A point-of-use surge protector safeguards individual devices from lower-level internal fluctuations. While your equipment may be connected to a multi-socket power strip, it’s important to note that many of these devices primarily function as extension cords, offering minimal or no protection against power surges.
A wide variety of Point-of-use (POS) surge protectors are available to enhance your protection against voltage transients that can potentially harm your electrical systems. Instead of being installed at the electrical service entrance, these devices are typically placed at points of distribution, branch panel boards, and sensitive loads. In addition to shielding against transients, they provide protection against surges, spikes, and noise on incoming AC power lines.
What Should You Consider When Buying Surge Suppressors and Protectors?
When choosing or Point-of-use (POS) surge protectors or any surge protection equipment, it’s essential to consider the following factors to ensure an informed decision:
1. UL 1449 Certification:
Verify that the protectors meet the safety standards set by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Look for a specific UL rating instead of a generic UL-listed label.
2. Clamping Voltage:
Lower clamping voltage is preferable, with UL recommending a minimum of 330 volts. A voltage closer to 120 volts is even safer. This voltage level is crucial because it marks when the device effectively blocks surges.
3. Response Times:
Seek devices that can detect power surges in just a few nanoseconds or picoseconds (one billionth or one trillionth of a second).
4. Energy Dissipation:
Opt for equipment with higher total energy dissipation, indicating greater surge absorption capacity. This capacity is typically reflected in a joule rating of at least 400, with 600 being a preferred threshold.
5. Indicator Lights and Alarms:
Ensure that the devices feature indicator lights to display their operational status and signal when replacement is necessary. Look for models with audible alarms for detecting high-level surges.
6. Packaging and Receipts:
While many devices offer equipment coverage, remember that any claims will require the original sales receipt and product packaging.
7. Connections and Convenience:
Verify that the equipment provides sufficient connections to protect all components of your system. Additionally, check if it includes an on/off switch for conveniently powering down all components.
8. Comprehensive Protection:
Look for safeguards covering all three wire combinations: L-G, N-G, and L-N. Consider a warranty against damage to connected equipment; though keep in mind that surge protectors cannot fully guard against lightning strikes.
9. Noise Filtering:
Choose products that come with built-in filters to reduce line noise, also known as electromagnetic interference.
Recommended: Does a Surge Protector Protect Against Lightning?