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.