These power sensitive devices are prone to varied current surges, also called electrical spikes.
This fluctuation in voltage can wear out internal wiring, fuses, and parts.
Another risk is the possibility of fire, as these parts become very hot during sustained spikes and can combust if exposed for a lengthy period of time.
The most common method of protecting equipment is through a point-of-use protector, also known as a surge protector strip or outlet.
These units operate by channeling or blocking excess voltage from reaching sensitive electronics and allowing safe operating currents to pass through.
IN choosing these devices, one must remember not to confuse a surge protection strip with an ordinary power strip.
The regular power strip appears similar but will not protect any electronic device from excess voltage.
Another means of protecting equipment is by installing a surge suppression device at the main panel.
These whole house surge protectors suppress harmful spikes in power as they enter the house, thereby offering more of a protection umbrella for all of a homes electric appliances.
These are effective for less power hungry appliances but not for more sensitive equipment such as tvs, or A/V gear.
Because surges can arise within the home, it is recommended that a combination of the two be used for sufficient safeguarding of these types of devices.
Surge suppressors have a certain response time which they react to stabilize excess voltage.
This period of time, measured in microseconds, varies among the different products available.
In this case, be on the lookout for units that have a lower response time number.
Another metric of protection is measured in joules.
This number represents the amount of energy that can be absorbed before the device fails.
Obviously then, the larger the number, the greater the amount of protection the device can offer.
Keep in mind that these two measurements are only part of the equation in a products ability to protect your equipment from surges or the possibility of a fire.
All such devices should have a UL standard or rating on the box as well.
Another important but oten overlooked factor is "let-through" voltage.
This is the amount of current that is allowed to pass through to electronic devices after the damaging currents have been diverted into the ground.
This needs to be enough voltage to continue to operate or power the equipments' needs.
Never underestimate the danger that power surges present if your equipment is left unprotected.
The results of negligence may not only mean your gear, but you or your family's lives.