Like power strips, surge protectors allow multiple components to be plugged into the same device and outlet. Besides offering more plug space, surge protectors are also utilized to decrease the risk of circuit shortages, damage to appliances, and hazards like electrical fires.
How Do Surge Protectors Work?
Surge protectors are used to protect against power surges and the damage they can cause to a home’s electrical wiring. The surge protector flows the electrical current from the outlet to each device plugged in and monitors the voltage levels to ensure they do not exceed the standard voltage (120 volts). If it rises above, the surge protector will redirect the electricity into the outlet’s grounding wire, a safe path for electricity to flow to avoid harming your appliance, home, and family.
What is a Power Surge?
A power surge is when there is an increase in the amount of voltage moving through electrical devices and exceeds the standard voltage level. This can heat and burn the electrical wires in the appliances, causing them to stop working entirely or shortening their lifespan. Power surges can not only destroy appliances but also are capable of causing fires and ruining a home’s circuit system. Power surges can be generated from the use of high-powered devices, poor wiring, and incorrect lighting.
When are Surge Protectors Needed?
Surge protectors should be used for appliances that contain microprocessors, typically found in devices that are electronic, expensive, and/or require a lot of power to operate. These include computers, televisions, microwaves, washing machines, and many other high-powered technologies.
Choosing the Best Surge Protector
It can be overwhelming to know which surge protector to purchase with many options out there. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a surge protector to ensure it is reliable and safe:
- Make sure an indicator light is included as it tells if the surge protector is functioning properly or not;
- Only buy surge protectors that have transient voltage and a UL rating seal;
- Use a surge protector with a clamping voltage below 400 volts and a joule rating of at least 600.
Visit our electrical safety page to learn more, or feel free to call Lion Electrical at (970) 632-2281 for all of your home’s electrical needs!
*Information for this article was gathered from Make Use Of and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.