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Are You Using Surge Protectors?

Sparking power strip

Storm season is coming and you know what that means: lighting. Lighting storms can be highly destructive and damaging to your home’s devices and appliances. Since life is hectic and unpredictable, it isn’t always easy to make sure all your valuables are unplugged before a storm. Surge protectors are one of the best ways to protect your home and expensive electrical belongings.

Lighting-caused power surges aren’t the only kinds of surges that pose a threat to your home. Most power surges are actually caused by utility companies which often take place daily.

This article will help you understand why surge protectors are crucial to the safety of your home.

What is a Power Surge?

Power surges happen when an electrical current is abruptly stopped and then started again. Power surges can range from 5 volts to more than 2000 volts depending on the source of the energy. Power spikes are much like power surges the main difference being that power surges tend to last 3+ nanoseconds while power spikes are shorter than three nanoseconds.

The two main kinds of power surges are internal and external power surges.

  • Internal power surges happen inside the home as the name suggests. These surges can take place numerous times in one day and usually, aren’t noticed.
  • External power surges come from outside the home and are usually caused by lightning strikes, blown transformers, and broken power lines.

Both kinds of surges can be very harmful and shouldn’t be underestimated. Any device or appliance that operates using a microprocessor should be protected.

Why You Should Consider Installing a Whole-House Surge Protector 

Surge protectors are a cost-effective way to cover your important electric appliances from unforeseen power surges. They work by keeping power surges away from plugged-in devices by absorbing excess volts into MOVs (metal oxide varistors), which redirect the energy to a ground wire.

Surge Protectors vs. Power Strips

Power strips differ from surge protectors in function. Many people confuse the two because they share similar attributes such as multiple outlets. While they do share this similarity, power strips will not protect your electric appliances and devices from power surges.

What Appliances Need Surge Protectors?

Surge protectors will not only keep your home electrical system safe, but they may also save you the headache of losing valuable data that you had stored on your computer and other devices after a damaging power surge. Surge protectors will also cover your refrigerators, ranges, game systems, dishwashers, TVs, AC units, and more.

How Long Do Surge Protectors Last?

Like anything else, surge protectors have a lifespan and eventually break down. They have a finite number of surges they can divert before dying. Most surge protector models have an LED light that displays letting you know whether or not it’s still effective.

Disclaimer: Surge protectors are not advanced enough to shield your home from a direct lightning strike. Surge protectors are mostly useful for absorbing utility surges and proximity strikes which are lighting strikes that occur in your property’s general area.


If you notice there’s anything wrong with your home’s electrical system, Zar Electric would be more than happy to take a look. We’re here to help keep your home safe! For service in Wake Forest, Raleigh, or any of the surrounding areas, give us a call now at (919) 200-6551.

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