Sudden changes in the current coming into your home are called surges. If minor, these surges are usually harmless, but larger surges can either damage your equipment instantly or slowly degrade the equipment from numerous surges over time.
These surges come from a variety of sources: lightning, problems with the utility company’s system or the cycling on and off of high demand devices such as air conditioners and refrigerators. Even the recent increases in solar activity can harm your equipment by causing surges to the power coming into your home.
Suppress the surge
Surge suppressors are available in a wide range of cost, quality and capabilities. They plug into the wall outlet and then your equipment is plugged into the surge suppressor. You can also run your antenna, cable, satellite and internet connections through better suppressors for more protection.
A back-up power system is called an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). These can be part of a surge suppression component or it can be another piece of equipment. The UPS is also connected between the power outlet and your electronics. Inside the UPS are some circuitry and one or more batteries. When the power from the outlet fails, the UPS takes over and the batteries power your system. When the power is restored, the power from the outlet goes back to powering the system and the batteries in the UPS are recharged. How long the UPS system can power your system depends on the capacity of the UPS and the power requirements of your system.
Extra protection for your equipment
Besides powering your system during brief outages, UPS components can also protect parts of your system. For instance, if you have a projector you may have noticed that when the projector is turned off, the fan continues to run for a while. This is so the expensive bulb in the projector can slowly cool down. If the power is interrupted and the fan cannot run to cool the hot bulb, the life of the bulb can be dramatically shortened. The cost of a replacement projector lamp is a few hundred dollars or more.
Don’t miss a beat with UPS
There is also a convenience factor in having a UPS as part of your home electronics system. A good example is a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). A DVR is a purpose built computer with processors and a hard disc drive. And like most computers, it can take several minutes for it start. Many power outages are very brief, only a second or two. If you are using a DVR, but do not have a UPS, it will be quite a few minutes before you will be back to enjoying your favorite show, movie or sporting event while the DVR boots up. Not exactly a crisis, but you invested in this system to enjoy it, not to be annoyed by it.
Do not skimp on these components. They should not be considered an accessory; they are key components in the system. A few extra dollars spent will ensure worry free enjoyment for many years to come. Selecting the right surge suppression system and UPS for your equipment is a job for a professional. We have years of experience in matching the right components to get the best result for you.