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|Surge suppressors often look like power strips
but are also designed to eliminate sudden
surges in voltage that can damage appliances.
Look for the label “UL Listed Transient Voltage
Surge Suppressor” to make sure you are not
dealing with a simple power strip.
Power surges can be due to lightning, a surge
coming from the power company, or even an
electric motor starting in your own home.
Traditional appliances such as refrigerators
or washers typically do not need suppressors,
but computers do. Keep in mind that as newer
appliances and home automation systems now
use computer chips, they can also be vulnerable
to power surges.
Suppressors typically include a power switch
and sometimes a reset button that is used
if a power surge triggered the suppressor’s
own protection. Note that a very strong surge
such as a direct lightning strike will permanently
damage the suppressor. Typically, a green
light indicates whether the unit is functioning
Some suppressors also allow for the connection
of a phone line. Since the phone wiring coming
into your home can also carry a surge, these
units are used to protect telephones, fax
machines, modems, and other devices, which
connect to the phone line through the suppressor.
When looking for a suppressor, consider the
- The number of outlets that it can support
- How the outlets are laid out on the strip.
Since a lot of computer accessories use a
transformer with a built-in plug, these may
prevent you from using some of the outlets.
There should be enough space on the strip
to accommodate everything that needs to be
- The amount of energy (in Joules) that it
can absorb (the higher the
number the better)
- A good suppressor should meet the requirements
of UL 1449, the standard for transient voltage
- Whether you need to protect your phones
- Some suppressors will state their Suppressed
Voltage Rating (the lower the
better), and their response time (in nanoseconds,
the lower the better)
- If you anticipate the need for multiple suppressors,
you may want to consider a
whole house suppressor.
A whole house suppressor connects
to the panel where power comes
into the home.
Installation of whole house
typically done by a licensed