Most families rely on a great deal of expensive electrical equipment to help facilitate today’s modern way of life. While people have been using televisions and appliances for decades, people today are increasingly integrating “smart” components into their homes. These computer-run systems may control alarm systems, household locks and windows, heating and air, lighting, and much more.
With this reliance on technology, it’s more important than ever to protect the home from sudden electrical spikes, which may be caused by lightning or by household appliances, which may kick back extra electricity. Most people cannot afford to replace all of their technology in the event of a power surge. It makes much more sense to find protection ahead of time.
What Can Be Done?
The best way to prevent damage to a home’s electrical equipment is with a surge suppression system. These are strips that plug into power outlets, often providing extra outlets for devices. The suppressors buffer extra energy from electrical spikes. If it is working correctly, the homeowner should not be aware that an event has occurred at all.
How Does It Work?
A surge suppression device first equalizes as much of the energy as it can and then diverts any excess energy away from equipment through the outlet’s grounding line. Most protectors do this by using a metal oxide varistor (MOV) joined to the incoming power line and the grounding wire by two semiconductors. When there is a surge in voltage, the MOV conducts that extra energy and sends it out through the ground. This occurs while still maintaining a steady level of electricity to the devices plugged into the protector.
The protection offered by suppressors is measured in “joules,” and the devices have a bank of joules that is not regenerated. In other words, if there has been a lot of recent electrical activity nearby (blown transformers, severe thunderstorms), it’s probably best to get a new strip.
Protect All Lines
Surges can come through electrical wires, but they can also come through telephone and cable lines. Some systems come equipped with connectors for these lines. Be sure that any devices connected to these are protected as well. Also, note that suppressors are different from regular power strips, which aside from a standard circuit breaker will not protect household items.
Surge suppression systems are usually inexpensive (although they are available in a wide range of price points). Some may come with a warranty to protect any devices plugged into them, so research the different options before making a purchase.
It’s best to have several suppressors throughout the home, protecting all of the family’s expensive technology, and replace them as often as necessary. Like any other piece of protective equipment, no one can truly appreciate the value of these suppressors until it is too late.
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