The advancement of technology has led to an increased demand in consumer electronics. Every home is laden with LCD, LED, or Plasma TV, stereo and home theater equipment, gaming consoles, computer desk-tops, laptops, printers, scanners, faxes and so on which are prone to damage caused by power surges. Most people simply ignore or are not aware of the risk they face of losing all their electronics. A power surge protection for your whole house is the only solution to this problem.
So how does a power surge damage your electronics?
In the U.S, residential homes are wired to take in 120 Volts of alternating current. However, the energy consuming appliances use more electricity often peaking way above what your other electronics can take in. Computers and television operate at their optimal level when the electricity flow is stable. Therefore, they are damaged when the current is continually disturbed as you continue to use these high-energy consuming appliances.
What causes power surges?
There are several factors that can cause a power surge.
- As mentioned above, high-energy appliances are a major cause of power surges.
- The other major cause is faulty wiring. If the wiring in your house is not done properly, it will create sudden increments in the supply of electricity to your electronics.
- Your utility’s equipment may cause power surges too, if they are faulty. Such equipment may include transformers and generators.
- Electricity outages create a sudden increase of electricity flow to your electronics too. If frequent, they may damage them over time or shorten their lifespan.
Types of power surge protectors
The metal oxide varistor (MOV) is the widely used power surge protector. It diverts excess current to its grounding line. There is another type called gas discharge arrestor, which uses gas to direct extra current to the grounding wire.
These devices have a joule rating which basically tells you the amount of electricity it can absorb in its lifespan. These devices have connections for telephone and coaxial cables to protect them too. You will see an indicator light to indicate failure of the device. Although it will still supply energy to your electronics, it does not protect them at this stage.
Most people believe that lightning is the major cause of power surges. While its effects may be devastating, it rarely causes a power surge. Having a power surge protector is a great way to protect your electronics. Get a residential electrician to install it for you. However, if you want to Do-It-Yourself, it is important to confirm the UL rating and check warranty duration when purchasing a power surge protector.