Surge Protector: If you know what you are looking for, getting a surge protector in the market is not so hard. Getting one should be at the top of the essential things to buy if you are a gadget person. And these days, anybody with a bit of money has several gadgets littering the home.
- They protect our gadgets from lightning strikes
- With surge protectors, you can safely plug in several gadgets simultaneously.
The third function of a surge protector seems too good to be true: the ability to conserve energy. Does it help you to conserve energy?
But before looking at that aspect, it is crucial to first explain what a surge protector is.
What is a surge protector?
A surge protector is a device that protects your electronics from the harmful effects of unexpected power surges. These increased power surges increase the voltage supply above the recommended level of your gadgets.
For instance, your gadget might be designed to use between 220 and 240 volts of power. An electrical storm (lightning strikes, for example) can cause an increase to astronomical levels.
The result of that is damage to electrical components. In worst-case scenarios, fires flare up from the heat generated, causing damage to other properties in the house.
A good surge protector makes sure that doesn’t happen.
How surge protectors work
When a surge in power from the grid, a surge protector blocks or diverts the excess voltage to the home’s grounding wire.
Good surge protectors include a component known as metal oxide varistor (MOV). It is the work of the MOV to divert or block the excess power.
Surge protectors are designed in such a way that the incoming current has to pass through the MOV before reaching your gadgets. The MOV, At times, is connected MOV ted to the grounding wire of the home, where the excess voltage can be dissipated harmlessly.
Types of surge protectors
There are two types of surge protectors. Each of them is related to the kind of protection you require.
1. Whole house surge protector – as the name implies, this type of surge protector is designed to protect the whole house.
2. Point-of-use surge protectors are the smaller and more common variety. These connect the wall socket or outlet and the electronics or electrical gadgets.
Where to buy a surge protector
Surge protectors are rather common these days. They can be bought at most online stores or any decent hardware store. And the good part is, you don’t have to spend too much money getting one.
However, prices can differ according to manufacturers and the size. And you have to be careful not to purchase fake ones in a bit to get a bargain.
Remember, your expensive gadgets are worth more than the buck or two you would save buying a cheap, sub-standard surge protector.
The convenience of using a surge protector
Many people are always faced with the problem of having to switch off their gadgets from the power source when they are not in use. Many don’t even bother to unplug their gadgets.
Unplugging each gadget can be very tedious, especially if you have many of them. But you can immediately solve this problem by using a surge protector.
With the surge protector standing between the wall outlet and your gadgets, all you have to do is switch off the surge protector. You don’t have to unplug the gadget from the surge protector. They are safe.
So with just a flick of the switch, you have completely cut off the power supply to all your gadgets from the public electricity grid.
Some advanced models with enhanced features
Surge protectors can go from basic to very sophisticated devices with cutting-edge features.
There are models with outlets that work differently. Some of the outlets in these models have specialized motion sensors that automatically switch off the device when nobody is in the room in the room.
On the same model, too, would be a couple of outlets with no motion sensors. You would have to switch it off manually to cut the power supply to the gadgets plugged into these outlets.
Other advanced models can control the relationship between related gadgets. For instance, your DVD player needs a TV to display video. With these surge protectors, you can program them to kill power to the DVD once the TV is switched off.
You can also program them not to go off no matter what happens to a related gadget.
So as far as surge protectors go, manufacturers are coming up with very exciting features.
Do surge protectors help conserve energy?
The short answer is yes. However, this aspect works for point-of-use surge protectors only.
When gadgets are switched off without unplugging them from the wall socket, they continue using or draining power. Sometimes, bad wiring from the manufacturers contributes to this constant draining of energy.
But even in well-designed gadgets, standby functions like clocks or sensors in these gadgets need energy constantly to function optimally. They get this from drawing energy from the power source, even if the gadget has been powered off.
This energy, popularly known as phantom load or standby power, can be blocked using a surge protector.
This is especially important if you use an inverter as a power source for your gadgets. Using a surge protector allows you to conserve battery energy for only the times you need to use it.
One or two gadgets won’t make much difference, but if you have several gadgets, the cumulative effect can significantly decrease the stored energy in your battery.
A note of caution
Be aware that some surge protectors don’t offer protection against sudden power spikes. So before you invest your money in one, do your due diligence properly.
You can see product reviews from independent sources online and check the manufacturer’s website to see how reputable they are.
Apart from that, though, investing in a surge protector could save you money and stress.