Protecting Your Computer From Mother Nature
August is bad weather month here on the South Shore and it’s not uncommon for a severe storm to hit without warning. That’s why protecting your computer and printer with a surge suppressor is more than a good idea—it’s an absolute must.
While a home circuit breaker can protect some of your appliances, they were not built to protect the sensitive electronic equipment in a computer. If a high electrical surge hits your computer, it could fry your motherboard and CPU in seconds causing you to lose data AND the use of your computer.
The biggest mistake most users make is thinking that their power strip will protect them, when in reality, it won’t. To adequately protect your sensitive electronic investments, you need a quality surge suppressor designed to handle the job.
There are main 2 things to look for in a surge suppressor:
First is response time. This is the amount of time it takes this device to react to a power surge. This should be 10 nanoseconds or less; any longer and you run the risk of damaging your PC.
The second thing to look for is the amount of energy it can absorb and dissipate before it blows, measured in joules. I recommend at least 800 joules or higher.
Another feature to look for is a failure indicator light. This light will come on when the suppressor is fried and no longer protecting your computer. Most surge suppressors will have this.
If you’re using a dial-up modem (hopefully only for your fax machine), be sure the suppressor blocks electricity that can come in from the phone lines. If you have a fax or cable line, make sure the suppressor you chose handles those too. You also want to make sure the suppressor you choose meets the UL 1449 specifications (this will be listed on the box).
There are three levels of protection: 330, 400 and 500. This number refers to the maximum voltage that the suppressor will allow to pass through the line. The lower the number, the better off you are.
Finally, unplug your computer and all computer equipment, telephone, and modem lines during a lightning storm. This is the ultimate protection against sudden and devastating power surges.
For more information, visit one of my favorite wewbsites – How Stuff Works