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Is There A Surge Protector For Refrigerators?

The long and short of it is yes, there is a surge protector for refrigerators, but there is some controversy over this subject as not many people see the need to protect a fridge from power surges. The reason you want one between your fridge and the outlet is that on most modern refrigerators, there are motherboards controlling digital displays and other electronic functions.

Normally a surge wouldn’t bother a large appliance like a refrigerator. Compressors are too clunky and fairly impervious to the destructive nature of power surges, so there really is no need to prevent surge damage to a refrigerator compressor. You do, however, need to protect those electronics.

So what is sufficient refrigerator surge protection? Well, most units pull around 220 watts. This is a lot of energy to get the compressor to kick in. Homes in the U.S. run 110V power flows, so when the compressor starts up it pulls about double the power above the normal flow in your home. This will, without a doubt, cause a surge at the outlet and will send the extra energy flow up into your appliance where it will slowly degrade the electronics of the motherboard. This is why you need surge protection for refrigerator units with modern amenities.

Of course if you don’t have a newer model then it is ok to plug in your refrigerator without a surge protector. Overall, the unit should protect upwards of 2500 watts, which may be difficult to find with a 220V rating. The higher wattage will allow the compressor to work without tripping the surge protector. Most devices, though, should not be affected by the start of the compressor as clamping voltage is typically set at 330 volts. Clamping voltage is the amount of juice the surge protector will let through before it considers it a power surge.

Another measurement to look at is Joules. For refrigerator surge protection, Joules is moderately important. You only need a 1 outlet surge protector, but it has to have a high enough Joules rating to be effective. Joules is somewhat ambiguous because it is not regulated. It measures how much voltage a device can absorb before the MOVs burn out. MOVs are what help stop surges.

A typical device will have somewhere around 3 MOVs. These are little semiconductors that attract heat and are perfect for diverting surges. They will degrade with every surge they absorb so you will eventually have to replace your surge protection device. As far as Joules goes, it is recommended to have at least 750 Joules for a refrigerator surge protector, but as mentioned, the more the merrier.

Some people look to GFCI outlets for protection. You should not plug your refrigerator into a GFCI outlet. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt. These stop power faults related to water intrusion. Your fridge will “sweat” from time to time and these outlets will trigger a response from the GFCI as the metal where the “sweat” occurs grounds to the unit itself. When detected, it will trigger the breaker on the outlet to shut off. The result should be obvious. So find a 120V refrigerator voltage spike protector and save yourself some costly repairs or replacements. Try Belkin or Tripp Lite for the best surge protector for a refrigerator.

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