A strip surge protector placed on a wood surface.

What Is a Surge Protector?

You might think that a power surge will never happen to you. Unfortunately, you can encounter this electrical problem when you least expect it. As the name suggests, a power surge is a sudden spike in voltage. It can occur for many reasons, such as lightning strikes and downed power lines.

Power surges can also vary in size; some are so small you’ll hardly notice them, while others can be significant and serious. In fact, a surge in your electrical system can seriously damage your appliances or electronic equipment in only a few moments.

Fortunately, a surge protector can help stop a dangerous power surge in its tracks. But what is a surge protector? When do you need these electronic devices? Don’t worry — we’ll answer all these questions and more. Below, let’s go over what a surge protector is and, more specifically, how a surge protector works.

What Is the Purpose of a Surge Protector?

So, what is a surge protector, exactly? To fully answer this question, it’s important to point out that there are various types of surge protectors on the market.

Strip Surge Protectors

Some surge protectors look like power strips, as they plug into power outlets, and various devices can be plugged into them at once. However, unlike power strips, surge protectors include circuit breakers that will protect electronic devices that are plugged into them.

Whole-House Surge Protectors

There are also whole-house surge protectors that are installed directly into your home’s electrical panel. When power surges or spikes occur in your home, this comprehensive surge protector will protect your entire electrical system from a sudden increase in voltage. These devices can protect electronic equipment, appliances, and more.

In most cases, the appliances and electrical devices in your home can only handle a voltage level of 120 volts. A surge protector will help safeguard your home against high voltage. Most of these devices have a Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) to limit excess voltage. Unfortunately, Metal Oxide Varistors can wear out over time, and you’ll want to replace a surge protector when this happens.

How to Choose a Surge Protector

Now that you have a better understanding of how a surge protector works, you might be wondering how to choose the best device for your home. All-in-all, you’ll want to consider the surge protector’s Joules rating.

You should invest in a surge protector with a Joules rating that meets your needs. If you use a surge protector that’s too small, you run the risk of damaging your appliances and devices during a power surge.

If you need help finding the perfect surge protector for your home, don’t hesitate to call your local electrician for help. At Reynolds Electric & Plumbing, we offer surge protection in Eugene, OR, as well as many other services that can protect your home’s electrical system. Get in touch with us to learn more about our surge protection options.

What Appliances Need Surge Protectors?

Although it can be helpful to know how a surge protector works, it’s even more important to know when these devices are needed. Essentially, you should first consider protecting the appliances and electronic devices in your home that are the most expensive. Since power surges can damage your devices, it only makes sense to safeguard those that will cost the most to replace.

On a more specific level, you should consider protecting appliances that have microprocessors. Most appliances have microprocessors, which are known for being sensitive to high amounts of voltage.

Contact Reynolds Electric & Plumbing for Your Electrical Needs!

So, what is a surge protector? As you can see, these electrical devices can be incredibly useful in protecting your home against harmful electrical surges. Surge protection can come in different sizes and styles, so you might want to consult a professional electrician before choosing one of these devices for your home.
Hopefully, you now know how a surge protector works and what you stand to gain from using one. If you’re ready to get started with a surge protector, turn to Reynolds Electric & Plumbing! We offer residential electrical services in Eugene, OR, that you can count on. Contact us today to learn more about our surge protection options!