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Most of us have more equipment than outlets, so you’ll probably find a surge behind most televisions and desks. However, not all surge protectors are similar and some even put their equipment at risk. We talked to an electrician about how to differentiate between good and evil and how to use them safely.

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You spent a lot of money on the latest TV, home entertainment system or computer, but did you know that a huge power surge could kill your valuable devices in a microsecond? Overvoltages caused by interruptions such as lightning or power failure can occur at any time. If your devices are not protected, they can be fried immediately.

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It is important to understand how surge arresters work to make the right decision. Choosing a voucher will protect your expensive electronic devices properly. Many people think they save money by buying a low-cost surge protector that offers little or no protection, but good protection should not be expensive either. Choosing the right one is just a question of how it works. The purpose of overvoltage protection is to direct voltage spikes directly to the ground instead of letting them get into the delicate circuitry of your device. Power surges can come from the power line and / or the telephone line. Therefore, telephone lines must also be protected when connected to your device. Under normal conditions, power lines have a constant voltage (120 volts in the United States). In some cases, however, irregular voltage fluctuations may occur. These are electrical surges that can damage the device. All voltage spikes must be moved to earth. That makes a surge protection.

What is a Surge Protector?

A surge-protector is designed to protect any device with a standard AC plug from damaging power surges and disruptive line noise transferred through the electrical wall outlet. A surge protector may have a long power cord or it may plug directly into the wall, and it usually has multiple outlets for connecting equipment. Some surge protectors also include protection for phone/modem lines, network (Ethernet) connections, and coaxial connections for cable, antenna, or satellite TV reception.

Be careful not to confuse a surge-protector with a power strip. They look very similar, but a power strip provides only an extension cord and additional outlets, with no protection against surges and line noise.

How does a surge protector work?

When the voltage exceeds the allowable level, the surge arrester removes the surge to avoid damage. In particular, internal components, called metal oxide varistors (MOVs), absorb the excess voltage and redirect it to the ground wire, preventing it from reaching the connected equipment. To work effectively, a surge-protector must be plugged into a grounded, wired outlet. Some surge-protectors contain indicators that alert users to possible wiring problems.

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