Geeks in Phoenix

Geek Blog

Surge Protectors

Updated July 8, 2024

In today's modern world, our lives are powered by electronic devices. Our homes are filled with valuable tools, from smartphones and laptops to entertainment systems and kitchen appliances. However, these devices are more vulnerable than we realize, at risk of being damaged by power surges, a threat we often overlook. This is where surge protectors come into play, serving as a crucial line of defense against electrical spikes that could wreak havoc on our beloved devices. In this article, we will explore the importance of surge protectors, how they work, and why you should consider integrating them into your home and office setups.

First and foremost, it's essential to understand a power surge and how it can impact your electronics. A power surge, also known as a transient voltage, is a short burst of electrical energy that can significantly exceed the standard voltage levels in a circuit. Various factors, including lightning strikes, utility company switching, and electrical faults within the home, can cause these surges. A power surge can overwhelm the delicate circuitry in your electronics, leading to irreversible damage or a shortened lifespan.

Surge protectors are not just devices. They are the guardians of your electronic devices. They are designed to detect an overvoltage condition and safely divert excess electricity to the ground, ensuring that it never reaches your valuable equipment. Surge protectors provide a sense of security by acting as a barrier between your devices and the electrical supply, knowing that your electronics are shielded from potential harm.

Now, you might wonder if surge protectors are necessary or just an optional add-on. Investing in surge protectors is wise for anyone looking to safeguard their electronic investments. While many modern devices have built-in protection circuits, these internal safeguards are not always sufficient to ward off the full force of a power surge. A quality surge protector adds an extra layer of defense that can make all the difference when a surge occurs.

Not all surge protectors are created equal. It's essential to choose one that can handle the power demands of your electronics while providing a sufficient level of surge protection. Look for surge protectors with a high joule rating, indicating the energy they can absorb before needing replacement. Additionally, consider features such as USB ports, coaxial cable protection, and the number of outlets to ensure that the surge protector meets your needs.

A typical surge protector/power strip uses Metal Oxide Varistor(s) (MOV). The cheapest kind may use just one varistor, from hot (live, active) to neutral. A better protector would contain at least three varistors, one across each of the three pairs of conductors (hot-neutral, hot-ground, neutral-ground).

While a MOV is designed to conduct significant power for very short durations (~8/20 microseconds), such as caused by lightning strikes, it typically does not have the capacity to conduct sustained energy. Under normal utility voltage conditions, this is not a problem. However, certain types of faults on the utility power grid can result in sustained over-voltage conditions. Examples include a loss of a neutral conductor or shorted lines on the high voltage system. Applying sustained over-voltage to a MOV can cause high dissipation, potentially resulting in the MOV device catching fire.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has documented many cases of catastrophic fires caused by MOV devices in surge suppressors and issued bulletins on the issue. Now, when it comes to critical computer hardware (servers, switches, etc.), I recommend enterprise-grade Brickwall Non-Fail Surge Protectors by Price Wheeler LLC. They do not contain any MOVs and can take surges up to 6000V and 3000A.

In conclusion, surge protectors are not just a necessity but a proactive step towards securing the integrity of our electronic devices in the face of power surges. By understanding the potential risks associated with power spikes and the protective capabilities of surge protectors, we can make informed decisions to secure our valuable electronics. Whether at home or in the workplace, integrating surge protectors into our setups is a proactive step towards ensuring the longevity and reliability of our electronic investments. So, the next time you ponder the necessity of surge protectors, remember that they serve as invaluable guardians, standing between your devices and the unpredictable nature of electrical disturbances.

Add comment

Free computer diagnostics

Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

Check out our reviews

Geeks In Phoenix LLC, BBB Business Review

Customer service is #1

Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (602) 795-1111  and talk with one of our Geeks. Or you can send us a message from our contact page , and one of our Geeks will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you can stop by and see us. Here are our hours and location.

Like Geeks in Phoenix on Facebook

Follow Geeks in Phoenix on Twitter

Watch Geeks in Phoenix on YouTube