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The Power Is Off!

by Vikki Nelson

That is what happened last night. The power went off. Boy, is it dark in your very own home or office if it’s nighttime, with no moon and you are one of many who has lost power.

That’s electric power. You suddenly realize you can’t run the water in the sink because the pump can’t work without electric. Or your electric blanket - out of service. It just goes on and on.

The word SURGE comes to mind. The utility company can only bill you for your service at the highest surge in your usage for the month. I am not certain how that happens. In as much as we seem to always have an outage sometime during the months. You know you have had a surge when you get home and your VCR is blinking at you at 12:00 noon. Of course it also works the same way where you work.

But we need to be concerned about protecting our equipment on occasions like these. I will give you some points to consider in situations like “power surges.”

For large computer systems and networks that cannot be easily disconnected from a power source, and for small systems owned by those of us who continue working through thunderstorms, surge protectors (or suppressors as they are more accurately called) are a must.

Surge suppressors are categorized by three main features:

1. Degree of protection against voltage changes.
2. Dollar amount of guarantee if system is damaged by those changes.
3. Price.

Better quality suppressors have hand features and higher prices, they detect and alert the user of dangerous conditions and feature audio alarms to warn about connection to a line with extreme changes.

How to determine what type of suppressors to buy. The rule of thumb is to add up the dollar amount that it would take to re-purchase all the equipment you’ll be attaching to that suppressor. Then buy a suppressor that offers at least that much financial guarantee.

Here’s a question. How would the guarantee work if lightning hit the house or office and fried your system? The reality is, even the best suppressors probably would not stop a direct hit by lightning. If lightning did strike and you were connected to a suppressor, you’d be covered against damage up to the amount of the guarantee offered by that particular model. Do your homework and search out the quality suppressors. There are many fine brands of surge suppressors on the market today. I know because I recently went shopping for one and there are many out there - brands like Belkin, Curtis, Kensington, Tripp Lite, and so on. Go on line while the electricity is still on and do your shopping.

Now, this is not the time of year we have thunderstorms, but we do have ice storms and heavy snows in the forecast. Do yourself a little Christmas shopping and include that on your list.

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