Using a surge protector to protect your appliances and electronics from a surge of electricity is a very smart idea.
Without the use of the surge protector, you are going to be in a position that will put your equipment in danger.
The issue with this is that you can lose a perfectly good computer or television because of improper electrical wiring and usage.
Of course, there are ways to go about preventing this, and one of them is to use a surge protector.
There are lots of questions that people have about surge protectors and the right and wrong way to use them.
We have some answers that will hopefully be helpful in addressing these issues for you.
Does a Surge Protector Need to Be Grounded?
If you are using a surge protector in an older ungrounded two-prong outlet, you will need to make sure that it is grounded.
When the surge protector is not grounded, it cannot offer you any additional protection against these issues.
When you look at your outlets, see if they are two- or three-prong outlets.
The outlets with the three-prong approach have the natural grounding capabilities, but those with just two do not have this ability.
Making sure that you use a grounded surge protector is the only way to protect your appliances and electronics from being destroyed.
What If My Surge Protector Is Not Grounded?
Most modern surge protectors will let you know if they are properly grounded.
As we mentioned, without the grounding, the surge protector will not offer you any convenience or protection.
The modern surge protectors usually have a light on them that indicates whether or not the surge protector is properly grounded.
If the light is on, you will probably have a ground wiring problem and should talk to your electrician.
This means that it is likely that your outlets are not adequately protected.
When something is grounded properly, the extra surges of electricity that come into the home will get dissipated into the ground below the home.
The properly grounded surge protectors also do a good job of flipping the breaker so that no more electricity can flow, as this could cause damage to the electronics.
What Are the Different Types of Surge Protectors?
Now that you know a surge protector needs to be grounded, you also need to know the type of surge protector you should purchase.
There are three basic types of surge protectors that you can look into purchasing.
These are the service entrance surge protectors, whole home, and receptacle.
We will take a look at all of these types of surge protectors and help you decide which is going to be the best for your needs.
1. Service Entrance Surge Protectors
If you are serious about the type of surge protection that you need, this is the model that you are going to need.
These are large units that need to be installed before the main breaker of your home.
This is something that will need to be installed by a certified electrical contractor who knows how to work with high voltage electricity.
Essentially, power will be monitored and regulated before it even enters your home when you use a service entrance surge protector.
The energy coming from the grid will have different strengths, and it will not always be consistent.
In order to ensure that the energy is handled properly and that your products are safe, you will need to use something like a service entrance surge protector.
Of the three types of surge protectors available, this one is going to have the most capacity.
If you have just recently built your home, there is a good chance that one of these was installed during the building process.
These service entrance surge protectors are widely considered the best options on the market, but the problem is that they are the most expensive.
If you are new to the world of surge protectors and proper regulation of electricity, you may be a bit surprised at the expense of a product like this.
Some people find that, although the service entrance protection does a great job of guarding against the massive destructive surges, it is not quite as good with the smaller surges.
Depending on what it is you are trying to protect, it can’t hurt to have other protection in addition to the service entrance surge protection.
2. Whole Home
The whole-home surge protectors are getting to be increasingly popular.
People are tired of having to protect just a single outlet because there is so much electricity that is used throughout the home.
In years past, electronics and appliances may have been central to one main area in the house.
Today, with all of the smart devices we have, there is potential for damage almost throughout the entire home.
A whole-home surge protector is similar to the service entrance, but it is installed after the main breaker, not before it.
The whole-home surge protectors allow for electricity to come in from the grid into the main panel, and then, from there, it works to guard against both large and small surges.
You can set the whole-home surge protector to work for a single circuit or for your entire panel.
Regardless of what you choose, you will have some very good protection with a whole-home surge protector.
Another great benefit of the whole-home surge protector is that it works quite well for a DIY homeowner who wants to install it themselves.
You will have to be very careful to follow all recommended guidelines when installing one of these, but it is not quite as difficult or involved as the service entrance protector.
Make sure to follow all directions to ensure that you are handling this process properly.
3. Receptacle Surge Protector
Last on the list is the receptacle surge protector.
This is the common type of surge protector that you are most likely used to seeing and using in your home.
The great thing about these surge protectors is that they are easy to install, and they are usually very fairly priced as well.
Even though these receptacle surge protectors can only protect one outlet at a time, they can protect more than one electronic device.
The receptacle surge protectors usually allow you to plug in four to eight different devices all in one outlet.
Some new receptacle surge protectors will look like a common outlet, and when you install them, you won’t even be able to tell that it is a tool that protects against an electrical surge.
You will not need an electrician to install these, and you will find that they are very affordable to use to make sure you don’t lose your surge protection ability in your home.
Which Is the Best Type of Surge Protector?
Although all three of the surge protectors that we spoke about are going to offer some protection, it can be hard to find the best one for your home.
If you have the budget to install the whole-home surge protector, this is really going to be your best bet.
You will get plenty of protection without having to worry or think about where you are plugging something in.
If you happen to plug into an outlet in a guest bedroom, you will know that it is protected with your whole-home unit.
This is not the case with the smaller receptacle surge protectors.
For the service entrance protectors, the cost can be so prohibitive that it sometimes makes more sense to skip this surge protector.
Overall, you will be better off using any type of surge protector over not using one at all.
The chance of losing an essential electronic or appliance because of a surge can be very high.
With the cost to replace these things, the price for a surge protection device will be well justified.
Try to choose something that fits your budget as well as your needs for the individual products you are trying to protect.
Remember that a surge protector must be grounded in order for it to function correctly.
If you don’t have a grounded surge protector, it is no different than plugging something into a typical two-prong outlet.
Many customers believe that, if you plug a surge protector into any outlet, you are protected.
This is not the case.
Although your wiring in your home probably has some grounding, depending on when it was built, it is not guaranteed.
Therefore, you must ensure that the surge protector you are using is adequately set up and ready to be used.
There is no sense in purchasing one of these surge protectors if they are not going to protect your home properly.
If you can afford the whole-home surge protector, it will be like protecting your entire home with the quick installation of one device.
Consider this when you are looking at costs and trying to decide which makes the most sense for your home.