ElectricalPower Strips Aren’t the Same as Surge Protectors

March 18, 2019


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While in the hardware or electronics store, you may have seen fancy power strips labeled as “surge protectors.” While these power strips certainly do have some capacity to block low-level power surges from frying your most precious electronics, they shouldn’t be confused for a whole-house surge protector. And, quite frankly, the whole-house surge protector is the one that matters most; that’s the one that will protect your biggest and most essential appliances.

In this post, we’ll explain the danger of power surges and the (proper) way to deal with them.

Just What Do You Mean by “Power Surge?”

A power surge occurs when too much electrical current goes through your system. That surge often goes through everything connect to your wall outlet. Imagine if your home was struck by lightning and all the excess power that would go through your system. All the connected appliances would take the brunt of that power and, if they don’t have safety measures installed in their hardware, will short out.

Your home being struck by lightning is rare. In reality, there are tiny power surges in your home every day, and they’re caused by some of your bigger appliances. This is part of the reason you might see your lights flicker or dim when turning on a particularly large appliance. Over time, these constant surges can really wear down your appliances.

Power Strips Just Won’t Cut It

To be completely fair, power strips are probably fine for some of your smaller appliances, like your device chargers. However, we don’t advise hooking up your more expensive appliances to these power strips and expecting it to provide a reasonable level of surge protection (plus, some of the bigger appliances won’t even have compatible plugs).

The kind of surges sent back and forth between your larger appliances is what matters, and these smaller power strips simply have no place there. Some surge protection is better than none, of course, but we just want to be clear about the difference between surge protectors.

Whole-House Surge Protectors

What makes a whole-house surge protector better is that it diverts any extra electricity into the ground. That means any excess current will get diverted out of the home entirely instead of within a power strip. Plus, these surge protectors are rated for much higher surges. They’ll also be set up to activate when a certain number of volts comes in. For example, most homeowners will benefit from a surge protector that activates at 330 volts.

Proper surge protectors can protect your appliances from damaging each other, but you can also count on them to protect you in the event that transformers are blown, power lines are damaged, or some other accident in the power grid that may affect your home.

However, this also means that these surge protectors need to be installed into the home’s electrical system by a qualified electrician in Kansas City.

If you need to protect your appliances, don’t wait. Contact MVP Electric, Heating & Cooling today to request an estimate for power surge installation.

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