How Do Surge Protectors Work?

An electric power surge can damage appliances by heating up wires. One way to prevent such damage is to use a home surge protector. Here we discuss everything you need to know about surge protection.

Power Surges are common in the U.S. and can cause damage to many electrical appliances. While the standard U.S. voltage is 120 V, it is not uncommon for the voltage to pass 170 volts. Therefore, home surge protector work is an essential aspect of home ownership. You can get help from electrical services to properly perform surge protection.

One such way is to use a home surge protection. These adapters help protect your home from large power surges that threaten to harm appliances. What is a surge protector, and what does it do? Continue reading to find out. 

What is a Surge Protector in Your Home?

So, What is a surge protector exactly? What does it mean when people say surge protection? The surge protector definition describes the protector as an electrical device that can protect your equipment against power surges by blocking voltage spikes from reaching the appliance. 

The proper surge protector meaning

However, the surge protector's meaning can differ depending on what you use it for. While most people think that surge protectors only help prevent damage from lightning strikes, it helps from all kind of power surges. 

Often, people ask, "What is a surge suppressor?" A surge suppressor is another name for the surge protector, so you don't have to be confused about that. 

How Does a Surge Protector Work to Protect Electrical Appliances?

Surge protector voltage working system

Now that you know what an electrical outlet surge protector is, you might be wondering, "how does a surge protector work?" To understand the working of a surge protector, you must first understand what a power surge is. A power surge occurs when the supply voltage reaches 170V or higher, causing much damage. 

A power surge can be caused by more than lightning. The biggest reasons for power surges are bad wiring, high-powered devices, or malfunctioning equipment. Such surges in power cause the wires to heat up and burn, putting strain on the components. 

Electric surge protection can help prevent such problems. So, what does a surge protector do? The protector passes electric current from the supply to the output devices plugged into its power strip. Should the voltage rise above the standard level, the protector diverts the extra electric current to the ground wire. 

It is essential to understand that a surge is different from a spark. You might think that if you add a bit of insulating layer on the wires, you will be safe from surges, but no. An electric surge occurs when the voltage increase lasts three nanoseconds or longer, and it can lead to a spark. Therefore, a spark is one potential outcome of a surge. However, an electric output surge protector can safeguard from both.

What is the Purpose of Surge Protectors?

What is a surge protector used for? Now that you know what a surge protector is and how it works, you must understand what you can use it for. The purpose of surge protectors is essentially the same no matter how you use them: to protect an appliance. 

Below are some examples of how to use a surge protector to protect your home appliances. 


what do surge protectors help prevent in the workplace? You can plug in your computer to the cord using a surge protector to keep your CPU and screen safe from power surges. 


Television is expensive and the most prone to damage from power surges. Therefore, they require a power surge protector the most instead of directly plugging into the socket. 


Since microwaves use more power than most appliances, they are prone to power surges. 

Video Game Systems

Video game systems have safety features, such as a fuse installed to break off the circuit during a power surge. However, it can get expensive to repair these components. 

High-end Audio Equipment

Audio equipment takes in varying alternative currents and can easily be damaged by power surges. Protect your sound system using home surge protectors. 

How Long Does a Surge Protector Last?

You can not install a surge protector once and hope it will still work a decade later. Like most devices, surge protectors have a lifetime. So, how long does a surge protector last? 

The surge protector's life varies based on what you use it for and how often it has to work. Depending on the surge protector voltage, a good quality protector can last between three to five years and guard your home, so you won't have to worry too much about changing it frequently. 

However, it would be best to change it after every two years. This is because the device becomes less effective the most it is used. Moreover, it's better to be safe than sorry since your appliance could be damaged when you think the surge protector is working fine when it's not. 

What is the Purpose of a Surge Protector, and How do I Install one?

Let's recap. What is the purpose of a surge protector? It prevents excess electrical current from passing to the appliance and damaging the wires. What is a surge protector, and what does it do? It gives the excess current a safe passage, grounding the electricity and preventing it from overheating your appliances. 

Now that you know how to use a surge protector, you can keep your home safe. However, even with surge protectors, there is no guarantee that your home is safe from power surges. Therefore, you need a professional help who understands how surge protectors work and what more protection you need.

McCarrick Electric has been saving clients from power surges since the 1960s. With a combined 25+ years of experience, we pride ourselves in our attention to detail and customer satisfaction. Are you a first-time buyer or a veteran? Enjoy 15% off our already affordable prices. 

Contact us now at 720-505-0504 or contact us online and secure your home from power surges.  

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