Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Replace your surge protectors regularly and after severe spikes

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Many people purchase a surge protector and forget about it. The problem is that surge protectors degrade over time especially after protecting against a voltage spike..

Surge protectors are needed because your voltage can ‘spike’ which will damage equipment. The surge protectors dissipate the extra voltage.

However, think of them as an old castle wall taking cannonball hits. Eventually, the repeated impacts will wear down the wall. The same is true of surge protectors. If a protector is rated at 1000 joules, it will be able to protect your equipment until that limit is reached. In other words, a 1000 joule surge protector will protect until you get a 1000 joule hit. After that it no longer protects you. However, if you took ten 100 joule hits, the protector is also depleted.

Surge protectors are relatively inexpensive and can protect your equipment from costly damage.

Some rules of thumb:

  • Consider UPS systems instead of surge protectors
  • If the surge strip has a protection indicator light, check that periodically.
  • Put a date on the surge protectors when you install them and set a replacement interval.
  • Replace your surge strips when you purchase new equipment.
  • Replace the surge protectors after taking a hit in your building that damaged unprotected equipment.  In other words, if you have a storm and a couple of electronic components are fried, replace ALL of your surge protectors.
Some people recycle depleted surge protectors as simple power strips but I’m not sure of the wisdom of using an electrical/electronic device that has been hit with a surge.

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