In many modern Phoenix homes, electronic devices reign supreme. Phones, televisions, stereos, computers, and more are all in constant need of reliable and clean power. Given the significant investment that these electronic devices represent, it’s important to protect them using any means possible. The most common and easiest-to-implement is a surge protector. Although there’s not much to a basic surge protector, we at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical want you to know there’s a lot more that goes into surge protection than you might expect.
What Is a Surge Protector?
In some ways, a surge protector serves as a dam to protect your electronic devices from a sudden flood of electricity. During normal times, when a surge protector is operating normally, the full amount of electricity that reaches the surge protector can pass through to the device or devices that are plugged into it.
The moment a surge of electricity is detected, though, the surge protector reroutes the excess power, much like a dam reroutes excess water, so the excess power never reaches the threatened devices. In most cases, this excess power is sent back through the ground wire and away from your home.
All of this happens in fractions of a second to ensure your electronic devices don’t experience any ill effects. This rerouting is handled either by metal oxide varistors or gas discharge arrestors, whose resistance to current changes depending on how much current is applied. Consequently, surge protectors serve as silent guardians of your expensive and important electronic devices.
Why Are Surge Protectors Important?
While it would be nice if the current flowing in and through your home was always consistent, that’s just not the reality. Surges can be sent from the power line to your home, from one outlet to another, or from one device to another. Essentially, any part of the electrical circuit can create or receive a surge.
These surges are completely random, meaning they are impossible to predict or prepare for. If a surge passes through to an electronic device, it could cause the resistors in the device to heat up too much, damaging or destroying it. Therefore, you need the protection from a surge protector that you can get from Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to ensure you’ll be ready if a surge strikes your home.
Protecting All Your Devices
Most people associate surge protectors with protecting electronic devices. While it’s true that surge protectors play an important role in keeping electronic devices safe, that’s not all they do. In fact, any appliance that is always plugged into an outlet should be protected by a surge protector. This includes refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines, and more. You can even install surge protectors to guard your HVAC equipment, which is a smart choice given the massive power drawn by these devices.
Whole-Home Surge Protector
When trying to protect your home from an electrical surge, we at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical recommend having more than one type of surge protector in place. This doesn’t mean plugging different brands of surge protectors throughout your home. Instead, it means using different types of surge protectors to create layers of protection throughout your home. It all starts with a whole-home surge protector.
A whole-home surge protector is much more robust than the typical surge protectors you’ll find in your local store’s electronics section. That’s because a whole-home surge protector is designed to stop surges that come from the power line dead in its tracks. This includes surges that are caused by natural variations in power and those due to lightning strikes on above-ground wires and transformers. Most plug-in surge protectors would be overwhelmed by these types of surges, which is why you need to have a whole-home protector installed to ensure you are truly protected.
Plug-In Surge Protectors
In addition to a whole-home surge protector, you need to have plug-in surge protectors to protect against any extra surge of power that makes it past your whole-home protector and against any surges that happen solely within your home. These surge protectors are available with as few as one outlet to allow you to easily plug in appliances without blocking nearby outlets. If you have electronics, such as computers, attached to a plug-in surge protector, you may want to consider a protector that has a built-in battery to give you extra time to shut-down your electronics in the event of a power outage.
How to Choose the Right Surge Protector
Whether you’re choosing a whole-home or plug-in surge protector from Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, one of the first things to consider is how much power the protector is rated to provide. After all, you don’t want to overload your surge protector, as that could cause problems just as serious as a power surge.
You’ll also want to consider the protector’s energy absorption rating. This rate is how large of a surge the protector can withstand before there is a risk of damage to connected equipment. In most cases, a whole-home protector should be able to stop at least a 40,000-amp surge, while a plug-in protector should be rated for at least 600-700 joules.
For a plug-in surge protector, it’s also important to consider the number of outlets found on the protector so you can have an outlet for each of your electronic devices. Lastly, the length of the cord on a plug-in surge protector is important to ensure you can safely reach your electronic devices with the protector.
Proper Installation Is Key
Make sure the surge protectors you select can adequately protect your home. This is key to proper installation. It’s best to have the pros at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical install your surge protectors, especially those of the whole-home variety, to ensure you and your family’s safety.
Whole-home surge protectors require installation at the main electrical line. This is a significant amount of power that can cause instant death if handled improperly. Plus, if installed incorrectly, a whole-home surge protector can cause issues with your home’s electrical supply that can cause a risk of fire or other damage.
While a plug-in surge protector doesn’t require an electrician, it’s still important to have an expert inspect your home’s electrical system. If your home isn’t properly grounded, then a surge protector will have nowhere to send the excess power except right back into the devices it’s designed to protect. That’s why obtaining a good electrician is a good idea at every point during the electronics-protecting process.
Helping You Protect Your Home
At Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, we believe the safety and comfort of your home are of paramount importance. That’s why we work hard to take care of your home with services like whole-home surge protector installation. We also offer a full slate of other electrical, plumbing, and HVAC services, including HVAC installation, water heater repair, and breaker panel maintenance.
Our commitment to excellence has allowed us to stay in business for over 40 years, earning countless five-star reviews along the way. If you’re interested in protecting your home from electrical surges, give us a call at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical today.