on’t count on power strips to safeguard your home and electronics. Many homeowners believe that surge protection begins and ends with plugging their appliances in a power strip. A power surge may last for only a few millionths of a second, but at its worst, it carries tens of thousands of volts, enough to fry circuit boards, crash hard drives and ruin DVD and home entertainment systems. The damage inflicted by these minor surges can be instantaneous – but may not show up for some time.
60%-80% of power surges start inside the home, typically from major appliances and systems that cycle on and off, such as air conditioners, refrigerators and clothes dryers.
Government studies suggest that the most efficient way to surge protect an electrical system is by applying hardwired surge protection devices (SPD). SPDs are recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. A whole-house surge protector is installed in the electric panel or meter, so it’s out of the way. One device protects all electrical equipment in the home. Depending on the type of equipment and type of surge, you may still need plug-in protectors to ensure that there are no “gaps” in the protection.