how surge protector works

How Surge Protector Works-A Complete Guide

A surge protector is an important device for today’s modern electronics. The principle behind how surge protector works is it dampens excessive voltage in a power surge through diversion to a grounding wire within the surge protection device, effectively absorbing the destructive energy and preventing damage to electronic equipment. The diverted energy dissipates in the form of heat from the grounding wire.

If you are unsure what voltage is, voltage is merely a measure of a difference in electric energy. A current moves from point to point because one point has a greater level of potential energy which pushes the current to the point of lesser potential energy. It is similar to the effect of water pressure forcing water from a hose.

Surge protectors look like simple power strips externally but within are a series of components that make up the protection functions. A device called the metal oxide varistor, or MOV is the component that absorbs the surge of power. Other proponents can be gas discharge arrestors, avalanche diodes and reactive passive circuitry with indicators and capacitors which sounds very scientific but is pretty simple in theory.

While separately these devices have their own advantages and disadvantages, many clean power surge protectors utilize a combination of these components arranged to provide prolonged suppression to prevent any damage. To find a surge protection device that will have the potency to defend your electrical equipment you must read the UL rating on the package of the item. If there is no UL rating, you are better off not purchasing that particular home surge protector.

The UL, an abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratories, rating represents a set of specs determining the safety capacity of a surge suppressor. While aesthetics may play a role in choosing something like a black surge protector, without a UL rating that device will most likely use inferior MOVs if they are used at all. They will also overheat easily and become useless quickly. The important thing is to look for the protection it offers then worry about how it looks in a room.

What you are looking for is one that has a transient voltage surge suppressor listing. This type of power strip meets the standard performance requirements for power surge safety. Chances are if there is no such listing, you are looking at a basic extension cord. One thing to consider is that the lower the voltage rating, the better the device is for protection, providing it meets your equipment’ standards.

Choosing the best surge protector isn’t a difficult task. Most requirements are listed on your electronic equipment. While you don’t necessarily need to know the information in this article, you may find it helps to explain why you need an outlet surge protector for your home computer and other high energy appliances.

About the Author Eric Williams

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