Do I Need to Buy a Surge Protector?

The answer is “YES”, but by a surge protector that is right for your situation.   Almost every home in the US now has multiple expensive electronic devices and appliances.  Most of them are sensitive and need to be protected from surges.

And offices are even more at risk.  If you have computers or cash registers or telephones, their value totals up to quite a bit.  Replacing them would be expensive, so prevention is a better strategy.

You can buy an individual surge protector for each device, but that can be awkward and costly.  So, we recommend that you use a layered approach.

  1. The first layer should be a whole house surge protector which is installed in the service panel.    This gives you umbrella protection over most surges for all your electronics.  It covers big appliances like your HVAC system.   It is best to have a professional electrician install this for you.  Working in the service panel is dangerous for unskilled homeowners.
  2. The second layer should be placed at the device itself.  Buy a reliable surge protector for each of the special items, such as televisions and computers.   This gives you direct protection in case there are internal surges.

Computers have multiple voltage-sensitive components that a power surge could damage easily.   Surge damage will shorten the life of your computer.  It could even wipe out all of your saved data or destroy your system.


Computers are very expensive items so invest in a quality surge protector.  If your computer is connected to the phone lines through a modem, you should get a surge protector that has a phone-line input jack. If you have a coaxial cable line hooked up to expensive equipment, consider a cable surge protector like the example in this image.  Buy a surge protector with an indicator light that tells you whether or not the surge protector is functioning properly.  Sometimes they do burn out from a power surge and need to be replaced.

Be cautious when you buy because surge protectors and power strips are not the same things.   Look for an explanation on the packaging that tells you how many Joules of energy they can absorb.  Pick the level of Joules that matches your appliance.

Call Frye Electric at (317) 659-6899 for questions about surge protectors.  We would be glad to install a new whole house protector for you and check your system.

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