A power surge is a sudden increase in power, at a voltage that is above the regular low of electricity. For this sudden increase in voltage to be characterised as a power surge it must occur for at least three nanoseconds (billionths of a second). A spike, on the other hand, lasts for only one or two nanoseconds. Voltage surges and spikes can occur often with any electrical connection, meaning it is likely to occur and may damage any electrical appliance you own that is unable to withstand sudden variations in power. More expensive electrical devices that use the most amount of power are especially prone to power surges, meaning they are likely to be damaged.
WHY ARE SURGE PROTECTORS IMPORTANT?
Surge protectors are important as they are able to control any unexpected and potentially damaging and dangerous spikes in electricity that may break or impair your functioning electrical goods. A surge protector is a device that typically connects to an alternating current (AC) or telephone line in order to protect your electrical goods from voltage spikes. They work by short-circuiting power surges as they occur and redirecting them to electrical ground. They are essential to anybody with electrical goods, and are particularly important for protecting computers and hard drives that are vulnerable to losing accessibility and security of vast amounts of computer data. Even without a complete product failure at the time of the power surge, electronics may wear down over time as power surges continue to occur without the barrier of a surge protector.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A SURGE PROTECTOR?
Joules Rating - This is the primary indicator of how effective the surge protector is at barring surges and spikes from affecting your electrical devices. To put it simply, Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) dissipate the excess energy caused by the surge or spike into heat. As a result, overall joules rating is determined by the quality and quantity of the MOVs in a surge protector. Higher joules ratings mean that the surge protector has a longer life span and also better deals with spikes and surges in power. Good protection is usually around a 500 Joules rating and impressive protection is when the surge protector gets up to 5000 Joules.
Clamping Voltage - The clamping voltage refers to the maximum voltage allowed to pass through the surge protector to the connected electronic device. The lower the clamping voltage, generally the better, because allowing too much energy may result in damaging levels of power. In the event of a power surge, the surge protector clamps the voltage by redirecting it. Clamping voltages are generally between 300 and 500V; a safe level that you should look for when buying a surge protector.
Response Time to Surge - The speed of response to a power surge is important in surge protectors. The faster the response time, the more effective the surge protector at protecting your connected electronic device. It is typically expected that a surge protector have a reaction time of a matter of nanoseconds, and the best surge protectors take less than one nanosecond.
Degradation - The last thing you want is to think you're appliances are protected when they're not. It is important that you look for a surge protector which has an indicator light that tells you if the surge protector is still working effectively and hasn't worn out. It is inevitable that the surge protector will eventually wear out as the protective circuitry will burn out, and it is essential that you are aware of when this happens as to avoid electronic device damage from power surges or spikes.
Form Factor - Surge protectors come in an array of styles and sizes, including strip, in-line (for use with laptops), direct plug-in and under-monitor and lots more. It is important that you choose the style of surge protector according to your needs. Some surge protectors even have USB outlets so that you can plug your phone or tablet charger directly into the port of the surge protector meaning you have more plug space for other appliances.
Warranty - Do your research and check what kind of warranty is provided with your surge protector. Some warranties won’t cover lighting but will cover power surges while others will cover it all. Some warranties will cover high figures of money for damages to your appliances in the event of failure which means that if something should go wrong you can be assured that your appliances will be repaired or replaced.
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