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What Can Surge Protectors Really Do to Protect Your Home?

by B.Annie on October 1, 2018

We are busting the myth here and now. Unfortunately, your surge protector cannot protect your home during a lightning storm. While a surge protectors’ purpose is to stop voltage spikes and surges, it can not take on a direct a lighting strike. Even full-fledged lightning protection systems with rods, cables and solid grounding (which often provide a good degree of defense against a direct strike) cannot guarantee against damage to equipment. The best defense during a storm is to disconnect devices in order to protect them. So what can surge protectors really do to protect your home?

Before you purchase a surge protector understand the power of joules

Not quite a jewel, but still very important. A joule rating tells you how much energy dissipation your surge protector is capable of. Essentially, joules are the measurement of energy your protector can take before blowing out. If the joules ratings are too low, you may only be protected through one event. You want a higher joules rating for greater protection. You want a surge protector that can take on high voltage spikes.

How to determine what’s the best surge protector for your home’s needs

A surge protector with a higher joules rating will be able to absorb more energy before dispersing it to your devices. A useful formula for when you are searching for the best unit:

1 Joule= 1 Watt x 1 Second

Watts are the rate at which a device uses electricity. A device that uses 1 Watt will consume 1 Joule each second. In addition to determining the joules, there are four other aspects regarding your surge protector that should also be considered.

Be aware of the surge protectors’ clamping voltage

This term refers to the maximum amount of voltage that can pass through the surge protector before it restricts further voltage from passing to a device or computer. The UL (VPR)-Underwriters Laboratories Voltage Protection Rating-indicates the surge protectors clamping voltage. The lower the rating, the better the protection. Any device that is capable of receiving a maximum of 120 volts can crash or malfunction if it is supplied with higher voltage (The maximum voltage distributed to homes and offices ranges from 120 volts to 240 volts). Clamping voltage ensures that the input voltage from the computer or device remains within the baseline.

Be aware of power and noise filtration

Do not ask whether to buy a surge protector or a power filter. A surge protector is a must! A power line filter will mask what is referred to as noise-electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). Designed to reduce noise, filters go on power lines to improve sound and picture quality on entertainment systems.

Factor in line protection

Surges can occur between hot, neutral and ground lines.Hot wires provide a circuit’s path between the breaker and any lights or appliances. Neutral wires provide the rest of the path. Meaning, the path between these same lights or appliances and the panel’s grounded neutral bar. The ground wires, like neutral wires, are connected to the grounding point in the panel. These wires are not meant to carry a current under normal conditions. It is important to secure a surge protector that can cover all three lines (hot, neutral and ground).

Be sure to check the warranty

Some surge protectors offer a warranty on the devices connected to the unit if a power surge does by chance get through. It is a good idea to know what is covered (and what is not). Be sure to know how to file a warranty claim should the surge protector fail.

When you purchase the right surge protector, it is just the start for finding the best protection for your home. For additional advice and help regarding all of your electrical needs, contact the professionals at Winstar.