How Surge Protectors Work & Why You Need Them
Surge Protection

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.

Virtual Sense Power supplies inverters, batteries and solar panels in the following areas - Helderberg, Somerset West, Stand and Gordons Bay