Protect Your Valuable Electronics from Power Surges

Protect Your Valuable Electronics from Power Surges

Microchips - you'll find them everywhere in the modern household. Even everyday appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators use them.
There's only one problem: microchips are notoriously susceptible to power surges. One good jolt and your new giant flat panel TV or whole-house sound system can be toast - very expensive toast. And, contrary to popular opinion, lightning is not the most common cause of power surges. According to the Leviton Institute, 80% of temporary power surges come from inside the home, when appliances like refrigerators, washing machines or even laser printers cycle on or off.
What You Don't See Can Hurt You
While less dramatic than a direct lightning strike that takes out everything in its path, everyday household dips and spikes in voltage do their damage over time, insidiously eroding performance of electronic components and especially sensitive gear like computers. Do the words "hard drive crash" strike fear into your heart?
Fortunately, surge protective devices (SPDs) offer outstanding protection from power surges, safeguarding your expensive appliances, electronics, and computers, and the irreplaceable information stored on them.
How They Work
SPDs are the wallflowers of the electrical world. Most of the time, they sit there, unnoticed. Until you need them, that is; then, in the space of nanoseconds, they spring into action. A metal oxide varistor or gas discharge arrestor in the SPD diverts the potentially destructive surge of voltage to the ground wire, where it is safely channeled away.
SPDs come in a wide range of models to fit every budget. While they all offer protection, a whole-house network combining layers of SPDs provides protection in depth, and should stop anything short of a direct lightning hit.
Power Strip SPDs
_ Are priced from $15 to $100, depending on features.
_ Offer a good localized defense against temporary power surges.
_ Typically provide 6-8 outlets, enough for a home office or den.
_ Should include protection for FAX, cable, or Ethernet lines, "back doors" that surges can enter through.
_ Are available at any electronics or computer store.
_ Should display the UL 1449 label, which means they meet tested and approved standards.
Surge Protective Receptacles
_ Install in place of regular outlets.
_ Keep your floor clear of wires.
_ Offer sleek designer styling as well as ample protection.
Surge Panel and Meter Adaptors
_ Meter Socket Surge Adaptors form a powerful first line of defense outside the house, and can be installed by your utility company.
_ Panel-Mounted Surge Protectors, installed by a professional electrician near the breaker box, will tame most powerful surges before they can reach your valuable electronics.