Is your TV, computer and other electronics in danger? The answer is yes if you don't have the plugged into power surge protectors. Perhaps you've heard that power surges can be caused when lightning strikes a power poll and the extra load of electricity travels to your house, and fries your devices. Power surges can happen at anytime, are not limited to during storms, and small surges can originate within your house. You need a surge protector to stop surges from frying your computers and TVs.
All of my electronics are plugged into high performance surge protectors. This morning, all at once, my home theater, computer, router, and home network shut off. The lights in the house and the coffee maker stayed on. The weather was mild, sky was blue, yet it was clear that there had been a power surge big enough to trigger my surge protectors to shut the power off to my equipment. Because of my surge protectors, I could kick back, take a sip of my coffee and wait for it all to turn back on without fear that any device had been harmed.
What is a power surge?
Power flows steadily into your home, fluctuating within a range that is safe for electronics. Occasionally, a wave of power (a surge) will flood into your home and to the electronics that are plugged into your household power outlets. The most common causes of power surges are: a tree limb touching a telephone poll or power lines, a small animal crawling into a transformer, and lightning strikes. These events can cause a tsunami of power (major surge) flowing into your home. Any time you have a power outage, it is likely that it will be followed by a power surge. When the power comes on, it's like opening up a dam. There is a surge of power. After the surge, power settles into its regular flow.
It's not only these huge power surges that can wreak havoc. Constant small fluctuations outside a range that can be handled by your computer and other devices can cause what is called "electronic rust." A device's microprocessors can't handle too much power and a little part of it dies each time it gets too much power.
What will happen to your computer, TV or other device?
However rare a huge power surge may be, if it directly reaches your electronics, it can actually melt internal microprocessors and wiring. Literally frying your computer, TV, Blu-ray player, and other plugged in gadgets. Yes, it really happens. It can also affect memory on your hard drives causing you to lose precious information.
The insidious small surges may appear to have no effect, but over time they have degraded the function of your computer or device. You've probably seen the effects. Your computer responds slower. Your TV acts erratically. It's nothing you can pinpoint, but the damage has been done.
The Solution is to buy a surge protector
Right this minute, stop plugging your expensive electronics into a a wall socket and go get a surge protector! I just told you there was a large surge this morning. You'll need at least two of them—one for your office, the other for your home theater.
Don't mistake a power bar with multiple outlets for a surge protector. A surge protector will have a light that lets you know that your equipment is protected. Inexpensive surge protectors often "give their life" for a surge. While the light may still be illuminated saying it is protecting your devices, the surge protector/s circuits may have been compromised and may not protect against the next surge that comes through. It's best to replace inexpensive surge protectors after a big surge (like I had today).
An alternative for an expensive home theater or home office is to get a "power center." Yes, they can cost a couple hundred dollars but you won't have to replace them every year. Many have USB ports to power your smartphone and other portable devices. Many have an added feature that will filter your power from microwaves, hair dryers, and refrigerators that send interference into your household power. These filters, (Monster Cable calls it "Clean Power") will help your electronics run faster, more smoothly and will protect your TV and home theater from noise and interference that can degrade the picture and sound quality. Belkin makes a few models of surge protectors that are small enough to protect your computer and phone charger when plugged into a wall socket in your hotel room.
A surge protector, like insurance, is a necessity. Don't plug in without one.