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Q&A: Surge Protection

Posted by Sara Powers on April 13, 2016 at 10:18 AM. Filed under Around the Home, News, Power, Q&A


Buying a surge protector is something everyone who uses electronics should do. A surge protector will keep your expensive electronics safe from any damage that can come as a result of a surge in the amount of electricity coming out of the outlets. Because these devices serve such an important function, you need to make sure that you're purchasing the right one for you. With this Q & A session you will learn everything you need to know about choosing the right surge protector to help keep your devices safe. 

Q: What is a power surge?

A: A power surge is a spike in the electrical current flowing through the wires of your house. They can damage common appliances, sensitive AV electronics and computer equipment. 

Q: What causes a power surge?

A: Most power surges stem from inside your home. Power surges are caused by many different factors, including severe weather, faulty or damaged electric wiring or the sudden turning on and off of a high power electrical device like an air conditioner or large electric motor.

Q: Why worry about power surges?

A: The investment you made in your home equipment can be wiped out in an instant. In addition to surges caused by storms, the average home can experience multiple "hidden" surges a day from other various sources. These smaller surges cause cumulative damage to electronics, shortening their life and eventually causing them to fail.

Q: What does a surge protector do?

A: A surge protector safeguards electronics from the harmful effects of power surges and voltage spikes. Surge protectors have the ability to absorb and dissipate the power of a surge so that connected equipment is shielded from the surge.


Q: What is a Joule Rating?

A: A joule measures energy, and a surge protectors joule rating indicates how much energy it can absorb before it fails. The higher the number, the greater the protection provided. The type and value of the equipment to be protected are key factors in determining the amount of protection needed. The more expensive the item, the higher level (joules) of protection is recommended. For example: 

  • Good protection: 350-1000 Joules
    • Protects: lamps, mobile devices, chargers, small appliances and clocks 

  • Better protection: 1000-2000 Joules
    • Protects: printers, smartphones and tablets, laptops, routers

  • Best protection: 2000 & Above Joules
    • Protects: HDTV's, home theatres, desktop computers, sound systems, gaming consoles, DVD/Blu-Ray/Cable receivers

Learn even more about surge protectors in this video

Q: What's the difference between a surge protector and power strip?
A: A power strip is simply an expansion of a single electrical outlet that provides numerous outlets. While this piece of equipment may look like a surge protector and provide similar benefits, such as extra outlets, only surge protectors safeguard your electronics from power surges and voltage fluctuations.
Q: Will I need to replace my surge protector?

A: Yes, even the highest quality surge protection device will someday have to be replaced. Because surge protectors take on unnoticeable power surges all the time, the equipment wears down. Over time the surge protective components will expire and no longer provide protection. At this time, the surge protectors "protected" indicator light will turn off, or the power will be permanently disconnected to the surge protector outlets. Consider replacing surge protectors if a storm knocks out your power, or every few storm seasons where this happens. 

Surge protector lifespans aren’t measured in years — they’re measured in joules. It’s all about how many joules your surge protector has absorbed. But, the older your surge protector is, the more it’s likely degraded.


Q: How will I know if my surge protector is working?

Many surge protectors available today have a light indicator that show you when your devices are protected. Once the light comes on, you know you're protecting your valuable devices from power surges and spikes. If your indicator light is not “on” (illuminating), then it's time to replace your surge protector.

Several of our surge protectors have a cool feature called auto-shutdown mode, this feature will automatically shut down your device when the Surge protector wears out!



Check out our Surge Protection 101 Guide and learn more about keeping your tech protected! 

About the Author | Sara Powers

Sara Powers is the Social Media Coordinator at Jasco. She works to create and maintain a strong online presence for Jasco. Sara enjoys writing about new product technology and ways to use it in everyday life. Outside of work Sara loves hanging out with her friends, all things OSU (go pokes), traveling, and being a dog mom to her French Bulldog-son Russell.

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