A surge protector is the simplest solution to protecting your valuable household electronics from power surges and spikes. A power surge or spike is an increase in the voltage that comes through your electric lines. A surge usually lasts about three nanoseconds and a spike is shorter, lasting one to two nanoseconds. Although a surge or spike lasts for only a very brief period, the damage it can do to unprotected appliances is enormous. The use of appliance surge protectors is becoming more and more commonplace in homes today.
A modern appliance surge protector usually includes a built in fuse that operates as a fail-safe. The fuse gives way under pressure and breaks the connection before the increase in voltage causes damage to your appliances. Many surge suppressors also feature circuit protection. Circuit protection will cut electricity to the device when the amperage being pulled gets to high.
Most of us are familiar with the most basic type of surge protection, the one in the form of a power strip. Used by many homeowners to provide extra outlets for appliances, a power strip surge protector can also be used to prevent damage to your appliances. It is also important to realize that voltage surges occur on telephone lines and coaxial cable as well as through your electrical lines. That is why many of these devices include places to plug in your cable and phone lines as well as power cable.
The type of appliance determines the best surge protector for appliances. While a power strip is adequate protection for many things, it is not usually the best choice to defend against surges for large appliances. Providing surge protection for large appliances is best done with single outlet surge protectors that fit directly into the wall outlet. A single outlet unit carries enough protection for your refrigerator and other large appliances. For large appliances, you should choose a surge suppressor with three line protection that includes neutral-to-ground and hot-to-ground protection in order to disperse the heat in a surge away from your equipment.
Another option for providing protection is a protector that is installed in your breaker box. This will protect all of the appliances in your home at once, although you may wish to use additional surge suppressors for your most sensitive and valuable appliances.
Many of us have invested a lot of money in our electronics and yet we leave them vulnerable to damage by not using proper appliance surge protectors. Providing protection from surges is the best way to limit the cost and inconvenience of leaving your appliances at risk without surge protectors.