Do surge strips protect my computer and electronics?

Yes... and no

Surge strips can and will protect your computer and other devices from the worst parts of a major electrical power surge and events like a lightning strike.  However, that's not the only way your electronics can be fried.  In fact, there are half a dozen ways your electronics can be damaged or destroyed—and a major power surge is probably the least common event out of them all.

In order to protect your electronics, you'll need a UPS (battery backup)

A UPS, or Universal Power Supply, is the only way to ensure that your electronics are safeguarded from most types of electrical damage. However, the UPS itself adds another variable.  If you purchase a low-quality UPS, it can cause problems on its own, or even fail to protect your electronics from surges and other events. In fact, even the best UPS units can cause damage if they get too old, if their internal battery isn’t maintained correctly, or if the UPS internal computer is faulty, or improperly installed.

"So tell me what I need to buy in order to be safe"

You aren't and will never be "safe" from all types of electrical damage.  No matter what you put in place, no matter how much you spend, it'll never be perfect. Even so, you can minimize risk without breaking the bank. Even a cheap UPS tends to be better than no UPS at all. For more expensive electronics we recommend a UPS with an AVR system (Automatic Voltage Regulation). For servers, you'll need a special type of UPS to deal with the increased power demands. Also remember that you need to replace your UPS battery regularly (at least once every 2 years) and replace the UPS itself every 4-6 years. Additionally, if you have power issues at your location, you may consider a UPS for each workstation—however, be careful as this can quickly become expensive. It may be cheaper to simply get our Data Shield backup solution and protect the unique data rather than the easily replaceable hardware.

Every situation is different.  Feel free to contact us anytime and get an evaluation of your environment by opening a ticket here:

Surge strips also wear out

So, back to surge strips for a moment. Did you know that they actually wear out? They become less effective over time and must eventually be replaced. They might still power your devices, but they’re less likely to protect the devices as the surge protector gets older. Fortunately, most surge strips are fairly inexpensive and easy to replace. Sometimes they will have light indicators on them that will tell you when they due to be replaced, but a good rule of thumb is to replace them when the plastic starts to look old (yellowing and/or brittle) or they start looking dirty (dirt or grime inside the plugs). That's not a highly scientific measurement of course, but there is no absolute standard of when to replace them. However, since they are inexpensive it's good to get a new one if you can’t remember when you last replaced it. If you are one of those people who need to know exactly how long they should last, the answer is that some of the best and most expensive surge strips can last for up to 10 or 15 years without being replaced.  If it's a cheap one, plan to replace it long before then (5 years tends to be good). Of course, always replace all of your surge strips after you have experienced a major power surge.

Whole house surge protection

A simpler method for surge management is to install whole house (or whole business) surge protection.  This is a surge protector plugged directly into your power panel and protects all of the circuits and outlets in your home or business. But this doesn't mean that you should throw away all of your surge strips because a whole house surge protector doesn't always protect against the entirety of the power surge—it usually only mitigates up to 85%. With that kind of coverage, a surge protection strip can usually take care of the rest and this is a far better option than making your cheap “power strip” surge protector act as your first (and only) line of defense. Whole house/business surge protection is actually fairly inexpensive (usually between $200-$1,000 installed) but it too should be replaced every so often.  However, the nice thing about these systems is that you'll almost always have an indicator light telling you when you need to replace them and they tend to last longer than most surge strips.

If you have any questions, please open a support ticket here:

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