Surge protectors serve one of the most important defensive functions for the many electrical and electronic systems that you use to help run your business. In the event of a damaging spike in power, whether from a lightning strike or a more common power surge, your surge protector will ensure that the surge does not reach your devices and damage or destroy them. As a vital part of their useful life, one of the responsibilities of surge protectors is to absorb a sudden rush of electrical power – even if it causes them to be severely damaged or go end of life. This is how they shield your more important business and security systems, and enable them to continue running without costly interruptions. In the event that a surge protector goes end of life, it will need to be replaced.
It is important to inspect your surge protectors regularly, to verify that they are still functional. Otherwise, they may not operate at their intended capacity and could send surges through to your important devices, causing costly downtime and requiring maintenance or even replacement of critical and expensive equipment. In addition, a damaged or disabled SPD may not properly divert a surge, and could even disseminate the surge through the rest of the system, damaging other devices along the way and causing havoc through your entire electrical system.
Many Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) for AC power products are designed to visually indicate when an SPD is no longer providing the protection you expect. Typically, an LED diagnostic light will be continually illuminated as long as the unit is functional and providing protection, switching off when the unit needs replacing. Because this style of indicator still requires visual confirmation, you should plan for regular inspections of all SPDs to be sure that any non-functional devices are identified and replaced.
Low voltage surge protectors that short to ground or open the circuit when self-sacrificed will not allow data or signal to pass through the circuit. This is something you will note immediately when you go to use the equipment the device was protecting. Other, more advanced surge protectors make it more convenient for users to identify when they’ve been compromised by sounding an audible alarm indicating they’ve stopped providing protection; they may also offer a dry contact circuit to enable remote monitoring of surge protection status.
There is no average lifespan for a surge protector—many continue functioning for years without self-sacrificing, while others may be hit by a damaging surge days or months after they are installed, self-sacrificing their useful life in order to save the critical equipment they are protecting from destruction. Geography (whether your region is more prone to lightning strikes), your facility’s electrical systems, and other variables all contribute to the lifespan of a surge protector.
To keep your business systems functioning and well-protected, it’s important to replace any non-functional surge protectors as soon as possible. A replacement SPD is a cost-effective investment to ensure that your critical business and security systems continue to be protected into the future.