What is a surge protector?
Todays expensive home electronics rely on solid state circuits. Each chip can contain millions of transistors. While these chips are small and powerful, they are also extremely vulnerable to power surges or spikes. These power surges can shut down your equipment, cause a loss of memory or damage the internal circuitry. Even when power surges do not result in obvious damage to your equipment, they are taking their toll and can eventually result in the failure of the equipment.
You can protect your home electronics by installing surge protectors. A surge protector is a device that re-directs power surges through an alternate path of least resistance, protecting valuable electronic equipment. Surge protectors should be installed on any equipment that contains a microprocessor. Surge protection devices are available for microwaves, refrigerators and other household appliances, televisions, VCRs, stereos, phones and fax machines, and personal computers and accessories.
What to look for:
- Clamping voltage is the voltage at which the surge protector cuts off the power surge. The lower the clamping voltage, the greater the protection.
- Joules are the unit of energy for rating the suppression capacity of surge protectors. One Joule is equal to one Watt per second. The higher the Joules rating, the greater the protection.
- Filtering refers to the ability of the surge protector to remove interference and supply "clean" power. The two basic types of interference are:
- Electromechanical Interference (EMI) - caused by motors switching on or off on the same line or other electromagnetic irregularities being absorbed and transmitted by the same line.
- Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) - caused by radio waves being absorbed and transmitted by the same line.
- Warranty - in many cases, the manufacturer of the surge protector offers warranties on connected equipment, protecting your investment even if the surge protector fails.