When Do You Actually Need to Use a Surge Protector?

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Power surges are bursts of electrical current that can flow right from the wiring of your house up through your appliances, gadgets, and other household items that happen to be plugged into an outlet at the time. Surges can cause irreparable damage to your electronic devices — which is why using a surge protector isn’t so much a question of when to use it, but which devices you should plug into it at all times.

Many people associate electrical surges with lightning strikes. They can happen this way, but they can also be caused by a variety of other factors, such as using a high-demand appliance like an air conditioner unit, or other circumstances beyond your control, such as the availability and demand of energy on the grid from your supplier.

If an electrical surge runs through your floor lamp, it may cause the lightbulb to burn out. Now imagine that effect happening to your laptop or cell phone cables — probably not a happy thought. The reason we need to use surge protectors now is that our electronic devices are more complex and sensitive than they were just 20 years ago. They need better protection.

Bear in mind that not all power strips are power strip surge protectors. You need something that will actually counter electricity, not just provide extra outlets for all of your cell phone accessories.

Plug your most sensitive and valuable devices into a surge protector at all times, such as lightning cables from your MacBook or USB cables from your Kindle. A surge could potentially wipe any and all existing information from your device, which is not easy to recover.

Additionally, keep an eye on the cables themselves. Frayed or damaged chargers often pose a fire hazard. In fact, in 2008 there were an estimated 53,600 home fires, 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage caused by electrical fires.

When it comes to protecting your devices and your home, safe is always better than sorry. Surges can be dangerous, but there’s a simple and easy way to protect yourself. There’s no reason not to use a surge protector.

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