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Consumer Tip (Sunday, June 19, 2005)
You Need Surge Protection
surge is a significant, unexpected, and uncontrolled increase in
A power surge can
result from a nearby lightning strike, but results most
often from the operation of high-power electrical equipment in the residence. Electric
appliances and, especially, electronic equipment are particularly susceptible to
damage from power surges. The result could be partial damage or
even destruction of the circuits within the appliance or
Surge protectors can help prevent
damage to electrical equipment by diverting any excess electricity
into the outlet's grounding wire. Not all surge protection devices provide
the same level of protection, however. Be sure you get the most
appropriate type unit for your
Basic power strips
are available at any home
improvement or discount store. They are inexpensive,
but offer a minimal amount of protection. More expensive power strips have higher surge ratings and
extra features such as individual switches for each outlet.
A surge station will protect
equipment from power surges coming through the electric lines OR the
telephone lines. This is particulary important if you have a computer or
fax connected to the telephone lines.
An uninterrupable power supply (UPS)
combines surge protection with a battery backup. Not only will the UPS
protect attached equipment from power surges, it will provide power for a
few minutes after an electric outage. For computers, this grace period
will allow enough time to save the project you were working on when the
power went out.
"Whole house" surge
protectors can be installed at either the meter or the circuit breaker
box. This type of surge protection will protect your electrical
equipment from external forces such as transformer switching.
However, the whole house surge protector will not protect the
equipment from surges that originate within the house.
Check with your electric utility before having a licensed electrician
install a whole house surge protection
standard household voltage in the United States is
120 volts. Florida Public Service Commission Rule 25-6.046,
Florida Administrative Code, states that the voltage delivered to a residential
customer may not deviate from this standard by more than +/- 5 percent.