Surge protection - do we need it?

  kjrider 09:23 20 Feb 2011

I don't use surge protection. In the 17 years of living whee I am, I can only recall one actual 'surge.'

It re-booted mine and my wife's PCs, and the only damage was to a bathroom extractor fan that got killed off.


  Taff™ 09:34 20 Feb 2011

This is your choice but a surge protector would be advisable in my opinion. Household electric wiring can deteriorate over the years and appliances such as fridge freezers are known to cause surges as well. Then there`s the possibility of a lightning strike. For the relative low cost it`s a must for me.

  uk-wizard 10:02 20 Feb 2011

You are lucky. Where I work we get many short interruptions, brown-outs and surges. A couple of years ago the automatic voltage system at our local substation went loopy and one phase of our three-phase supply went over voltage at night, this killed one PC and several of the UPSs over the month that it was wonky. I had a data logger supplied by the electricity board on the mains for a week and when we looked at the graphs it was obvious that the voltage went up as the load on the sub-station went down at night.

  birdface 10:36 20 Feb 2011

I would say surge protection is needed.
After quite a few cut offs from electrical problems outside whilst using the computer I have had no problems when rebooting.
Some folk are not so lucky it gives you that extra peace of mind.

  octal 10:53 20 Feb 2011

It really depends, most modern power supplies have surge protection already installed that will blow the fuse if there is a spike. The most that could, and I say could, is the power supplied will fail.

There are exceptions, lightning will just bypass any form of protection as if it isn't there, anyway, the ground lead isn't protected and any spike big enough will come up the earth wire and destroy things that way. If you are installing surge protection for that sort of thing, forget it, they won't work. The only safe thing to do is to unplug the equipment when a storm appears.

  skeletal 11:00 20 Feb 2011

I don’t use car insurance. In 17 years of driving I’ve not had an accident.......

Surge protection is just like insurance and has similar probabilities of something going wrong. Some areas (like yours by the sound of it) have no problems, whereas others have problems all the time.

A few years ago, my house was forever getting brown-outs and black-outs of a few minutes, which knocked the computer out. It got so bad I went one step further than just surge protection and bought an UPS (which invariably have surge protection as well); excellent investment. A few times a year our lights will flash, and sometimes go out completely, the UPS beeps, and I carry on as if nothing is happening.

Mind you, if the surge is high enough, even a good one won’t protect you; a few years ago an overhead lighting strike killed my surge protected burglar alarm.

It's down to the individual to consider their own risk, in their own circumstances, and costs of protection vs possible repairs.


  amonra 11:17 20 Feb 2011

The cost of an extension lead with built-in surge protection is so low that it doesn't make sense not to have one.
Having said that, as octal stated earlier, if lightning strikes your supply, then nothing will stop it. It goes where it wants to go. Just keep your fingers crossed.

  Muergo 12:49 20 Feb 2011

amonra is quite correct, my friend lives in a remote farmhouse in Cornwall which was struck by lightning hitting the phone wire not the overhead electricity, but his Apple Mac was totally incinerated wheras his wifes computer was unaffected even though close by.

Fortunately he has a good insurer, NFU, and had a new computer under a new for old policy.

  westom1 18:37 20 Feb 2011

Amazing how so many just know a surge protector is needed. And yet cannot even say what a protector does?

One put brownout and surges in the same sentence because urban myth says dimming lights (a low voltage) is a surge (high voltages - maybe thousands of volts). Brownouts do not damage electronics (except when urban myths exist). Surge protector does nothing for a brownout or other normal voltage variations.

All appliances contain serious protection.

No fuse does appliance protection. Fuse is to stop events that might kill people after damage is done.

Why is a surge protector recommended when so many post nothing but electrical myths?

Start with a fundamental fact. Surge protect[b]or[/b] and surge protect[b]ion[/b] are two completely different items. All protection systems must have the protect[b]ion[/b] device. Some protection systems need no protector.

Somehow a major box protector will magically make surge energy disappear? That is the science behind so many posts. Where does energy dissipate?

Typically destructive surges occur maybe once every seven years. In some venues, more often. Elsewhere less often. All appliances contain serious protection. Protection that can sometimes be compromised by a plug-in protector located anywhere nearby.

Either a protector connects to protection. Or it does the 'nothing' found in most protector numeric specifications. An informed homeowner is reading those specs right now. Asking the many who recommended a protector, "Where does the manufacture claim protection?"

Ask the question. And expect no answer from so many who recommended a protector. Recommend only because that is what advertising has ordered them to believe.

One installs an effective protector connected short to protection. Protection for everything. Or one buys plug-in miracles that cost tens of times more money. Depends on whether the consumer first answered a necessary question. "What does a protector do?" "Or what do you want a protector to do?" What does it do with energy? Of course, manufacturer spec numbers will answer that question. So those numbers are posted here.

  woodchip 19:02 20 Feb 2011

I use them on my Desktops, Laptops do not need them if the battery is left in

  woodchip 19:03 20 Feb 2011

I use them on my Desktops, Laptops do not need them if the battery is left in.

I suppose that it could damage the Mains Adapter on the Laptop, but they are pretty robust

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