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How to Prevent Power Surges from Damaging Electronics

Thunderbolt over the house with dark stormy sky in the background and moon shining through the cloud

Have you ever been in the middle of pouring your morning coffee when suddenly the power goes out, then returns, only to show you’ve miscalculated in the dark the proximity between spout and cup? Have you ever thought, what if something worse than a small coffee spill happened, such as your devices and appliances being permanently damaged?

While you may not be able to prevent a power surge from ever happening again, you can take some steps to prevent short- and long-term damage in your home and electronics. To help Mr. Electric®, a Neighborly® company, has compiled some basic home safety tips to keep your electronics and appliances safe from damage caused by power outages and surges.

Unplug During a Storm

Electronics are not only very expensive, but they also hold a lot of personal and important information. The best practice in keeping your most sensitive devices safe during storms is to simply unplug them. Regardless of how advanced your technology is, the voltage from lightning is always more- than what your devices can handle. So, if you know a storm is coming, you can guarantee the safety of your important electronics by disconnecting them from the line of power.

What Is a Surge Protector Used For?

You might be thinking, are surge protectors necessary if you can simply unplug your important electronics? The answer is always “yes” because you may not be home to unplug everything before a storm arrives. When a power surge occurs, a surge protector will redirect any extra voltage of electricity into metal oxide varistors (MOVs)—in other words, the MOVs will suppress the jolt of voltage and prevent damage to the devices protected by your surge protector.

To make sure you are correctly using your power strip-style surge protector, follow these tips:

  1. Only plug in one surge protector per double wall outlet.

  1. Don’t overload your surge protector by plugging in too many high-voltage electronics.

  1. Keep your surge protector in a safe location away from water or anything that prevents air flow.

  1. Check that your surge protector is not overheating or damaged.

Related Topic: How a Surge Protector Works

Benefits of a Whole-House Surge Protector

Even if you are using a power strip-style surge protector correctly, there are still many electronics in your home to account for. And although small surges don’t always immediately ruin your electronics, the minor damage can lead to issues later. So, an even safer option for all the other electronics and appliances in your home (you know, the ones that take up every room but still don’t pay rent) is to install a whole-house surge protector.

Similar to a power strip-style surge protector, a whole house surge protector is designed to redirect the excess electricity—this time, into the ground before it even enters your home. The larger benefit is that they are built to handle multiple surges over a longer period of time and will protect devices and appliances throughout your home.

Does a Surge Protector Protect Against Lightning?

A power strip-style surge protector will not be able to withstand the high voltage of lightning, but a whole-house surge protector can help minimize damage. As long as your home has proper grounding and wiring, a whole-house surge protector can help redirect the excess electricity. However, it cannot protect your home against the effects of a direct lightning strike. To learn more, contact the service professionals at your local Mr. Electric.

Install a Whole-House Surge Protector

Mr. Electric’s licensed electricians are qualified to install your whole-house surge protector. Before you even have to worry about the next storm, call Mr. Electric to have the job done right and safely. We want to make sure that you feel protected in your own home, which is why we offer the Neighborly Done Right Promise. It’s the peace of mind you need to ensure you, your family and your home are well protected.