Protecting your electronics
Most of us have many electronic devices in our homes and businesses. These devices
– everything from microwaves to computers – can be damaged by momentary high voltage,
commonly called a surge or a spike. Fortunately, protecting your equipment is as
simple as choosing a quality surge protector.
Any equipment that contains electronic circuits is susceptible to damage. Electronic
circuits are found in computers, printers, fax machines, TVs, stereos and
microwave ovens. If equipment is expensive, hard to replace, or if it contains critical
data, you should protect it. Damage from multiple surges over a period of time may
not become apparent until the equipment is inoperable.
Surge protectors are the best way to protect your equipment from surges. The minimum
level of protection for valued or expensive electronic equipment is a plug-in surge
For business-critical or a higher level of home protection, a layered
approach is recommended, in which you use a surge protector at the electric service
entrance, as well as a plug-in surge protector.
Service entrance surge protectors
are designed to be the first level of defense and will not stop surges created within
your home or business. Plug-in surge protectors reduce the surge voltage to your
protected equipment to safer levels. If you believe you need more than a plug-in
surge protector, call EWEB's Power Quality Hotline.
Many products advertise energy dissipation (usually expressed in joules) or response
time as valuable features. These features are not tested by the Underwriters Laboratory
(UL), and therefore should not be relied on. There is no substitute for a UL 1449
listing as a surge protector.
Simply plug your surge protector into a properly grounded, three-pronged outlet.
It is critical for the outlet to be grounded and properly wired for the surge protector
Most surge protectors degrade over time; their life expectancies vary according
to the number and strength of surges the protector has received. Generally, the
older your surge protector, the greater the possibility that high voltage can reach
your "protected" equipment and cause damage. Also, surge protectors manufactured
prior to February 16, 1998, met less stringent safety and fire requirements for a
To be safe, replace your surge protector within the warranty period. Mark the date
of purchase and warranty expiration date on the protector to keep track. When you
replace a surge protector and don't want to throw it away, move it to a less critical
or expensive piece of equipment that was previously unprotected.
Call EWEB's Power Quality Hotline at 541-685-7676 if you have questions or need more