Power strips don’t offer surge protection

Many people buy a multiple-outlet device thinking they are getting surge protection. Be aware that power strips (also called multiple-outlet strips) simply provide additional outlets for your electrical needs. Power strips do not provide any level of protection to electronic equipment.

Surge protectors, meanwhile, are designed to protect electronic products from the damaging effects of fluctuations in electrical voltage. They can be caused by any sudden change in the demand for electricity. While Edisto Electric Cooperative works hard to keep power quality high, some voltage surges from external sources, such as lightning, are inevitable. Even inside a home or business, a heavy-duty appliance turning on or off can cause power surges and spikes.

Many microchips in home audio or home office equipment, such as computers, telephones, fax machines, television, stereos and microwaves, are sensitive to voltage irregularities. Unprotected, equipment can be damaged either instantaneously or over time. Even smaller surges cause the gradual deterioration of circuitry.

A surge protector will protect your electronics, blocking excess voltage. That’s why Edisto Electric Cooperative offers/recommends surge protection devices to its members. The units are modestly priced, especially when you compare that price to the cost of replacing electrical appliances or home electronics.

If you have surge protectors, great. But be aware, too, that surge protectors have a limited capacity to absorb voltage. Once the capacity is reached, the unit is no longer protecting and it should be replaced.

Another point to remember is that electricity can travel up or down your power and data lines, making it necessary to protect all wired access to your equipment. If you have a television hooked up to cable television, a surge protector with coax connectors would be required. Where digital satellite systems are used, a surge unit with both coax and phone line protection would be necessary. Computers with modems might allow a surge to enter through your data line.