Worried about what a power surge might do to your home electronics or appliances? Want to know what you can do to help protect yourself?
We asked the National Institute for Standards and Technology to help us better understand the problem Ö
We know: About Power Surge Protectors
What's a power surge?
The power in your home outlets is 120 volt AC power. Lightning, short-circuits and downed power lines can cause that voltage to jump by hundreds or thousands of volts. These spikes in voltage are called Ďsurgesí.
Even a surge lasting a fraction of a second can cause damage to your electronics and appliances.
What kinds of power surges are there?
Power surges can enter your home through electric power connections, telephone connections, cable connections and antennas.
What can I do to protect my electronics and appliances?
On common solution is to buy surge protectors or suppressors to help protect your home. These devices generally divert the power surge to the ground in order to keep it from affecting electronics and appliances.
What kinds of surge protectors or suppressors are there?
There are three common kinds of surge protectors or suppressors:
Will a surge protector installed at the service panel protect the whole house?
Yes, for any appliances using the power system, but not for appliances that may also be hooked up to cable, an antenna or the phone line.
Does a plug-in surge protector protect all the sockets in the house?
In general, it only protects the socket in which itís plugged. (It does give some protection to appliances on the same branch circuit.) So, itís best to install a surge protector for each sensitive appliance in the house.
What should I look for when I shop?
Always make sure the surge protector youíre about to buy has been tested by a product safety testing organization, such as UL, ETL or CSA. Look for their labels on the package.