WHAT ARE POWER SURGES AND WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
- Extremely brief spikes in electrical power that burn up electrical circuits inside appliances and electronic equipment
- 30% enter the home through the power lines, telephone lines and cable TV/satellite lines. These are the most damaging.
- 70% are generated by equipment inside the home from motors and large appliances turning off and on
WHAT DAMANGE CAN POWER SURGES CAUSE?
- PHYSICAL DAMAGE: The most noticeable and dramatic, these are the result of large power surges originating outside the home
- DISRUPTION: The computer locks up or shuts down, the DVDplayer malfunctions, the washing machine shuts down before the end of the cycle
- DEGRADATION: Also called “electronic rust,” it shortens the lifespan of your equipment so that it mysteriously stops working sooner than one would expect
Surge Protection FAQ
HOW DO SURGE PROTECTORS WORK?
Surge Protectors are designed to reduce and divert potentially damaging short-duration voltage spikes safely out of the system to Ground. This is similar in concept to pressure relit f valves that protect water heaters from overpressure.
What Should I Look For When Selecting A Surge Protective Device (SPD)?
Any panel mount Surge Protective Device that you cs nsider must be listed UL 1449 3rd Edition. All manufacturers UL listings are available for review on the UL website. Be careful not to confuse SPD listed products with Secondary Surge Arrestors (aka Lightning Arrestors). Secondary Surge Arrestors havd a clamping voltage much too high to protect sensitive electronics.
WHAT IS SURGE CURRENT CAPACITY?
Surge current capacity is the maximum amount of surge current that a surge protector can pass for a single surge event. This level is used to indicate the protection capacity of a particular surge protector. For example, in a high exposure area (like Florida) with a high likelihood for lightning, a larger surge current capacity might be desired. But, be aware that surges have natural limitations and that larger surge current capacity tend to add redundancy rather than the implied ability to handle an extremely large surge. For example, an entire lightning strike can ot go through wire; much like a fire hose has difficulty shooting through a soda straw. Realistically, surge protectors do not nedd to be sized for entire lightning strikes. But, there are valid reasons for adding excess surge current capacity for redundancy rt·asons.
The surge protection industry uses kilo amperage (kA) s a measure of the products surge current capacity. All surgeassuret products list the kA rating for the surge capacity. kA r tings at or above 10kA (10,000 Amperes) are generally acceptable.
WHAT JOULE RATING SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Many homeowners look at Joule ratings to determine which surge protector to purchase. Unfortunately, Joule ratings can be misleading according to IEEE research. When a surge protector is submitted for third party testing with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a Joule rating is not a tested parameter. Joule ratings are an unreliable measurement for determining a products surge capacity because there is no test standard. The Joule rating listed on a surge protector’s package is determined using an unknown method by the manufacturer.
WHAT IS CLAMPING VOLTAGE?
Clamping voltage, also referred to as let through voltag or the Voltage Protection Rating (VPR), is the amount of voltage a surge protector permits to pass through it to the attached load (ex: a TV) during a surge event. Clamping voltage is a performance measurement of a surge protector’s ability to attenuate a surge, or more simply, to reduce the surge to a manageable level. For example, a surge protector might limit a 6,000V surge so that only 600V is ‘visible’ to the load. The clamping voltage is 600V. This performance value is confirmed by Underwriters Laboratories during tests conducted while evaluating a surge protector for listing.
I’ve Never Had Equipment Damaged by Electricity- Why Do I Need This?
surgeaesure is designed for those who would like peace of mind and protection for their sensitive electronics. You may. not need it. However, it is possible you have had equipmentt damage and don’t know it. Many “mysterious” computer problems such as contaminated or irretrievable files are actually due to electrical surges. Also, breakdowns and replacements of electronic equipment due to what you think of as “normal” wear and tear may actually be due to internally or externally caused surges.
HOW OFTEN DO THESE DISTURBANCES OCCUR?
Because we use so many things like refrigerators, pumps, heating and air conditioning systems all the time, disturbances happen frequently. A 17-month study done by IBM in 49 cities across the country found that an average of 128.3 disturbances happened in each monitored facility, every month. Most were surges that did not cause immediate damage, but which could wear down equipment over time.
AREN’T MY CIRCUIT BREAKERS ENOUGH?
No. The large surges that cause the most damage to eguipment enter the home from the outside. These large surges are caused by electric utility operations and/or lightning in the area, Plug strips are not designed to handle these large surges. In fact, some of the less expensive plug strip can fail but still allow power, and power surges, to pass through to your equipment. Installing the surgeaseure” Main Zone Protection Package, with a surge protector at the Breaker Panel, incoming phone line and incoming coax line, will protect your entire home against these large damaging surges and extend the life of your plug strips and connected equipment.
IF I HAVE MAIN ZONE PROTECTION ON MY HOME DO I NEED PLUG STRIPS?
Yes, if you want complete protection for your sensitive electronic equipment. The surgeassure” Main Zone protectors prevent large surges from entering the home but research shows 70% of the power surges experienced in the home are generated inside the home. Power surges are generated inside the home every time the compressors in your refrigerator or Air Conditioner turn on. These lower level power surges disrupt and reduce the lifespan of your electrical and electronic equipment.