A Power Strip is not always a Surge Protector - Here's Why
Imagine you are the manager for a large office building and want to replace your outdated lock-and-key system with a new access control system.
You have done the research and found the perfect keyless system that will protect the external entrances, elevators and individual offices. You have a company come in and set the system up, and within a few hours, the system is active and functioning properly.
Two days later a lightning strike triggers a power surge that damages your system, rendering it useless. No one can enter the building and those who are already inside cannot use the elevators or enter their offices. Bypassing the building’s security system gets everyone back to business, but also introduces a major security risk.
You spent thousands of dollars on a system that was supposed to improve security, yet you are now dealing with angry tenants, an unsecured facility and a tremendous repair expense. How did this happen?
Power strips and surge protectors are not the same. Though they can have a similar appearance, anyone who has had a server destroyed or damaged by a power surge can tell you that they are very different. Power strips simply multiply the number of available power outlets.
While some surge protectors can multiply outlet capacity, they also reduce downtime and extend the life of your equipment by protecting the sensitive electronics inside from powerful energy surges and spikes. Energy surges are events that increase the voltage traveling through power lines. This happens due to faulty wiring, lightning strikes or power cycling nearby devices. Power spikes usually lasts a few milliseconds, but can cause gradual degradation and eventual failures over time, affecting productivity and racking up expensive repair bills. There is still potential for damage, but usually is not as severe as a power surge.
Surge protectors play a critical role in protecting your building and the equipment inside. For security, surge protectors are necessary for CCTV, building access systems, fire and burglar alarms. For business, they protect computers, network devices, and telephone systems. Finally, surge protectors work hard to keep you comfortable by safeguarding your heating and air conditioners.
Surge protectors are even more crucial in rural areas, where isolating structures being the path of least resistance tend to attract lightning during a thunderstorm. Buildings with elevators or other systems that require a number of large motors are also vulnerable to power surges due to the large amount of electricity these motors use.
When it comes to protecting expensive systems, the most important thing to look for in a surge protector is the maximum surge current rating, which specifies how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher number indicates greater protection.
Knowing the maximum surge current rating will also confirm that you have a surge protector and not just a power strip. Although they are more expensive than power strips, treat surge protectors like an extra layer of insurance – one that can save you thousands down the road.