When you think of power surges, you think of storms. Although a lightning strike near your home can be catastrophic for your gadgets, power surges can originate from within your home, too. Faulty wiring or something simple like the AC unit or fridge turning on can trigger a surge. Before you try to save $15 on a surge protector to keep your electronics safe, consider these tips.

1 Because today’s electronics need lower voltages to operate than their predecessors, the same electrical surges that didn’t affect your gear 10 years ago can fry a circuit board today. A little prevention, like minor electrical repair and top notch surge protector, is still cheaper than replacing your TV, laptop, and sound system.

2 Look for three key traits when you get a new surge protector:

  • Low clamp level – the voltage it takes to trigger the surge protector to divert electricity to the ground.
  • Low response time – the nanoseconds it takes to clamp.
  • High surge capability – the amount of voltage it can take and still function properly.

3 Don’t rely on the surge protector warranty – they can still do everything advertised on the package and cook your circuit boards. Get one with a status light so you know if it’s taken its last surge.

4 Avoid the power strip/surge protectors with a lot of outlets – electricity has to go past each of those outlets before being discharged through the ground, allowing for a higher margin of error.

5 Even the best surge protectors can be bested by severe weather. If you live in an area prone to lightning, you may want to consider whole house protection. You can purchase them at home improvement stores, but let a residential electrical contractor handle the installation so you know it’s done properly. A quality surge protector should be able to handle the rest.

If you’ve begun an electrician search to help protect your home and aren’t sure if you’re getting the service you deserve, call Gary Houston Electric at (501) 375-8330 or contact us on our website for all of your electrical needs. We offer free estimates and make the safety and security of your family our priority.