Surge protectors save your electronics from power surges or increases in voltage significantly above the intended level in the flow of electricity. The excess voltage can cause an arc of electrical current, which heats and damages electronic devices. Smaller surges may still damage electronics and gradually shorten the device’s life.
Surge Protector versus Power Strip
Power strips act only as an expansion of a wall outlet and are not designed to protect from powerful surges.
Surge protectors provide the same features as power strips; they still allow users to plug in multiple electronic devices. But surge protectors reduce the chance of power surges and spikes from damaging your electronics.
Nearby lightning strikes are most often associated with power surges in your home’s wiring that can damage electronics and appliances. But smaller power surges are far more common and can happen at any time of day, regardless of the weather.
Surge protection devices protect the items directly plugged into them. This surge protector can’t stop the surge, but it instead diverts the surge to the ground, away from your electronic devices.
Replacing Surge Protectors
After absorbing powerful surges and spikes, your surge protector eventually will turn into a typical power strip, unable to protect your electronics.
When a voltage increases beyond the amount the appliance or device can handle, the surge protector diverts the extra voltage to the metal oxide varistor component in the surge protector. This extra voltage stays in the surge protector and gradually destroys that component. Eventually, the surge protector will no longer be able to absorb more surges.
Lifespans vary depending on how many surges your surge protector is forced to try to absorb. The longer it’s been since you last replaced your surge protector, the more voltage your surge protector has absorbed and the more likely you should replace it.