Category: Surge Protection

Do surge protectors work - Fuse_and_surge_protection
Surge Protection
Do Surge Protectors Work? Exploring the Science Behind Electrical Surge Protection


In our increasingly digital world, we rely on electronic devices for nearly every aspect of our lives. From smartphones and laptops to smart appliances and entertainment systems, these gadgets have become indispensable. But have you ever stopped to consider the potential risks to your devices and data caused by electrical surges? This blog post delves into the question: Do surge protectors work? Let’s explore the science behind electrical surge protection to find out.


Understanding the Threat: What Are Electrical Surges?

Before we dive into the efficacy of surge protectors, it’s crucial to understand what electrical surges are and why they pose a risk to your electronics. Electrical surges, also known as power surges or voltage spikes, are brief, intense spikes in electrical voltage. These surges can result from various sources, including lightning strikes, power grid fluctuations, and even appliances cycling on and off within your home.

The danger lies in the fact that these surges can quickly overwhelm and damage sensitive electronic components within your devices, potentially rendering them useless or causing data loss. It’s a common misconception that only catastrophic events like lightning strikes can cause power surges; in reality, smaller surges occur frequently and can accumulate over time, gradually degrading your electronics.

The Role of Surge Protectors: How Do They Work?

Surge protectors, also called surge suppressors or surge arresters, are devices designed to safeguard your electronic equipment from the harmful effects of electrical surges. But how do they work?

1 Diverting Excess Voltage 

Varistor S14K385 photo

Surge protectors are equipped with metal oxide varistors (MOVs) or gas discharge tubes that can divert excess voltage away from your devices. When a surge occurs, these components act as a buffer, absorbing the extra energy and preventing it from reaching your electronics.

2 Clamping Voltage 

Surge protectors have a clamping voltage rating, which is the voltage level at which they activate. When the voltage exceeds this rating, the surge protector begins to redirect the excess energy. A lower clamping voltage indicates better protection, as it responds to smaller surges.

3 Response Time 

A surge protector’s response time is crucial. It needs to react swiftly to surges to be effective. High-quality surge protectors respond in nanoseconds, providing near-instantaneous protection.

The Effectiveness of Surge Protectors

So, do surge protectors work? In short, yes, they do. Surge protectors are an essential line of defense against electrical surges, and they can significantly reduce the risk of damage to your valuable electronics. However, it’s essential to note that not all surge protectors are created equal.

Burned Surge Protector

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Surge Protector

Here are a few guidelines in choosing a surge protector:

1 Clamping Voltage:

Opt for a surge protector with a lower clamping voltage for better protection.

2 Joule Rating:

The joule rating indicates how much energy the surge protector can absorb. Higher ratings offer better protection.

3 Response Time:

Look for surge protectors with fast response times to ensure immediate protection.

4 Number of Outlets:

Consider how many devices you need to protect and choose a surge protector with enough outlets.

5 Warranty:

Some surge protectors come with equipment warranties, which can provide added peace of mind.


In a world where our reliance on electronic devices continues to grow, protecting them from electrical surges is a wise investment. Surge protectors, when chosen wisely, provide an effective barrier against these surges, helping to extend the lifespan of your electronics and safeguard your data.

So, to answer the question, “Do surge protectors work?”—yes, they absolutely do. Just remember that not all surge protectors are equal, so it’s worth investing in a high-quality surge protector that meets your specific needs. In doing so, you’ll ensure the longevity of your electronics and the peace of mind that your devices are safe from the unpredictable nature of electrical surges.

How Surge Protectors Work & Why You Need Them
Surge Protection
How Surge Protectors Work & Why You Need Them

When the power goes it, surges in electricity can damage electronics like fridges, laptops, computers, air conditioners and TVs. Surge protectors can make all the difference, but what are they and how do they work? We answer all your questions here.

What is a Surge Protector?

When an abnormally large amount of power surges through the grid, it can cause permanent damage to connected equipment. Voltage fluctuations can have a similar effect, costing you thousands of Rands in damage. A surge protector, to put it simply, protects your appliances and electronic devices from sudden electrical surges in the power supply coming from the grid.

We can attach them to power distribution panels or choose a surge protector multi plug. Both types of surge protectors help relieve electrical pressure on your devices and limit the damage of overvoltage conditions. When voltage increases or dips occur, it won’t break your plugged-in appliances.


Why Surge Protectors Are Important

The purpose of a surge protector is to safeguard your electronic devices and appliances from voltage spikes and power surges. They will reduce dangerously high voltage to a safe level so that your devices don’t sustain electrical damage. Protection from power surges is vital for any company or home, since load shedding and unreliable power supply is more frequent in our country. 

Electrical appliances receive a very specific amount of voltage, and changes in this flow can wear down the appliance over time. Or, a sudden surge can cause instant damage to appliances, leaving them useless and in need of replacement. If you can’t afford to replace computerised appliances and electrical devices like your PC at a moment’s notice, you need surge protection.

Are All Surge Protectors the Same?

No, all surge protectors are not the same. Whether you have a surge protector for db board or a power surge protector plug, the quality and capacity can differ. Sometimes, a power adaptor surge protector will come with a warranty, ensuring that it will protect your household appliances for a predetermined amount of time (say 3 years).

The multi plugs come in various sizes and capacities, such as a 6-plug surge protector vs a 12-way surge safe power protector. Some have USB ports and more power outlets. Even the devices meant for your DV Board can differ in size and strength. 

What Do Surge Protectors Do?

A typical surge protector allows electricity to pass from the outlet to the devices connected to the power strip. Surge protectors work by diverting excess voltage away from our electronic devices and into the ground, preventing damage caused by power surges, but they require periodic replacement due to protector wear to ensure continued effectiveness. Surge protectors function as a barrier between our electronic devices and the power line, redirecting excess voltage to safeguard our valuable equipment, making them indispensable for protecting against electrical surges. If the voltage rises too high, the protector will divert any extra electricity into the outlet’s ground wire. Grounding wires run perpendicular to the hot and neutral wire. They help prevent an electrical short circuit if the wiring becomes damaged. 

Surge protectors are essential components in our modern electronic setups due to their vital role in defending our devices from transient voltage surges. These surges, often stemming from lightning strikes or sudden power fluctuations, can introduce excess voltage into our electrical systems, endangering our expensive gadgets. A surge protector, typically plugged into a wall outlet like any other electrical device, acts as a gatekeeper against transient voltage surges. It functions by diverting the excess voltage safely to the ground, ensuring that it doesn’t reach and damage the connected devices.

The surge suppressor comes equipped with a joule rating, which quantifies its capacity to absorb and dissipate these voltage spikes. When a transient voltage surge occurs, the protector’s components wear down incrementally, which is why it’s essential to periodically replace surge protectors to maintain their effectiveness. Thus, surge protectors, rated at 120 volts or more, play a critical role in safeguarding our electronic investments and ensuring they continue to function smoothly.

Do Surge Protectors Work?

When there is an increase in voltage, a surge protection device redirects the excess power to a grounding wire. Whether you have a built-in surge protector or a surge strip, it can offer you effective protection from power surges. So yes, they are effective. The problem is that they deteriorate over time and with multiple voltage spikes.

Protect Your Electronics During Load Shedding

You can unplug appliances before load shedding to protect them from surges. Since electronic equipment needs a consistent power level, it makes more sense to use a mains surge protector or multi-plug to safeguard your valuable equipment.

Do Laptops Need Surge Protectors?

Yes, they do. Many companies choose to install uninterruptible power supply devices with built in surge protection to safeguard laptops. As long as we plug the laptop in to the UPS, it is safe from any potential energy spike or surge. 

When Do Surge Protectors Go Bad?

When Do Surge Protectors Go Bad?

A good surge protection device can last as long as five years! But sudden surges can diminish its capacity. Since surges can often happen when the power comes back on after load shedding, high-voltage surges occur frequently in South Africa. This puts our electrical devices at greater risk. 

How Capacity is Measured

We can measure the amount of protection your surge device offers in joules. The more joules, the better. Check the specs of the unit you’re considering before purchasing. Each time a surge happens, the joules it can handle drops. The larger the surge, the greater the loss in capacity. Surge protection safeguards against voltage spikes, but it’s crucial to recognize when it’s time to replace worn-out surge protectors.

When to Replace the Device

Because surge protectors wear out, this highlights the importance of periodic replacement. For this reason, it makes sense to replace them every 2 years or even faster if you experience a lightning surge or a sudden and very high flow of electricity often. Since it isn’t possible to tell how much capacity your surge device has left, keeping track of when you bought it and the surges it has gone through can help you figure out if it needs to be replaced.

Consider Warnings

Some protectors give warnings when they have sustained major damage through a particularly vicious spike or surge. Even if your device doesn’t go through any surges, the parts will deteriorate over time.

Consider Reliable Quality

Add to the mix the fact that some devices are not made by reliable companies and do not have accurate capacities to begin with. So it makes sense to buy your surge protection devices from a reputable power company like Virtual Sense Power.

There’s currently no way to know how effective a device’s initial ratings are, or if they’re even accurate. Buying from a reliable power solutions company, and one that offers a warranty, is a smart idea.

Can Surge Protectors Protect Against Lightning?

Yes, some surge protectors are effective against lightning strikes, but remember that lightning can travel along phone and internet lines, too, causing damage. Check your surge protection warranty and voltage protection rating to see if it will do the job. Surge protectors that go on your electrical panel are often effective at stopping the damage caused by lightning strikes.

What Surge Protector Do I Need?

Consider the valuable equipment and appliances in your home and where they are plugged in. Even if it is a durable product, like a quality washing machine, it needs protection from sudden surges in power. You can get a plug-in device for each outlet point where your appliances and equipment gets plugged in. Additionally, you can get a db board device for each board on the property.

If you are worried about protecting your appliances during load shedding, it’s best to talk to an expert today. We can help you find the best surge protection solution for your specific needs.

Surge Protection - Voltage Regulator
Surge Protection
Surge Protection – Which One’s For You?

Surge protection is essential to safeguard your electronic devices and appliances from voltage spikes or surges in your electrical system. Choosing the right surge protector depends on your specific needs and the equipment you want to protect. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the right surge protector for you:

  1. Type of Surge Protector:
    • Power Strips: These are the most common type of surge protectors. They offer multiple outlets and are suitable for protecting a variety of devices.
    • Whole-House Surge Protectors: These are installed at your main electrical panel and protect your entire home. They provide comprehensive protection but may require professional installation.
  2. Joule Rating: The joule rating indicates how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher joule rating means better protection. For valuable electronics, it’s best to choose a surge protector with a higher joule rating.
  3. Clamping Voltage: This is the voltage level at which the surge protector will start to divert excess voltage to the ground. Lower clamping voltages are better, as they protect your devices from smaller voltage spikes.
  4. Number of Outlets: Ensure the surge protector has enough outlets for your devices. It’s a good practice to have a few extra outlets for future additions.
  5. Response Time: Look for surge protectors with faster response times (measured in nanoseconds) as they can react to surges more quickly.
  6. EMI/RFI Filtering: Some surge protectors include electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI) filtering. These can help improve the quality of power your devices receive.
  7. Indicator Lights: Surge protectors often have indicator lights to show whether they are functioning properly. This is a helpful feature to ensure your devices are protected.
  8. Warranty: Check the warranty provided by the surge protector manufacturer. A longer warranty can indicate the manufacturer’s confidence in their product.
  9. USB Ports: Some surge protectors come with built-in USB ports for charging your mobile devices and other gadgets.
  10. Mounting Options: If you want to mount the surge protector on a wall or under a desk, make sure it has the necessary mounting options.
  11. Budget: Consider your budget, but remember that investing in a high-quality surge protector can save you money in the long run by protecting expensive electronics from damage.
  12. Brand and Reviews: Choose reputable brands known for quality surge protection. Read customer reviews and consider the experiences of others.
  13. Specific Needs: Consider any specific needs, such as outdoor surge protectors for protecting items like outdoor lighting or pool equipment.
  14. Appliance-Specific Protectors: Some surge protectors are designed for specific appliances like refrigerators or home theaters. These can offer tailored protection for sensitive equipment.

In summary, selecting the right surge protector for your needs involves considering factors like type, joule rating, clamping voltage, number of outlets, response time, filtering, warranty, budget, and any specific requirements you might have. It’s important to protect your valuable electronics and appliances from unexpected power surges, and the right surge protector can provide that protection.

about us

VSP specializes in Lightning/Surge Protection and alternative power systems. The company offers state of the art technologies and services and is generally considered as a leader in its field. VSP is uniquely positioned in a country where 80% of electronic malfunctions arise from power surges.

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