Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association

Surge Protection is Important

Read Protect Against Power Surges, FKEC Newsletter, August 2013

FKEC recommends all Co-op members protect valued electronics such as computers, televisions and major appliances against power surges and spikes. In addition to recommending plug-in surge protection, FKEC also offers two types of meter surge protection.

What is a Power Surge?

A power surge is when the voltage rises above the normal flow of electricity through your home or business. In the United States, 120 volts is the standard voltage level. That means if the voltage in your home spikes above that level, your computer, television, home theater and more could be damaged.

Spikes and surges are two forms of power fluctuations. Generally, a surge is defined as an increase that last more than three nanoseconds and a spike as one that lasts less than that. No matter the length of the fluctuation, damage can result if your electronics are not properly protected.

The most common cause of power surges are lightning strikes however, they can also be caused by birds, animals and trees interfering with power lines, auto accidents involving utility poles, or appliances cycling on and off in your home or business. Very seldom is a power surge directly attributable to the failure of the electric cooperative’s equipment or power supply.

Do you need surge protection?

Anyone who has invested in technology in his/her home should use some level of surge protection. In the past, surge protection was commonly associated with defending computers, but now with home theater equipment and major appliances getting more sophisticated protection should be consider for all valued electronic devices. While nothing is full proof, surge protection will prevent most disasters from happening to the electric devices you value.

At the very minimum, every computer and television should be plugged into a power surge strip. The multi-plug strips also allow you to plug-in your DVD players, cable boxes, printers and other related devices to provide protection to them all.

What type of protection do you need?

There are three main types of surge protection electronic stores usually carry: Basic, advanced and stations.

Basic power surge strips have five or six outlets and will only protect your electronics moderately. These can be less than $20, but you get what you pay for when it comes to surge protection.

Advanced strips filter electricity smoother and provide grounding for your Internet and telephone connections as well. They will be able to filter voltage spikes better than basic strips but will not prevent all surges in electricity.

Surge stations offer the most protection. This option is the best way to protect your computer and office equipment. These fit under your computer or desk and can protect your Internet, phone and modem connection. These can be costly, but offer the best defense against spikes in electricity.

Many people use an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to protect their computer. During power outages these devices provide short-term power to allow you to save data and properly shut down your computer equipment. If you use a UPS be sure to check if it also provides surge protection. Not all do, and if yours does not, you will still need to invest in an additional power surge protector to plug your UPS and computer into.

FKEC recommends all members use some form of surge protection on valued electronics. Most electronic stores sell a wide range of surge protection devices and can help you decide what protection best suits you.

Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association