There is little, if anything, you can buy today that does not have some electronic component. Make sure your electronics last as long as possible, not replacement plans or extended warranties, but by protecting your products from electrical surges.

What is a surge? Computer Hope ( on the ‘Net’ says: “Alternatively known as a line surge, a surge is an unexpected increase in voltage in an electrical current that can cause damage to electrical equipment. For example, the standard United States voltage is 120V. If an electrical current above this rating was to come through a power outlet for more than three nanoseconds, this would be considered a surge; anything less is considered a spike. A surge is usually created by lightning and can damage to unprotected computers and sometimes even protected computers.”

Many people think a blink in your power is a surge, but these are generally caused by something like a tree contacting a line. In such cases, our system’s protective devices cause an interruption to protect the wires and other components. These are not surges, but more like turning a light on and off.

True surges can enter a home through power lines, telephone lines, cable/satellite connections, water lines and any other metallic system that connects to your home. To protect against surges, you need to take a three-pronged approach.

  • Make sure all the grounds in your home are good and that they are bonded together.
    Over the years, grounds can deteriorate, or new services can be added with inadequate grounding. A faulty ground can allow surges into the home rather than bleeding them off into the earth. Get a qualified electrician to test and correct your grounding system.
  • Protect your electrical service entrance with a surge device.
    The easiest to install are those mounted behind the meter. They can also be mounted at the main electric panel. When a surge travels down the electric lines, these devices will act to “clamp” the surge and reduce its power. These are sacrificial devices that allow themselves to be destroyed rather than allowing the surge to pass through.
  • Protect expensive devices at their point of use, like computers and entertainment equipment.
    Surges can enter the home via avenues other than the power lines, and computers and entertainment equipment are frequently connected to cable and phone lines. These devices need to have protection at the point of use that covers all possible avenues in the form of a power strip or wall device most of us are familiar with. Look for one with a joule rating of at least 1,000, a connected equipment warranty and compatibility with digital signals from cable and satellite, and look for a “smart” strip that turns off all but one connected device when not in use.

Save money on your electric bill while protecting your equipment. It’s a definite win-win.

Source: Tom Tate

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