How Much Surge Protection Do I Need

Knowing the answer to the question, "How much surge protection do I need?" is important for both your computer and entertainment equipment and your well being.

Electricity doesn't come into your home and to your appliances in even flows. Sometimes, electricity surges. Electricity does not only spike when lightening strikes, electricity may peak as a result of using large appliances, such as refrigerators or air conditioners. A large spike can destroy your computer equipment as well as affect your programmable televisions and telephone memory. Small spikes can wear your equipment down over time.

How Much Surge Protection Do I Need?
First, estimate how much money your equipment is worth. Don't forget to build in a cost for lost data.

Perhaps the easiest way to gauge whether a surge protector is right for you is to compare the value of the equipment that you are protecting with the warranty that a given protector offers for connected equipment. If you value your equipment in the $10,000 range and find a warranty that offers $10,000 protection, you may have a match. However, make sure that you read small print on the warranty before you make your purchase so that you understand how the warranty works as well as how much the warranty is worth.

Of course, you can get technical. For example, your surge protector should have a UL 1449 rating, which means that surge protector meets the United Laboratory's minimum performance standards for surge suppressors.

In addition to being UL 1449, look to see the protector's suppressed voltage rating. The rating numbers at the lower end of the scale are 500v pk, 400v pk and 330v, pk, with 330 being the best.

Surge protectors take time to kick in when a power spike occurs. Therefore, it is important to check the length of time that it takes for a surge protector to respond. Choose a surge protector that responds in one nanosecond or less for the best protection.

You may see numbers reflected in joules. Joules indicate the amount of electricity that a given surge protector can take before the protector fails. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers use the same way of listing joules, so when you compare two different products, you may not be comparing "apples" to "apples."

Your surge protector may wear out over time. Some models have indicator lights that show that the unit is still working. It might be worth having this feature for your peace of mind. In addition, the protector should have a circuit breaker included. 

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