Friday, April 25, 2014

Portecting your home from surges

You can protect major appliances such as the dryer, washer refrigerator and dish washer with a home surge protector you power company installs for a monthly fee. The one in my home is installed behind the power meter.

This whole house protector has a colored light that should be on at all times. If the light goes off, call the power company to replace the unit. 

Surges can also come through other avenues such as coax cable you use for the cable TV, the Internet and Voice over IP phone service. The whole house protector is unlikely to protect your low voltage equipment such as cable modems, hubs, switches and so forth.

Many people think a power strip will do the job such as the one below, but most are not fast enough or the job. The power supply on your PC actually does a better job of handling surges and brown outs than one of these cheap surge protectors. Remember, lightning travels at the speed of light.
Not recommended to protect sensitive equipment

The best solution is a uninterpretable power supply (UPS) that contain a battery to handle brown outs and can also protect sensitive computers and LCD or LED screens from electrical damage. I you have an old tube monitor, it pulls too much current and should not be connected to a UPS.

Rightardia likes the  Cyperpower UPS because it has an LCD screen that allows someone  to check the battery and input and output voltage as well as amps and hertz. It also has a load meter to show if you are overloading the the UPS.

For some reason, many UPS makers for home users have not created web based software to manage these devices. Unless you use Windows or sometimes a Mac, you have no easy way to check the UPS to make sure the battery is still working. The LCD display overcomes this limitation.

There are also some companies that do make great surge protectors. Two Rightardia would recommend are Panamax and Triplite.

Many of these well designed surge protectors will protect you from surges over coax, phone lines (RJ-11) and Ethernet.

Another solution is a surge protected receptacle.Both Panamax and Levitron make these.  The Panamax protector requires wire screws to connect to one pair of electrical wires. The Levitron has connectors than can handle two pairs of electrical wires. Most Home Depots carry Levitron receptacle surge protectors. Both units have green lights that stay on as long as the surge protector is working.This is a far better option than a power strip.

In most cases you will need a mix of UPS and surge protectors to protect sensitive equipment and major appliances in your home.


Subscribe to the Rightardia feed: 

  Creative Commons License

Rightardia by Rightard Whitey of Rightardia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

No comments: