What Is a Surge Protector?

Lightning striking behind a house.

Many of us take home appliances and electronic devices for granted. We absentmindedly run the dishwasher in the morning and power up our laptops without so much as a second thought. It’s easy to forget that unexpected events — such as power surges — can damage these belongings if we’re not careful.

Power surges are often caused by lightning strikes and downed power lines, but they can also occur right inside your home. For instance, the large amount of energy it takes to turn on appliances can create small power surges daily. Even if they’re tiny in size, the damage caused by these surges can add up over time.

Fortunately, you can avoid harming your appliances and devices with a surge protector. But what does a surge protector do, and when do you need to use one? Let’s discuss what a surge protector is in-depth.

What Does a Surge Protector Do?

So, what is a surge protector? Before we dive into answering this question, the first thing to note is that there are different types of surge protection devices to choose from. As a homeowner, you might be most familiar with a receptacle surge protector.

Receptacle surge protectors look and act like a power strip, except that their main function is to protect against a sudden surge or spike in voltage  — which is also called a power surge.

You might have also heard of whole house surge protectors. These devices can be installed directly on your electrical panel by a Simi Valley electrician. A house surge protector works by blocking high voltage and keeps it from entering your electrical system. They protect against lightning strikes and power surges by diverting the voltage spikes into a grounding wire.

Despite all this, you might wonder: what does a surge protector do besides protect your devices? They can also help you avoid electrical fires — which aren’t only damaging but highly dangerous.

What Is the Main Difference Between a Power Strip and a Surge Protector?

What does a surge protector do that a power strip doesn’t? A lot, actually! Receptacle surge protectors and power strips are plugged into wall outlets and can be used to power multiple devices at once. However, only surge protectors have the ability to protect your devices against surges.

Surge protectors are also not the same as a circuit breaker or Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). Circuit breakers protect your electrical circuits in the event of a short circuit or overload, while UPS devices provide backup power when your power fails.

What Devices and Appliances Need Surge Protectors?

Now that you know what a surge protector is, you probably want to know which devices need them the most. Overall, you’ll want to protect the most expensive — and the most used — appliances and electrical devices throughout your home. The last thing you want is your refrigerator, television, laptop, or dishwasher to become damaged and malfunction. Everything from air conditioning units to gaming consoles can also benefit from power surge protection.

Safeguard Your Family’s Belongings With Whole House Surge Protection

Knowing what a surge protector is can help keep valuable devices and costly appliances safe. If you’re ready to invest in surge protection for your home, you might also be wondering which solution is best for you. While receptacle surge protectors can be useful, they only have the ability to provide minimal protection. Whole house surge protection is often a more appropriate choice if you’re looking to safeguard your entire electrical system.

RR Electric offers whole-home surge protection solutions that you can trust to defend your home against irreparable electrical damage. Contact us to learn more about our Moorpark electric services, including whole house surge protection installations!