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Safety Protecting Electronics from Surge Damage


Almost every home has them — kitchen appliances, television sets, computers, or gaming systems. We often spend a good deal of time and money in our purchase of these products. Safe Electricity sug- gests also investing some time in learning how to protect such appliances and electronics from surge damage. A power surge is a quick and sudden increase of voltage that can damage sensitive elec- tronic equipment. This could be caused by a lightning strike or by damage to power lines and utility poles from fallen branch- es or a car accident. Surges can have multiple entry points into a home, including phone or cable wires.


If not protected, some elec- tronics can be immediately destroyed by surges, while others can sustain damage that will shorten their lives and decrease functionality. The amount of damage may not be visible initially, but over time it can result in equipment failing to work properly.


One way to protect your home is to have a surge pro- tector installed in the circuit breaker panel or at your me- ter. Surge protectors limit the amount of voltage to electric devices and block unwanted electrical surges. A surge pro- tector should be installed by a qualified electrician. Call KEC for more questions on meter surge protectors.


An-


other way to prevent surges from damaging electronics is to invest in power strips or


smart strips with built- in surge protectors. These will protect whatever device is plugged into them.


It is important to know that not every power strip has a built-in surge protector. Power strips are used to split an outlet into multiple ports, while a surge protector protects elec- tronics against surges and any interference or noise on the power line. When making the final decision on which device to purchase, look for the words surge protection, fused strip, or interrupter switch.


Another surge protection option comes in the form of a wall outlet. These devices can be plugged directly into the wall outlet, which saves space and prevents tangled cords. These will oftentimes have several outlets on its face, providing protection from power surges to all electronics plugged into it. Whether you are looking for a power strip or a wall outlet surge protector, remember that an important performance characteristic is the clamping voltage. This is the voltage that the surge protector will let through to your equipment before it diverts it to ground. In this instance, a lower clamp- ing voltage is better. Look for a surge protector with lights so you can easily tell that it is working properly.


For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElec- tricity.org.


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