What Exactly Does a Surge Protector Do Anyway?

Many believe that surge protectors are especially essential in Florida, the lightening capital of the world, particularly during hurricane season when the number and intensity of storms increases.  In fact, lightening a mile away can cause a surge.  That alone is a very valid reason to have a surge protector installed in your home. What many homeowners don’t realize however, is that surges are a daily occurrence anyway, with most homes experiencing up to 20 or 30 surges a day.  This can be due to work on power lines and other external factors unrelated to the weather.

So, what do surge protectors do anyway?  Surge protectors are installed directly into your main panel and do two main things.  First, they protect things that are hard-wired in your home, such as fans, outlets, and fixtures.  Many people automatically think about the risk to electronics, appliances, and technological devices, overlooking some of the most important items in your home which are greatly relied upon – like your fans and outlets.  The second thing that surge protectors do is lessen the intensity of the surge before it can get to things in your home, often to a level that things like your TV, computer, and appliances can handle.

There are many additional benefits to installing surge protectors.  You generally get about 30% more life out of your appliances when a surge protector is installed and you may even get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.

Do beware – in most cases, a surge protector is a surge protector.  Some manufacturers will try to impress you with statistics and fancy jargon, but don’t be fooled into spending more on a product that is supposed to be the Superman of surge protectors.  If you’re being asked to spend $600 or $700 or even thousands of dollars on a single surge protector in your panel, don’t be fooled.  Do ask about the warranty however.  You can opt to add additional surge protectors for your a/c, phone lines, etc., which will up the price tag but may be worth it for you.  We will address that later.

When said and done, a small investment in a surge protector in your panel can save you thousands in damages and repairs down the road.