What Surge Protectors Don’t Protect: Understanding Their Limits

Surge protectors are great for protecting your home from power surges, but they have their limits. Knowing what surge protectors don’t protect can help you better safeguard your home. Here’s a breakdown of what they can’t do and how you can fully protect your electronics.

1. Power Outages

Surge protectors can stop power surges, but they can’t keep your devices running during a blackout. If the power goes out, your electronics will shut off. For protection against power outages, consider getting a battery backup or generator.

2. Direct Lightning Strikes

Surge protectors can help with small lightning surges, but a direct lightning strike can overwhelm them. One precaution is making sure your electrical system is properly grounded.

3. Bad Wiring

Surge protectors don’t fix wiring problems in your home. Old or faulty wiring can cause power surges and fires. Regular checks by a licensed electrician can find and fix these issues, keeping your home safe.

4. Voltage Drops and Brownouts

Surge protectors handle short bursts of extra voltage, not long periods of low voltage (brownouts) or temporary drops in voltage (sags). These can still harm your electronics. A voltage regulator or line conditioner can help manage these problems.

5. Physical Damage

Surge protectors won’t stop physical damage to your electronics from drops, spills, or dust. Keeping your devices in a safe, dry, and clean place is important to avoid physical damage.

6. Wear and Tear

Surge protectors don’t last forever. They wear out, especially after a lot of surges. An old surge protector might not work as well as a new one. Replace them every two to three years or after a big power surge.

7. Data Cables

Surge protectors only cover power cords. Data cables like Ethernet, coaxial, and phone lines can still carry surges to your electronics. Use surge protectors that also cover data lines or add separate protection for these cables.

Extra Protection Tips

To fully protect your home’s electronics, combine surge protectors with other safety measures:

  • Whole-House Surge Protectors: These stop surges at the main electrical panel before they reach your outlets.
  • Battery Backup (UPS): These provide power during outages and protect against voltage drops and brownouts.
  • Regular Electrical Inspections: Ensure your home’s wiring and grounding are up to date and can handle modern electrical needs.

Knowing the limits of surge protectors helps you make better choices about protecting your home. Combining different safety strategies ensures your electronics stay safe from a variety of electrical issues.

By understanding what surge protectors can and can’t do, you can better protect your home. For more tips on keeping your home’s electrical system safe, keep following our blog.