Using surge protectors

Posted on March 24, 2015 by heightw in Blog Entry

The vast majority of damage done to properties during a lightning storm is not as a result of a direct strike. These are rare, and can be mitigated by having a suitable lightning protection and earthing system in place. The biggest issue is the surge in electrical current when lightning strikes the ground close to the structure. These surges can travel up cables and through pipes, causing damage to electronic devices and other things in the property. There are countless cases of people who have been talking on landline phones or in close proximity to plumbing being injured when lightning strikes.

The best way to minimise the danger to electrical devices is to have surge protection in place. These important devices divert excess voltage to grounding wires rather than allowing it to reach the devices plugged into them. They come in various forms and offer a very good level of protection for your equipment.

Some surge protectors have a metal oxidising varistor (MOV) in them to help achieve this. MOVs are semiconductors that have variable resistance depending on the voltage flowing through them. When this is at a high level the metal will conduct all excess current away whilst maintaining normal supplies.

Another type of surge protector is referred to as a gas discharge arrestor. They work along similar lines to MOVs, but use an inert gas rather than a metal oxide material. When current rises, the gas becomes ionised and becomes far more conductive. This means that excess volts can easily and safely be diverted.

Surge protectors should form an integral part of your lightning protection system. You should ensure all important devices are plugged into them rather than directly into sockets as these provide very little protection.

When using a surge protector make sure you check it regularly to make sure it is functioning properly. They can get damaged by the small surges that happen when you use certain types of devices as well as when there are large surges as a result of lightning. Checking them frequently will ensure they are in the right condition to keep your property safe. If you need any form of surge or lightning protection, our expert team are always on hand to provide outstanding work as well as practical advice and guidance to help you defend your property.

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