5 Surge Protection Myths – Things you should know
Myth #1 - Power Strips & Surge Protectors Are All the Same.
Most people don’t know anything about the difference between a power strip and a surge protector, all they see is that they get more outlets to plug their appliances into. I am here to tell you there is a HUGE difference. Power strips are great for uses like a line of crockpots in your kitchen for a family gathering or a metal power strip in your garage for your shop vacuum, radio and the pressure washer you will be using all at the same time. I know what you’re thinking, well both the power strip and the surge protector have a circuit breaker in them so that will protect my equipment. Think again! A circuit breaker is a small line of defense but are you going to plug your 55-inch smart TV into a power strip by the off chance the on-off circuit breaker will save it? No. You need a surge protector with a good amount a joules to protect that high end appliance.
Myth #2 - Any Surge Protector Will Do.
There are a lot of factors to think of when you are purchasing a surge protector. What appliance or appliances are you going to be plugging into the surge protector? The type of appliances can determine the joule rating you will need for your devices. Small appliances like lamps, radios, digital clocks would need less than 1000 joule rated surge protector. To protect medium appliances and electronics like power tools, home printers, and mini fridges you would need a surge projector between 1000-2000 joules. For all major electronics and appliances I recommend a Joule rating higher than 2000, the higher the joule rating the better the protection. What is the cost of your appliance (TV, computer, game system, etc.). Does the surge you’re considering offer a product warranty or replacement as well? How far is the appliance from the wall outlet? Keep in mind the length of the cord on the surge protector because they need to be directly plugged into a wall outlet not daisy chained with an extension cord to work properly. Do I need one with USB connectivity to charge my phone, tablet or Bluetooth device? Do I need to plug in my Coax for cable connectivity or RJ45 for Ethernet cable connectivity? When you are choosing the right surge protector you need to think of all the other things you would like to plug into it. For example, if you are plugging in your TV, DVD player, sound bar, cable connection and your gaming console you would opt for a high end home entertainment surge protector that could accommodate all of that and maybe even have a USB for your headphones.
Myth #3 - Lighting Strikes Are the Only Thing That Cause Surges in Power.
You may not know this but there is power surges everyday throughout your electricity lines. If you have ever been in a building and had all the lights flicker that is a power surge. A power surge can originate from the power plant switching grids or grid failure or it can come from your large appliances turning on like your microwave or your air conditioner or even circuit overloads and faulty wiring. There are a variety of reasons why you should have a surge protection regardless of the weather.
Myth #4 - A Surge Protector Will Protect My Equipment From a Lightning Strike.
Having a surge “protector” sometimes creates that sense of false security since it has protector in the name. Don’t get me wrong a surge protector is a great security measure against the everyday electrical surges and remnants of a lightning strike in neighboring cities to your electronics. However, it will not stop a lightning strike in or around your neighborhood from damaging you’re plugged in appliances and electronics. A lightning strike generates billions of joules of power. When lightning strikes there are usually fires, power outages, and extreme home damage, meaning there is nothing on earth that can withstand that kind of energy especially a small surge protector.
Myth #5 - Turning Off My Appliance Protects Them From Power Surges.Because we associate power with surges it is natural to think that if I turn off my power strip or surge protector that my appliances are now safe from the big bad surges of power. WRONG! So long as the plug is connected to the wall where the power is constantly flowing your devices are at risk. The power from the wall is constantly flowing and if a surge of power flows it will push into the surge protector or power strip via the conducting wires and into the appliances connected to them thus damaging them. If you are concerned about a particular device, you should be using a surge protector that is 1200 joules or higher (Prime sells up to 4200 joules), or for the truly worried, the best way to truly protect against a power surge is to unplug everything from the wall outlet.