Surge protection now can save big money later

01-surge-protectors-groupBy Pat McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

Power outages like the one we experienced Saturday can cause a lot of inconveniences and problems, particularly for expensive electronic devices that lack adequate surge protection. Home theaters, TVs, computers and sound systems are costly to replace.

What’s the best way to protect these devices?

Here are five things to consider:

  1. Power strips aren’t enough: Power strips with multiple outlets are simply an extension of your wall outlet and may not provide adequate protection. High-quality surge protectors are a relatively inexpensive way to protect your electronics.
  2. Joules matter: Protectors with at least of 400 joules of capacity are recommended. Whenever surge protection is used, it consumes capacity. Indicator lights may show that some capacity remains, but they don’t reveal how much. Think of a battery that lacks the power to start your car but will play the radio.
  3. Surge protectors wear out: The capacity of surge protectors degrades over time. They typically have a light that signals when they’re on and working, but the light doesn’t indicate the unit’s remaining useful life. How long they last depends on how much they’re needed.
  4. More outlets: Always get more surge protection outlets than you need.
  5. What’s new?: Thewirecuttercom’s pick as the best surge protector is the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL, which stops passing power when it’s no longer effective at blocking surges.

When you consider the high price of your electronic devices, making sure you meet your surge protection needs is an easy choice to make.

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0000072EPAbout the Author

Patrick McIntyre is energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for the energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984. 

Other blogs by Pat McIntyre


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2 thoughts on “Surge protection now can save big money later

    1. Tom,
      Here’s a response to your question from Patrick McIntyre:

      An excellent question. Most new thermostats (newer than five years) have a time delay protocol that senses electrical abnormalities (surges, spikes, low voltage) and automatically shuts down the unit for 10-15 minutes.

      There are also surge protectors for HVAC. Here are a couple of links with more information. I’d recommend you consult with your HVAC professional about the possibilities.

      HVAC Surge Protection
      Intermatic AG3000 120/240 VAC Universal HVAC Surge Protective Device

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