To most people smart surge protectors are multi-purpose devices that gives you additional electrical outlets and offers protection to all of your favorite equipment. However, that isn’t always the truth. There are power strips — which provide you with additional outlets, there are surge protectors — which offer a level of protection against power surges, and there are combinations of the two.
Do some smart surge protector shopping with these simple tips.
Some power strips and surge protectors will tell you they have “conditioners” that will “clean” the signal and remove noise. You don’t need these, almost all of your electronic gear already has a power supply that does that and converts it to whatever current it needs. Unless you have some very cheap, oddball gear or live off an obsolete generator your equipment can take care of itself.
More is Good
Get more outlets than you need, even if you don’t need them at the moment, look towards the future. It isn’t usually that much more to get a few more outlets and in a few months or a year, you will be grateful that you got them. Don’t go overboard and get twice as many as you need, be reasonable about it. A good rule of thumb is to go up to the next size.
Cover All Bases
Your phone and cable lines also carry an electrical signal, which can surge. Some protectors off outlets for phone and cable, allowing you to protect against additional power surges.
Bigger is Better
When it comes to protecting your valuable equipment you want the best you can get, and price isn’t always the telling factor. You need to read the packaging to see what it protects against. Surge protectors are rated in Joules, meaning that if a unit is rated for 1,000 joules it can take a 1,000 Joule hit. So the higher the rating, the better the protection.
There are also some manufacturers that offer a warranty on equipment that is connected to their surge protector, if they are damaged by a power surge. It might be smart read the fine print before you make the final purchasing decision.
Go Smart or Go Home
A smart surge protector is also a green surge protector. They help keep your electronics from wasting power. Even when you are not using them, things are pulling power. The red light on your phone charger, your computer in sleep mode, your Blu-Ray on Standby, they all continually pull power. It might be small charges to each of them, but it adds up. Smart power strips and surge protectors reduce power consumption by shutting off the power to electronics that go into standby mode. In the long run, this could save you a fair amount of money.
Buy a Few
It is a good idea to have a surge protector on most of your electronics, not just your TV and computer. Your stereo system, space heaters, fax machines, even your fish tank and power tools could benefit from good surge protection. You never know when a power spike may occur, lightning may strike 20 miles away, or a transformer down the street could go bad. A surge protector will keep your things from being damage by the resultant surge.You might appreciate the extra outlets in the rooms too.
All Good Things Must Come to an End
The problem with the rating is that is the limit of its capacity. Think of the capacity like a chocolate bar, you only take a little piece each time, but eventually it will all be gone. Whether your surge protector has taken 100 hits of 10 Joules each or one hit of 1,000 Joules, that is the end of its protection. Once the protection is used, you have nothing more than a power strip.
Unfortunately there isn’t really a way to tell when your surge protector has been used up. So it might be a good idea to replace them every few years.
Now that you have your equipment protected against power surges, make sure that the your system is protected against viruses.