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How To Protect Your Electronics From Damage

An in-depth look at Power Strips, Surge Protectors, and Uninterrupted Power Supplies

When purchasing new electronics, one of the most important factors in ensuring proper operation and product life longevity is controlling the electricity that flows from your power outlets. Electricity is the metaphorical blood of your electronics, and much like high or low blood pressure can have grievous negative effects on your body, high or low voltage can severely damage or even destroy your sensitive electronics.

Power Surges are the most well known destroyer of today's high-end electronics and can be caused by lightening strikes, wind, equipment failure, or even just the power coming back on after an outage. Other less known, but just as damaging problems are dirty power and brownouts. Dirty power is caused by line noise and fluctuations in voltage and is an all too often silent killer of electronics since many people do not even know it is happening. While your device may not display symptoms while it is happening, dirty power can drastically reduce the lifespan of your electronics by years.

The following article explains some of the major differences between the available protection options you have. Take a read, and then take a really good look at that "surge protector" under your desk or behind your TV and find out if you are really protected.

Power Strips look very similar to surge protectors and are often confused which can lull users into a false sense of security. Typically they have a fuse on them to prevent users from drawing more then the maximum amperage rating which can cause an electrical fire. Unfortunately this fuse can confuse many buyers into thinking their power strip will be able to protect their electronics from an electrical surge such as a lightening strike.

Quite the opposite will happen as a power surge will make it right past the fuse and be channeled directly into your electronics most likely destroying them. Power Strips are fine for splitting up power to multiple devices that you are not concerned about loosing such as lamps and other simple electronics, but will leave your expensive electronics 100% vulnerable to damaging power conditions that can cause complete and catastrophic failure.

Surge Protectors are visually similar to power strips, but feature a whole host of built-in power protection. The most basic models start at $20 provide protection against dangerous power surges from events such as lightening strikes, with more expensive high-end models offering protection from dirty power, and even voltage regulation. Surge protection is measured in Joules, the higher the rating the better protected you are.

Many Surge Protectors even offer free equipment insurance if your equipment is damaged during a catastrophic event that it states it will protect against. When you are spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on an HDTV, computer, or other high-end device, a quality surge protector, no matter what the price is exponentially cheaper then replacing your equipment out of pocket.

Uninterrupted Power Supplies are the top of the line when it comes to equipment protection. Not only do they provide an absolute stable electrical current to your electronics with multiple stages of protection and filtration built-in, they also feature a battery that allows you to run your electronics in the event of a power outage.

This battery back up feature is an excellent advantage when protecting computers, allowing you valuable minutes to save your data and close down the system in the event of a total power outage.

If you are still feeling a little uncertain, check out the table below as it outlines the major differences between your power protection options and can serve to help you select the correct power protection for your equipment:

Power StripSurge ProtectorUninterrupted
Power Supply
Powers Multiple DevicesYESYESYES
Prevents Current OverdrawYESYESYES
Protects From Power SurgeNOYESYES
Protects From Lighting StrikesNOYESYES
Noise FiltrationNOYES (Some Models)YES
Automatic Voltage RegulationNOYES (Some Models)YES
Protects From Brown OutsNONOYES
Battery Back UpNONOYES

Shop Surge Protectors and Power Protection here: Power Protection -