Why Do I Need A Surge Protector?

Utility power supplied to electrical outlets is sometimes inconsistent. The short-duration voltage surges or spikes that occasionally happen can damage components in electronic devices such as computers and workstations. In addition to equipment damage, irretrievable data loss may occur. In the U.S., the nominal or standard voltage supplied to household and office wiring is 120 volts. A voltage surge or spike can cause electronic components to overheat, either immediately destroying them or causing permanent damage that can lead to premature failure.

A surge protector or surge suppressor provides protection against power surges. This device is located in the power circuit between the utility power outlet and the connected electronic equipment. Surge protectors work by diverting excess voltage to the ground, allowing only the nominal voltage to travel through the wiring to connected devices. This is accomplished using a variable resistance component in the surge protector called a metal oxide varistor (MOV). Under normal voltage conditions, the resistance of the MOV is such that it remains closed. As utility voltage increases beyond nominal, the MOV resistance decreases accordingly which forces the unwanted overvoltage to ground, maintaining a constant flow of nominal voltage to sensitive electronic equipment.