Why do you need Surge Protection for your Equipment?

Do you have electronics plugged directly into a wall outlet?  Do you know you should plug your equipment into surge protection (which isn’t the same thing as a power strip)?  For critical items like PC’s or certainly your network server(s), battery backups are recommended.  They come in various sizes specifically designed for PC’s or Servers.

We all assume that our wall outlets provide a consistent voltage.  You should be aware it is not unusual to have power fluctuations or spikes which occur when the voltage suddenly increases.  This can often be caused by lightning strikes, power outages, or brownouts.  A spike is a short increase in voltage, while a surge is one that lasts more than a few seconds; brownouts are when the voltage goes lower for a period of time.  Whatever the cause, a sudden increase or decrease in current can damage electronics or even burn out parts causing them to be completely damaged them beyond repair.  A prime example of a surge is a lighting strike.

Electrical outlets don’t have protection against power surges, dips or spikes.  Surge protectors are generally made and sold in the form of power strips.  The best protection is offered with battery backups.  They are designed to protect against surges, spikes and dips in power.

Power Strips are not Surge Protectors.  Some people are confused about this and call every power bar a “surge protector,” but this isn’t true.  The cheapest power strips are not surge protectors and only provide additional power outlets for you.  You should consider sticking with a surge protector from a reputable company like APC or Trip Lite.  Reputable surge protectors will also offer warranties, promising to replace any electronics connected to the surge protector if a surge occurs and they become damaged.  Look for this and the warrantee amounts before you buy a surge protector.  If the warrantee amount is less than the value of the item it is protecting, then get a better one.

When do you need to Replace Surge Protection?  Surge protectors don’t last forever.  The components they use to divert energy can wear down as a result of power surges.  This means that your surge protector’s life depends on how frequently power surges occur in your area.  A surge protector can only absorb a limited amount of additional power.  Battery backups have a life expectancy too and will often indicate that it is time to replace the battery with a warning light or beeping sound.  Surge protectors are easy to forget when they are working.  However there is a life expectancy for surge protection and because surge protectors are a fairly inexpensive, and a very important way of protecting your expensive gadgets, they should be changed periodically.   Perhaps a simple sticky label with the purchase date would help to know how old they are.

Call us today and we can help you conduct an audit of your network and recommend any changes necessary to protect your valuble equipment and data from power related problems.