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How to Buy a Surge Protector

How to Buy a Surge Protector

How to Buy a Surge Protector

We all know we need surge protection, but there is such a wide array of products – and price ranges – at the store. How do you know if what you are buying will actually protect your electronics, or if it is just a glorified extension cord?

Plug-in surge protectors come in three basic varieties – the surge protecting power strip, a box unit that also allows you to plug in phone and cable lines, and an uninterrupted power source (UPS) unit that also provides a battery back-up in the event of a power outage.

Plug-in surge protectors monitor the voltage passing through them and diverts extra voltage to the ground.

Before buying a plug-in surge protector, read the documentation to be sure it does the following:

Has a “clamping voltage” (this is the amount that makes a surge protector spring into action) of 400 volts or less.

Can absorb at least 600 joules.

Has the Underwriter Laboratories Seal – better yet, says it meets UL Standard 1449.

Is labeled “L-N, L-G, N-G” to specify it protects all three incoming lines – the hot, neutral and ground.

Has indicator lights that will tell you when the surge protector is no longer working.

Expect to pay $70 to $300 for an effective plug-in surge protector.

A more comprehensive way to protect your home is with a whole home surge protector wired into your home’s electrical panel. At Electrical Detectives, we are experts at installing these, and we’d be happy to talk with you about them anytime.

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