One simple power surge can take a PC from a helpful, functioning device to a lump of hot plastic and metal within seconds. Other electronics are also in danger of destruction from power surges. Repair costs for surge damage can be expensive and the downtime from a broken computer or other electronics can cost even more. Thankfully, it is very simple to prevent power surge damage.
What is a Power Surge?
A power surge is exactly what it sounds like. It is when an extra surge of electricity courses through the lines. A surge usually lasts only thousandth of a second. It can be caused by something as simple as a large appliance switching on. It can also be caused by a short circuit in your electrical system or tripped circuit breakers. A common outside cause of power surges is lightning. If a lightning strike is close to the power lines, it can send a burst of electricity down the power lines and into a home or business.
During a surge, a computer gets more voltage than it was designed to use. This can literally fry internal components such as the motherboard. Of course, without these components, the computer just won't work. Therefore protecting computers and other electronics from power surges is vitally important.
What Type of Devices Protect a PC?
As long as a computer is plugged into a power source it is vulnerable to a power surge. Though some computers have some type of built-in surge protection, in most cases it just isn't enough. There are two ways to protect a computer.
The best way to protect a PC from power surges caused by faulty wiring or circuit breakers is by plugging it into a PC accessory called a surge protector power strip. A power strip is several power sockets that are attached to a surge protector. This strip plugs into a normal wall socket.
A surge protector can't withstand the force of a power surge that is created by lightning, though. To keep a computer safe, always unplug it from the wall during a thunderstorm. If leaving for any extended period of time, unplug the computer from the wall just in case there is a storm.
Also note that turning off the power switch on the surge protector will not protect the computer from a surge from lightning. The computer must be disconnected from any connection to the wall outlet.
A power surge can do massive damage to a PC, but with a little foresight computers can be protected. Surge protectors and other PC accessories can be purchased online.