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By John McComb
Asked on: July 24, 2012 by Benjamin F., Margate
What should I use for surge protection for my appliances?
Thanks for your question, Benjamin. FPL strives to provide highly reliable and consistent electric power. However, energy surges do sometimes occur. Surges are extremely high, short-lived spikes in voltage caused by lightning or power line damage.
Selecting the right surge protection can save your appliances and electronics from serious damage. Surge protectors redirect excess energy and prevent most of it from reaching your equipment. Surge protectors have a limited ability to absorb energy. That’s why it’s important to select a surge protector with the right features and ratings to match the equipment you want to protect.
FPL recommends a combination of inside and outside protection products:
• Outside surge protectors, often called surge arrestors, can be installed on the electric meter, by your utility, or breaker box, by a licensed electrician, to protect large appliances from being damaged by power surges. Permanently mounted surge arrestors should only be installed by qualified, licensed electrical contractors.
• In addition to a surge arrestor, inside plug-in surge protectors are important for equipment that communicates, such as computers, modems, cordless phones and burglar alarms.
Surge protectors can be purchased at most electronic retailers. They protect only the devices that are plugged in to them and can range in price and effectiveness.
When buying a surge protector, look for the following features:
o UL 1449 3rd edition listing: This ensures that the device meets industry standards. (If the item is only labeled, “UL,” it is not a surge protector, only a power strip.)
o Clamping voltage: The lower the number, the better. The lowest clamping voltage recognized by UL is 330 volts or .33 kilovolts.
o Amperage rating: This represents the amount of energy the unit absorbs. The higher, the better.
o Alarm or light: These let you know that the unit is working.
I hope this helps you choose the right surge protection for you.
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