Surge protection in your home

surge protection, surge arrest, protecting devices, electrical safety

With the wet weather increasing across the Yarra Valley in the coming months, the possibility of losing your gear during a thunderstorm or major power outage is more likely. These events can be not only costly, but very inconvenient. There really is no reason you shouldn’t have your equipment protected with a surge protector. Below we list a few of the key things you should consider if you’re thinking about surge protection.

1. Different types

There are different types of home surge protection available. However, the principle of all types of protectors is the same. They basically attempt to limit the voltage supplied to a device by either blocking or sorting to ground unwanted voltage above the safe threshold. Some of the different types are as follows

  • Surge protected outlets – these are a good idea to have in your office and or home theatre room. You can see when they are surge protected when the light is on
  • Switchboard mounted surge arrestors – help to protect all your electronics in your home
  • Surge filters – are a single plug in outlet
  • Surge protector boards – these are different to power boards although look similar externally (many have basic surge protection built in but are NOT surge protectors, and are generally a lot cheaper)

2. Clamping voltage and Joules

Clamping voltage (CV) or let down voltage is a term often associated with surge protection. The lower the CV the better the protection (in most boards), however low CV can limit the overall life expectancy of the system. Surge protectors offer protection in amounts called joules. Unlike CV, the more Joules the better! Joules represents how much energy the device can absorb in a single event without failure. The best protectors offer around 1000 joules.

3. USB connections

Many surge protectors come with USB connections, so you can charge your mobile devices. Generally, this is either 1 or 2 amps. For a mobile phone, 1 amp is enough, but for a tablet, you'll want 2 amps for quicker charging. Something to be aware of when choosing a board.

4. Power spikes can occur across all wires

If you want total protection, consider that phone and cable lines can carry power spikes too. Some surge protectors have connectors for these as well.

5. Travel buddy

If you think about it, we take our electronics everywhere, and why should we only protect them at home and not when we travel. Most hotels and hostels have few accessible outlets, yet there are always multiple devices that need charging. Having a portable surge protector that you can keep in your suitcase can be handy for a number of reasons – it also serves as a USB/phone charger while you’re traveling 😊 one cord, is better than multiple.

6. They don’t last forever

If you’ve used a surge protector board for protection. Over time, it is going to wear out. Some will give you a warning when they do. However, most won't. If you've had a serious electrical event (like lighting blew out a transformer down the street), you should consider getting a new surge board just in case.