Surge protectors protect your electronics from power surges in your electrical system. When you put together a computer or any other sensitive electronic system, one piece of standard equipment that you should probably buy is a surge protector, but these general surge protectors are not nearly as effective as a proper surge protection unit designed and built for your specific property. For the best protection against power spike damage, it’s a good idea to use both whole-home surge protection and additional plug-in surge protection (for higher-priced, more sensitive items such as computers). This is known as the two-tiered approach.
When voltage reaches a certain point, surge protectors simply re-route that extra energy with the help of what is essentially a pressure-sensitive valve. With the correct voltage, current flows through as normal, but with a spike or surge, the device kicks-in immediately and redirects the excess. A surge protector or surge suppressor is an appliance or device designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. A surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above a safe threshold.
A small power surge won’t fry your devices or even leave any visible damage, but it can cause electronic rust. You need surge protectors to prevent the degradation of internal microprocessors on your electronic devices. Surge protectors will indeed protect computers and other electronic devices from power surges and most distant lightning strikes, but they can’t prevent a direct lighting strike from causing damage to connected devices.
These protectors don’t last forever. Most estimates put the average lifespan of a surge protector at three to five years. And if your home is subject to frequent brownouts or blackouts, you might want to replace your surge protectors as often as every two years.