Surge protectors help protect some of our most valuable and sensitive electronic, computer and stereo equipment from power surges. These surges usually only last a moment, but over time repeated surges can deteriorate electrical components causing them to fail.
A power surge is an increase in voltage significantly above the designated level in a flow of electricity. In the U.S., the standard voltage for houses and offices is 120 volts. Power surges occur when something causes a boost in the electrical charge at some point in the power lines. Lightening, high power electrical devices such as elevators, air conditioners and refrigerators, faulty wiring, problems with the utility company’s equipment, and downed power lines can cause a surge. Because power surges happen regularly and are unavoidable, it is important to use surge protectors.
There is a wide variety of surge protectors available, however they are not all considered equal. A basic power strip or extension cord will cost around $5, but only provide very basic protection. To get more protection, and extra features, expect to pay between $15 and $25. A surge station is a large surge protector that fits under your computer or on the floor. They offer superior voltage protection and most models have an input for a phone line to protect your modem as well. Uninterrupted Power Supply, or (UPS), combine surge protection with a continuous UPS. These convert AC power to DC power and store it on a battery. From there, the UPS converts the battery’s DC power back to AC and runs it to the AC outlets for your electronics. While a UPS will give you good protection, you should still use a surge protector. The main job of a UPS is to provide back-up power in order to save volatile computer data.