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Safety Tech Tips:
Safeguard Your Equipment with a Surge Protector

Spring has sprung and along with the flowers and trees blooming we also have thunderstorms blooming! Thunderstorms bring rain, wind, thunder, and lightning. Lightning is a formidable foe of electronic devices. A quick jolt from a power surge can render your most prized electronics useless boxes of spare parts!

Surge Protectors are a definite must for all of your electronic devices.When shopping for surge protectors, you really need to read the label (or the side of the box). That's where you'll find the information you need to make your choice.

Here are four things to look for when buying surge protectors:

  1. First, the clamping voltage. This is the voltage at which the varistor will kick in. Common clamping voltages are 500 volts, 400 volts, and 330 volts. A surge protector with a clamping voltage of 400 volts or 330 volts will give you the best protection.
  2. Consider the response time (also called the clamping response time). This is how quickly the varistor will kick in. Obviously, you want the fastest response time that you can get. Most surge protectors have a response time of a few nanoseconds (billionths of a second). That's pretty fast. But if you want better protection, go with a surge protector that has a response time of a few picoseconds (trillionths of a second).
  3.  Look at the energy absorption and dissipation rating of the surge protector. This is the amount of energy, measured in joules, that the surge protector can handle before it's overloaded. Look for a protector with a minimum rating of 300 to 400 joules. A rating of 600 joules or higher will give you better protection.
  4. Finally, remember the warranty. Things happen, and even really good surge protectors fail. Look for a surge protector with a lifetime warranty and which offers replacements for damaged or destroyed equipment.

One final note. Surge Protectors are not fool-proof. No matter how good it is, a surge protector won't do its job at the exact moment a power surge hits. There's a short delay while the surge

protector kicks in. During that interval, some excess electricity may hit your devices. With any luck the damage will be minimal, but you never can tell.