Power surges are very common in our daily lives. But just because they are common does not mean they are acceptable. Not only can they destroy appliances and electronics, they can also ruin electrical outlets, light switches, light bulbs, air conditioner components, and garage door openers. Power surges are usually brief, measuring in nanoseconds. However, they can cause considerable damage to our electronic equipment at home. As a homeowner, how do we protect ourselves from power surges?

The answer to this dilemma can be summed up in three words: ELECTRICAL SURGE PROTECTORS. An electrical surge protector is a system comprise of multiple components that shields computer and other electronic devices from power surges, also known as transient voltage. The standard American voltage for home and office buildings is 120 volts. Beyond this amount, the voltage can already cause damage to any electronic device plugged into an outlet.

There are two types of electrical surge protectors available for residential use:

Service entrance surge protection device. Commonly mounted at or near the incoming electrical service (either the main electric panel or electric meter), service entrance surge protection device protects the incoming electrical power line, incoming telephone line, as well as cable TV and satellite dish cable.

Point-of-use surge protection device. Commonly used at the appliance being protected, point-of-use surge protection devices are usually plugged into a wall outlet. They can protect all expensive electronics and appliances, such as TVs, VCRs, stereos, and computers.  More often than not, appliances that need this type of electrical surge protectors are those with electronic push buttons, electronic clocks, or digital displays. If the appliance has other wires connected to it, chances are those wires or cables must also run through point-of-use surge protection devices to provide protection on all lines.

Electrical surge protectors can protect your appliances from power surges caused by transient voltage, but do not expect them to protect your appliances from power surges cause by lightning. Electrical surge protectors more commonly protect equipment from lower-voltage surges that occur frequently in modern electrical wiring, but they are also vulnerable from surges caused by lightning storms. The best way to prevent damage from a lightning storm is to unplug the devices that could be irreparably damaged.

Most of the more reputable surge protection manufacturers back their product with a connected equipment replacement guarantee. If you are interested in installing electrical surge protectors in your home, contact the nearest electric service provider in your area. Make sure that the electrician sent to you for installations is a licensed electrician. It is always better to be safe than sorry.


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