You may think a surge protector is just a way to plug in multiple electronics at once, but it’s much more than that. Surge protectors provide defense for your sensitive electronics and help to reduce the risk of fires in case of a power surge. This article will explain everything you’ve wanted to know about how surge protectors work.
Power Surges: Why Your Electronics Need to Be Protected
Most electronics can handle a standard voltage level of 120 volts. However, current continuously flows freely through electrical circuits unless something limits it. This something is known as a voltage regulator. If your voltage regulator fails, you can get a surge of electricity to your electronics. This will essentially overload them and burn them out.
Events that cause power surges can include:
- Faulty wiring
- Turning large appliances turn on or off
- Lightning strikes
- Sudden restorations of power after an outage
- Tree limbs falling on power lines
These are just a few examples of causes of power surges. The truth is that your home likely experiences several power surges daily. That’s why you need a surge protector in case the voltage regulator fails.
How Surge Protectors Work
A surge protector can be thought of like a sponge. It absorbs all the voltage from the one outlet it’s plugged into and distributes it accordingly. Therefore, if there is a power surge in your home, the surge protector absorbs it, protecting your electronics.
No matter how much current passes through the surge protector up to its allotted limit, it will only distribute the correct amount of current to each electronic device that is plugged into it. Even if there isn’t enough current, the surge protector will still make sure that your electronics get the power they need.
You may be wondering how that works. Does the surge protector store power? The answer is no, it doesn’t. It’s able to regulate the voltage because it contains a metal oxide varistor, or an MOV.
MOVs regulates voltage through resistance. When the voltage is low, the resistance is increased automatically. When voltage is high, the resistance is decreased. This allows electrons to move in a manner that keeps the voltage at a consistent level.
Choosing a Surge Protector
When choosing a surge protector, make sure you aren’t getting a power strip. They look similar, but power strips don’t provide protection for your electronics. Surge protectors are given a rating, measured in joules. The higher the joules, the more voltage the surge protector can absorb. That means more protection for your electronics.
At the end of the day, surge protectors are a wise investment, and they’re highly recommended. However, they aren’t foolproof. If you find that you’re having electrical surges in your home or other electrical problems, you’ll need to get an inspection from a professional electrician. Call Mr. Electric for a team of the best electricians in Tampa and surrounding areas.