Surge Protection for Electronic Equipment
What are electrical/power surges and where do they come from ?
The main task of a surge protector is to protect electronic devices from “power surges.” A power surge, or transient voltage, is an increase in voltage significantly above the designated level in a flow of electricity. In typical office wiring, the standard voltage is 120 volts; if voltage rises above 120, the surge protector helps protect your electronic device.
The most familiar source is probably lightning, though it’s actually one of the least common causes. When lightning strikes near a power line, whether it’s underground, in a building or running along poles, the electrical energy can boost electrical pressure by millions of volts. This causes an extremely large power surge that will overpower almost any surge protector. In a lightning storm, you should never rely on your surge protector to save your electronic equipment. The best protection is to unplug all electronic devices.
A more common cause of power surges is the operation of high-power electrical devices, such as elevators, air conditioners and refrigerators. These high-powered pieces of equipment require a lot of energy to switch on and turn off components like compressors and motors. This switching creates sudden, brief demands for power, which upset the steady voltage flow in the electrical system. While these surges are nowhere near the intensity of a lightning surge, they can be severe enough to damage components, immediately or gradually, and they occur regularly in most building’s electrical systems.
Other sources of power surges include faulty wiring, problems with the utility company’s equipment, and downed power lines.
Some Electronic Equipment that should be protected from electrical/power surges include:
• Telephone Systems
• Voicemail Systems
• Ethernet Switches
Phone systems may need dual protection
Even if you protect your business phone system with an electrical power surge protector, it can still be exposed to damaging surges from other sources. Telephone and internet lines can also conduct high voltage, so for full protection you may want to protect against surges from your phone and cable lines. Basically, any lines carrying signals into your phone system can carry a power surge and can cause just as much damage as surges over power lines.
Surge protectors for phone lines can be separate devices or can be integrated into an AC power surge protector.