Two types of surge protectors for two types of problems

Nowadays, most homes are filled with TVs, computers, microwaves and a growing list of expensive electronic equipment. The microchips and circuit boards inside these devices are extremely sensitive to voltage fluctuations, so an electrical spike can cause costly and permanent damage. That’s why it’s a good idea to protect your electronic equipment from these damaging power disturbances.

A whole house “surge suppressor” can do just that. There are two general areas that power surges can come from.

• Disturbances from outside the home, like when lightning strikes.

• From within your house, from something as simple as static electricity.

With two sources of potential trouble, we’ll need two types of protection in both of these areas.

Installing a whole house surge suppressor at your main power supply, will help reduce the damage caused by a direct lightening strike to your home. This is your first line of defense. This suppressor absorbs the majority of the high-energy surge.

The rest of the energy is easily dealt with by a second surge suppressor at the point of use. These are the kind you plug a television or a computer into and are available at most home improvement stores.

For the best protection, it is better to have both areas — the electrical box and the inside appliances — shielded. That way, should any unforeseen power disturbances arise, you’ll be completely guarded against costly repairs and damage to your home.

Joel Wensley is a licensed mechanical contractor in the state of Michigan, a member of the Comfort Institute, and is also the president of Mechanical Heating & Cooling in Dearborn Heights.