The Technology Behind Surge Protectors: How Do Surge Protectors Work?

A surge protector is a device designed to protect electrical appliances from voltage spikes in AC circuits. It’s a standard accessory that’s fitted into many devices, including computers and other household appliances. Surge protectors prevent electrical fires, and they’re recommended for use in homes and businesses to improve electrical safety.

How Do Surge Protectors Work?

Broadly speaking, surge protectors work by recognizing when a surge of excess electricity occurs and diverting this excess current to a property’s grounding path. If a surge occurs – either because of damage on the line or something like a lightning strike – and there’s no surge protector in place, this excess current can cause electrical lines and appliances to burn up and can in some cases cause electrical fires. Surge protectors protect both your home and your appliances from damage and danger.

surge protector

How Do Surge Protectors Divert Excess Energy?

Surge protectors work quite simply by re-routing excess energy once they’ve recognized that the voltage has reached a certain point. They’re effectively fitted with a valve that detects pressure and, when a spike in pressure is identified, the surge protector will immediately redirect the excess energy. Most surge protectors use devices like Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV) and Gas Discharge Arrestors, which can effectively divert energy to grounding paths while still allowing the electrical device or appliance to continue operating.

In the case of surge protectors using MOV technology, the MOV will have a variable electrical resistance, which means it can adjust incoming voltage that is recognized as either being too low or too high. In the case of a surge, when the incoming current is too high, the MOV will redirect this voltage to the grounding wire.

Do Surge Protectors Work?

Yes, surge protectors are an effective and simple way to protect devices and appliances from burning out. Not every appliance needs to be connected to a surge protector, but expensive or important equipment should be.

A good surge protector will offer:

– Fast response times, quickly identifying and re-routing excess energy before much damage can be done. Look for a surge protector with a response time of 1 nanosecond or faster.
– An indicator light which lets you know your surge protector is working. Surge protectors don’t last forever, so without an indicator light, you won’t know when to replace it.
– A UL rating provided by the Underwriters Laboratories means the surge protector has been safety tested.
– A lower clamping voltage, which means the surge protector will trigger earlier.

Choosing a high-quality surge protector will ensure your appliances are kept safe from voltage spikes for, hopefully, years to come, with minimal maintenance needed in the interim.

At Peak Substations, we’re experts in substations and electronics. We’re always happy to hear from new clients to offer friendly guidance and advice.

To find out more about the services we offer at Peak Substations or to work with us, just get in touch with us today at 877-324-0909.