How Surge Protectors Work

If you’re a small business owner running an office at home, one of the biggest fears you could have is a sudden power outage. Random outages cause surges in your electrical system that could fry your gear.

Even without an outage, power surges are a very real threat. The standard home voltage in the United States is 120 volts. If more than that flows from an outlet it’s considered transient voltage which, in just seconds, can cause a lot of damage to your appliances, your machines, and worse yet, your data servers, home computers, and other business-related equipment.

That’s where surge protectors come in. If you get a quality product from a retailer like RV Upgrade Store, then that product will redirect extra power into a grounding wire and keep your equipment safe.

Without a surge protector, excessive electricity can destroy your data, damage processing components and motherboard circuitry, and fry your computer’s wiring.

How Does a Surge Protector Work

Surges are increases in voltage over 120 within your household as a result of a malfunction or outside influence. A sudden problem at the power plant can cause a surge, as can a bolt of lightning.

To be classified as a surge, according to HowStuffWorks, transient voltage has to exist for more than three nanoseconds. While a single power surge won’t kill your computers, it will strain them and eventually break them.

Surge protectors include a metal oxide varistor. This device diverts power depending on the voltage. If it’s 120 or less, then the varistor does nothing. Above 120, it diverts power from the hot power line to the grounding line.

Can a Surge Protector Protect Against Lightning?

As per Storm Highway, no surge protector provides protection against lightning. When a bolt of lightning enters your home’s power system, a surge protector won’t be equipped to deal with the millions of volts introduced into the system.

TV and radio towers have extensive infrastructure dedicated to lightning protection – from large grounding wires to lightning rods, cables and more – but even they experience equipment damage from time to time.