Misc

What is a Surge Protector. How it Works and Do You Need One?

what is a surge protector


For our convenience, a contemporary house is furnished with the most up-to-date electrical equipment. However, as new electronic products enter the market, many electrical safety problems are growing.

One of them is the power surge! It occurs when your home’s electric connection experiences a sudden and severe power surge. It is harmful to your household appliances.

In this post, we’ll look at what a surge protector is, what it does, and how it works. Read on to find out!

What is a Surge Protector?

Surge protectors are tiny appliances or devices that serve two purposes.

  • The first is to allow several components to be plugged into a single power socket.
  • The second and more crucial role is to safeguard your electronic gadgets from high-voltage power surges, such as your television or computer.

A rise in voltage over the specified level in the flow of electricity is known as a power surge or spike.

Reasons for a Power Surge

When you turn on high-powered electronic items like your air conditioner or refrigerator, you may experience a power surge. To switch on, they need extra power. They can cause an electric current surge to obtain that power supply.

A power surge might also be caused by a problem with your home’s electrical system. During maintenance and repair operations, your electric company may inadvertently cause a surge. Lightning strikes are also an uncommon cause of power surges. It is the most lethal, despite its rarity.

Power Surge is Dangerous

Your electronic household gadgets are usually built to work with 120 volts of AC electricity (if you are in the US, this may vary for other regions). The reason for this is because standard electrical outlets can offer that much power with ease.

The voltage ranges from 120-169 volts during a power surge, though. When electrical gadgets are exposed to such a large quantity of electricity, they are bound to be harmed. For other regions where normal voltage ranges may be higher, the voltage during a power surge will be higher than the standard operating range.

This spike has the potential to develop a deadly arch if it is not contained. Other appliances and wiring may be heated, melted, or eroded as a result of this high voltage arch. In the worst-case situation, they may catch fire.

In Comes the Surge Protector

Surge protectors can be found in control systems, industries, communication structures, and power distribution panels, among other places.

Surge protectors are designed to protect your computer and other complex and costly high-powered equipment from current spikes and power surges.

How Does a Surge Protector Work?

Note: Once again, the remainder of the article is based on US voltages. The actual values of the voltages may vary depending on where you live, but the underlying principles of surge protectors and their functions will be the same no matter where you live.

When the voltage surpasses 120, it switches the connection to ground voltage or stops the extra current. Your household appliances will not be affected by a power spike in this way.

A metal oxide varistor, or MOV, is the most common surge protection utilized in surge protectors. A MOV is formed of a semiconductor. Only particular conditions allow semiconductors to conduct electricity.

No electricity can travel through the semiconductor unless these requirements are met.

The particular criterion for a MOV is a high amount of voltage. Basically, the MOV accomplishes nothing if the voltage, or flow of electricity, is standard.

When there is a surge of power in the line, the MOV is able to conduct electricity and so siphons off the excess power, securely transporting it away from the device and into the earth.

The MOV only sucks up out power above the typical level, allowing the TV or computer to continue operating during the surge. The surge protector-connected equipment is completely unaware that there was a surge in the line. It keeps running as if nothing occurred.

The fundamental difficulty with MOVs is that they can wear out due to all of the little surges that occur all of the time. Most surge protectors feature several MOVs. However, if the MOVs fail, all surges will flow straight to the devices connected to the protector.

That’s why it’s crucial to find a protector with an indication that tells you when the MOV protection has failed, so you know when to cease using it. An LED light or an audio buzzer can be used as indications.

As a backup, some surge protectors have fuses in them. Only a particular amount of voltage may be handled by these fuses. When the voltage climbs over that point, the fuse melts, cutting off all current to the linked devices.

What is a Surge Protector Used For?

Surges of electricity can happen at any time. It may have occurred in your house, but since nothing was damaged, you didn’t notice.

As a result, it’s critical to maintain your electronic gadgets always linked to a surge protector socket, primarily to safeguard your expensive electronics from harm caused by power fluctuations.

Do You Need One?

Surge protectors will not assist older homes with ungrounded outlets or incorrect wiring and grounding unless the appropriate changes are made.

Even the most potent surge protector will fail if there is no way for excess power to escape via grounding.

If your house has grounding difficulties, have them fixed as soon as possible, as the cost of wiring repair or upgrade will be minor compared to the expense of replacing fried items.

Conclusion

A surge protector may not be effective against a lightning strike since the impact is measured in thousands of volts, if not more.

All other types of fluctuations may be handled using a surge protector plug.

Get a decent quality surge protector immediately to safeguard your electronics and avoid an explosion and fire in your household.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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