Power surges occur when the flow of electricity is interrupted then restarted, or when something sends electricity flowing back into the system.
Surge voltages can range from five or ten volts when you turn on a small appliance, to thousands of volts when lightning strikes a transformer.
Internal power surges
More than half of all household power surges occur inside the home. These surges happen dozens of times per day, usually when devices with motors start up or shut off, diverting electricity to and from other appliances. Refrigerators and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, but smaller devices like hair dryers and power tools may also cause problems. The vast majority of these are un-noticed and never cause a problem.
External power surges
An external power surge, stemming from outside your home, is most commonly caused by a tree limb touching a power line, lightning striking utility equipment, or a small animal getting into a transformer.
Surges can also occur when the power comes back on after an outage, and can even come into your home through telephone and cable TV lines. The fact that a surge may come through telephone or cable connections is a reason to purchase a slightly more expensive protection device which incorporates protection for this type of surge.
Point-of-use surge protectors
A “point-of-use” surge protector guards individual devices from lower-level internal fluctuations.
You may have equipment plugged into a multi-socket power strip, but it’s important to realize that many of these devices function simply as extension cords, providing little or no protection against power surges.
The adage “you get what you pay for” very much applies to surge protectors, with prices ranging from $5 to more than $150.
Uninterrupted Power Supplies
While surge protectors provide the most affordable method of protection, you can employ better methods to provide some degree of protection for your PC. One of the best methods to insulate your system from power troubles is a good Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). The name says it all.
In addition to filtering, enhancing or modifying the utility power, special circuitry and batteries are used to prevent the PC from losing power during a disruption (blackout) or voltage sag (brownout). These units are called different names depending on their exact design, but all fit into the general category of backup power. Most models come with a USB connection which connects to your PC and in the event outside power is lost will safely power down your machine automatically. UPS solutions range in size from small 350 Volt-Amps which will provide a few minutes of battery time to large industrial strength sizes on many Volt-Amps. We recommend at least 350VA for a basic home computer, and for most users a 500VA solution should provide sufficient protection.
Once considered an expensive luxury, UPSs are now available quite inexpensively. ComputerGeeks2Go recommends a UPS to all PC owners especially if it used for work purposes. ComputerGeeks2Go has provided a number of options for you from our partners for high quality Surge protectors and UPSs. (Click on the images and follow the links to Amazon.com) If you consider your time valuable, a UPS can pay for itself the first time the power flickers or goes out.
If you have questions about power surges and how to protect your computer from them, call us at 1-888-863-3033 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you.
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