What is Surge Protection?


When you buy a home computer system, you’ll probably end up buying a surge protector. After all, this is a standard piece of equipment that lets you plug multiple cords into one power outlet. Considering all the different components of one computer system, this device will definitely come in handy.

But there’s another important component of a surge protector power strip – it protects your electronics when there is a power surge, which is extremely valuable. Contrary to popular belief, surge protection systems have one main job and that is to protect your electronic devices from power surges. But what is a “surge” exactly and why do your devices need protection from them?

Power Surges Defined

As the name suggests, a “power surge” is when there is an increase in voltage that is significantly more than what it’s supposed to be. For example, in a normal household or office in the United States, the standard voltage is supposed to be 120 volts. “What if the voltage rises above 120 volts?” Then, you’ve got a problem.

However, if you have your computer and your appliances plugged into a surge protector, it will help the rise in voltage from destroying your home computer. To better understand this, think of voltage like water under pressure that is flowing out of a hose.

Now, imagine the voltage as a form of electrical pressure. If the electrical surge is high enough, it can cause major damage to a machine, like the $3,000 Mac PC sitting in your home office. If you don’t have insurance on your Mac, this can be a huge loss!

If there is too much water pressure inside a hose, the hose is going to burst. It’s similar to voltage. If there is too much electrical pressure running through a wire, the wire will burst. In reality, it actually heats up and burns, but it’s the same concept. Even if the surge in voltage doesn’t destroy your computer right away, it can place extra strain on its components and cause them to fail before they’re supposed to.

“Surge protectors offer protection in amounts called joules. Generally, the more joules the better, as this means the device can handle one large surge or multiple smaller surges before your gear is in danger. Over time, the parts inside the protector wear down, reducing its effectiveness,” according to cnet.com.

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