Surge Protectors: most non-engineering types have at best a high school grasp of electricity and electronics. We know that electricity is the flow of electrons down some conductive medium, that the flow releases energy that does such things as run a fan, make a light bulb glow, make a television show and tell, in fact, makes all electronic things functions. Electricity is the power behind all our electrical appliances, and a good thing, unless you happen to lack protection when that one in a million overdose of electricity comes flowing through your wires.
We tend to think that electricity flows at an even and constant state. The specs say its a 120 volt output we’re getting from our wall sockets, and yes, most often that’s exactly what you’re getting, with so many amps to boot. You’ve got your appliances, your refrigerator, your television, your computer, your radio, your lamps, your fans and heaters all drawing a steady 120 volts in what seems a consistent, uninterrupted manner. This consistency makes you think surge protectors are superfluous.
Sure, sometimes you’ll notice that a light bulb grows a bit dimmer for a moment when a rainstorm somewhere seems to be draining electricity, but rarely do you see that light bulb glow brighter than it normally does. If it did glow brighter, well, that may be a surge of electricity coming through, but what’s wrong with a brighter light? Not much, until it burns out because of the surge of electricity that’s overheating the filament that’s going to fry. Too bad you’re not using protection.
Surge protectors do exactly what the name says; they protect against surges of electricity. No, the flow of electricity through the wires of your house are not always consistent and even. Sometimes the amount of electricity may fall, and then your light flickers or your computer goes out. There are devices that will protect against power underflows, but most of us do not use them since an underflow generally causes little inconvenience. This is not true, however, if you’re in the middle of writing an email on your computer and the computer crashes.
For those who need a continuous supply of electricity, a backup, battery type device is what you need. Here, we’re talking about something more serious, a surge of electricity that could fry all the circuits in your computer, you television, you radio, your security system. Without surge protectors to prevent this, your only option after the surge has done its worst is to go out and buy a new device.
Surge protectors are relatively inexpensive. They are generally an elongated metal case with a power cord that plugs into your wall socket and a series of female sockets in which you plug your appliances. Most come with an on/off switch to cut electricity to all that is plugged into it. If a surge occurs, the circuitry of surge protectors immediately break all flow of electricity to the female plugs.
After a few minutes, you may press a reset button that will bring the electricity back to the plugs. They’re about ten dollar now. For ten dollars you can protect that thousand dollar machine from becoming a useless piece of junk. Protect your precious electronic devices. Put all of them on surge protectors and be glad when they kick in. It could have been worse.