Surge Protectors – Why Use Them?

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Happy Computing Tip #107
Surge Protectors – Why Use Them?
By Switch, the I.T. Support Robot

What is a surge protector? It’s a device that protects a computer or electronic device from surges in the electrical power that flow from the power supply. In simpler terms, it’s a device that protects your computer from power surges, or a spike in your electrical current. Power surges can last only a thousandth of a second. However, they can cause problems if you’re not protected from them. So how can you protect your electronic equipment from power surges? By following the steps below:

1. Invest in a good surge protector. They have some for as little as $10.00. In the case of surge protectors, the bigger the better. “Bigger” is the capacity of the surge protector to absorb electrical spikes, or Joules. However, be careful not to get a power strip. They look the same, but they’re not the same thing. To tell if you’re buying a surge protector, look at the packaging for an electric rating. A surge protector will have a rating in Joules of energy, as well as the maximum voltage it can take from a power spike. If you find those numbers either on the box it came in or on the strip itself, then it’s a surge protector. They look like this: 

2. It’s a common belief that a surge protector will protect you from a lightning storm. That is NOT the case. Even the most effective surge protector can’t protect computers and equipment from the million volts that lightning supplies. So if a lightning storm does occur, the best thing to do is turn off or unplug computers, TVs, printers, etc. 

3. In the event that your computer is affected by a power surge, it’s critical that you have backups in place. We know we talk about this often, but it’s serious and important that you have all your files backed up. We don’t want you to lose those wonderful pictures from your vacation last year, the super important project for your company, or your great-grandmother’s recipe. If you want to see the different types of backups available, click here. 

If you don’t have a surge protector, it’s crucial that you get one. If you need advice or help on which surge protector to get, give us a call! We’ll be happy to help. Another very important device to have is a UPS, or Uninterruptible Power Supply, but we’ll talk about that another time. 

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Happy Computing!!!