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Have you ever worried about your electronics and wiring in your Ottawa home and if you are protected if a surge of power went through your walls?  Surge protectors are becoming extremely popular these days and must be installed by a licensed electrician.  For a free quote in the Ottawa area call (613) 299-8239!

What you need to know to buy surge protection for sensitive electrical equipment.

Ontario Hydro recommends that you have the proper surge suppression device installed for protection of your personal electrical equipment.

There are many uncontrollable factors that can cause power outages. These include adverse weather conditions and accidental contact with our power lines by construction equipment, vehicles or wildlife. When power distribution is affected, there is a potential for an onrush of current — which can occur during the disturbance, during operation of the utility protection equipment, and when power is restored.

This onrush, or power surge, is usually caused by a brief voltage fluctuation. It typically ranges from 500 to 1,000 volts and hits a component designed to withstand only 120 volts. Even though it might last only a fraction of a second, such a surge can damage delicate parts commonly found in all electronic devices, including your computer, home entertainment system, telephone, appliances and security system.

In the case of your computer, a power fluctuation can disrupt software, erase valuable data and damage the hard drive, printer, modem and other related equipment.

One level of surge suppression is not enough

Two lines of defence are essential to protect your equipment from power disturbances — a heavy duty surge suppressor at your main service panel and several point-of-use surge suppressors downstream.

The surge suppressor at your main service panel deals with large surges.

The smaller point-of-use surge suppressors take care of what remains of surges that get past the main surge suppressor, and protect individual pieces of equipment. They also offer protection from internal surges.

Intercepting the big surges

First line of defence: Surge suppression at main service panel

Main service panel suppressors protect your home from electrical disturbances originating from the utility supply. They cut big surges down to size, enough so that if any of the surge is left, the point-of-use surge suppressors can intercept it to protect equipment downstream.

You must have the main service panel suppressors installed in your home by a licensed electrician. Proof of installation is required for warranty. Local electrical suppliers carry a full range of surge suppressors for every degree of surge protection needed in your home or business.

Look for a response time of 5 nanoseconds or less. This is the reaction time of the suppressor. Ask for a suppressor with a visible alarm to signal that the device has suffered damage, since surges can destroy the suppressor’s effectiveness. Good quality building-entry surge suppressors cost between $200 and $700.

Dealing with smaller threats

Second line of defence: Surge suppression at point-of-use

Point-of-use devices are connected to wall outlets close to equipment being protected. They generally take the form of power bars, receptacle-mounted or plug-in types, and hard-wired receptacles with built-in suppression. Look for certified CSA or cUL and UL 1449 approval.

The suppressor should be able to handle a minimum of 120 Joules without burning out, across each of the following: neutral to ground, neutral to line, and line to ground. It is important to ask for suppressor power bars with audible/visible alarms to signal when the device has suffered damage, since surges can destroy the suppressor’s effectiveness.

Point-of-use devices are available at computer retail outlets, hardware stores, and department stores. Good quality surge suppressor power bars generally range from $30 to $75.