Are Surge Protectors Necessary?

June 1, 2015

Ever had an appliance go dead on you for no apparent reason? So, obviously you take it in for repair, only to discover that the circuit board is fried. The main culprit for this is a power surge. As a San Jose electrician, we have seen many cases like this. Random power spikes, thunderstorms and high demands for electrical power can cause power surges in your home or establishment. Since electricity fluctuates from high to low from time to time, it is important to protect your gadgets and appliances from sudden surges.

What are surges and spike?
In your home, a strong electric current comes from the power outlet, travels from one end of the wire to the other end which is your electronic appliance. This flow of energy can fluctuate from time to time and when it reaches a certain level, it can cause a surge or a spike in energy. A short power spike or a longer lasting surge can happen when the voltage increases abruptly. These sudden increases in energy can cause wear and tear on your electronic devices and in some cases even damage them permanently.
What does a surge protector do?

A power surge protector is a layer of protection that diverts energy from a higher source to a more normal level. It ensures that only a safe amount of electricity goes through to your electronic devices. Standard home and office power outlets do not normally come with a surge protector. It needs to be bought separately, either in a power strip form, a single-outlet surge protector or whole-house surge protector. It is important to take not that a power strip and a surge protector are not necessarily the same thing. Regular power strips provide additional outlets but not necessarily surge protection, so before you buy one, make sure it specifically says it it’s a surge protector.

Another important thing to remember is that, not all surge protectors are created equal. Some can handle stronger power surges than others, some come with a higher warranty, so it is important to do your homework. One last thing to remember, surge protectors do not last forever. It also experiences wear and tear, depending on the amount of surges it absorbs on a daily basis. There is a limit at how much power it can tolerate and often has a light or an audible alarm that tells you it has reached its limit.

What does a whole-house surge protector do?
A whole-house surge protector provides overall protection for your entire electrical system. Short of a direct lighting strike, a whole-house surge protector will be able to provide a layer of protection for electronic devices within its capacity. Having one installed is a worthwhile investment that can provide years of protection, depending on the amount of surges and voltage spikes it has to absorb. If you live near a power line, an area frequented by thunderstorms, or a sprawling land area with very few power rods to absorb surges, it is best to have on in your home.
Going back to the question, are surge protectors necessary? The answer is YES! If you value your gadgets, devices and appliances, keep them protected all the time.

Contact your trusted residential and commercial electrician in San Jose through (408) 929-6100 or visit for more information.