scale, but let’s widen the lens a little bit.
Surge Protection Strips
Energy surges are described as short, but extremely high, spikes in voltage due to power line damage or lightning. Selecting the right kind of surge protection can keep your appliances and electronics safe from damage caused by these surges.
Surge protection strips are easy to use, and on a small scale they can be an affordable way to protect your electronics and appliances. They can be purchased at most electronics stores and large department stores. When choosing a surge strip, make sure you are choosing one that can handle the energy from the equipment you plan to plug into it. Look for labeling that indicates the strip is up to industry standards. If it just says “UL” then it is not surge protection but simply a power strip. Also make sure it has a high enough amperage rating for the items you intend to plug into it.
Whole House Protection
Beyond the small scale of sure protection strips, which only protect the items plugged into them, you should also look into whole-house surge protection. A whole-house surge protection device, installed at the circuit breaker box, will give you an added layer of protection. Surge strips at your computer will not protect against very large current surges like those from lightning strikes. Whole-house surge protection can mean the difference between losing important devices, electronics, or appliances and coming through an electrical surge unscathed. In addition to outdoor forces, lightning and damaged power lines, that can cause a surge, a large number of power surges can come from inside the home, from large appliances that cycle on and off. These could be things like your air conditioner, clothes dryer, or refrigerator. Talk to a licensed professional electrician if you think that whole-house protection is an option you would like to discuss or install.
And while you are speaking with an electrician, ask them about surge arresters. Surge arresters are outside surge protectors that can be installed on the electric meter. These can protect your large appliances like your furnace or air conditioner which are hard-wired and unable to be plugged into a surge strip from being damaged by power surges. These are permanently mounted devices which, like whole-house surge protection, should only be installed by a professional and licensed electrician.
Knowledge is power. Talk with a licensed professional electrician to learn more about how to protect your electrical possessions from power surges. Take charge of the power in your home.