You’re at your home computer when suddenly the lights flicker, your computer screen fades to black; then a copy is restored. Sound familiar you’ve just experienced a power surge. Power surges—also known as transient voltage surges—are brief spikes of power that can travel through power lines. Power surges can permanently damage computers, televisions, fax machines and other home appliances that contain microprocessors and sensitive electronic components.
Many people assume that surge suppressors can protect their home from lightning damage. Surge suppressors are not lightning protection devices- they cannot protect your home or you home’s internal electrical wiring from a direct strike. Surge suppressors can, however, protect your equipment from voltage surges caused by unexpected occurrences such as a utility pole downed by a storm. Surges can also generate from inside the home. For instance, appliances such as furnaces, air conditioners and vacuum cleaners can cause power surges in your home’s electrical system when turned on or off. In some cases, remote lightning strikes can cause surges. However, UL Listed Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors (TVSS) can reduce the risk of such damage.
The unpredictable nature of surges makes it difficult to suppress them; you never know when, how long or how powerful they will be. In some cases, a surge may have a higher energy level than the device can handle. When this happens, the surge suppressor may be damaged and lose its ability to provide protection against future surges.
Some surge suppressors look very similar to multiple-outlet power strips but obviously have additional features to suppress surges. Other surge suppressors resemble common plug-in adapters. Not all power strips and adapters offer surge suppression, so make sure the product and product packaging clearly states “UL Listed Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor.”