Why Surge Protection
Why Should You Use Surge Protection?
Well, picture Power Protection as a Presidential Security Officer. He usually only lets certain people in and quickly disperses any potential threats. Interesting analogy right? Well, a good surge protection device does essentially the same thing. It allows in only the electricity it needs and not the dangerous over-voltages—it then protects your devices from any trouble that can occur from surges inside the house.
Lightning isn’t the biggest danger to electronics and other systems in the home.
“Most people think of surges as lightning, but 80 percent of surges are transient (short, intense bursts), and we generate them ourselves,” says the expert. “They’re internal to the home.” Generators and motors like those in air conditioning units and appliances introduce small surges into a home’s electrical lines. “It’s rare that one large surge will take out appliances and everything at one time,” but those mini-surges over the years will add up, degrade the performance of electronics and cut short their useful lifespans.
If an appliance or device sends a surge through a circuit that’s shared among other devices and not dedicated, then those other outlets could be susceptible to a surge, which is why you don’t want it just at the electrical panel. Surge protection should be layered in the house to be at both at the electrical service to protect the whole home and at the point of use to protect sensitive electronics. Power conditioners with surge suppression capability, along with the ability to provide filtered power to audio/video equipment, are recommended for many home theater and home entertainment systems.
ALL electronic equipment that plugs into AC power should be protected. Without suitable protection, your expensive home theater, sound system, TV, entertainment center or computer equipment will likely be damaged by the surges and spikes that afflict our electrical systems. You may not see the damage until the system fails, but it can still be there, gradually “eating away” at your electronics.
Components in today’s electronic devices (including everything from computers and entertainment systems, Plasma/LCD TV’s to home appliances like microwave ovens) are smaller and more delicate than their predecessors, and thus more sensitive to fluctuations in voltage. Microprocessors, in particular require stable voltage. Unfortunately, electrical power quality can change in seconds, due to sub-station switching, lightning or cable faults. Anything over the standard voltage is called a “transient” and, depending on its severity and duration, can also be called a “spike” or “surge”. Even though they may be so brief that they are measured in microseconds, they can still damage your equipment.
Surges and spikes occur daily. Many are virtually unnoticeable, but inevitably, some stronger power pulses will cause damage — either immediately or over a period of time. The time before and after an outage (blackout), especially during a thunderstorm, is characterized by noticeable surges and spikes, much like how tremors are felt before and after an earthquake. Even if you do not personally notice these fluctuations, your unprotected electronic equipment will.
It is important to note that not all damage to electronic equipment is caused by a massive electrical surge. Most often, power-related equipment failure is due to the “wearing down” of your components over months or years of exposure to relatively mild electrical spikes until, eventually they fail. Picture this analogy, a man sitting down if front of a large block of ice. He chips away consistently until one strike where he shatters the block of ice. This is what is happening to the components inside your electrical equipment when it subjected to poor power quality.
The high and low voltage surges that affect modern household, business, marine & mobile electrical installations can come from various sources. External voltage surges can include the start up or shutdown of nearby heavy equipment, fallen power lines, electrical storms, or even the normal “switching” of a nearby electrical substation. Internal voltage surges can include, heavy equipment such as refrigerators and air-conditioners drawing large amounts of current when switching on and off their motors/compressors.