How to know when to replace a surge protector
Protection against transient surges is only as good as the quality of the surge protector. Even if an electrical grid never experiences a massive transient surge, the hundreds of daily surges slowly deteriorate the surge device. It’s important to remember that these devices need to be replaced because faulty SPDs can create as many issues as not having a device installed at all. At DITEK, there are both AC Power Products and Low Voltage Products that have indicators built in that show if they’re ready for replacement. Some also have an alarm that sounds when it’s time to replace, but more often than not, a dedicated person needs to visually inspect each device.
AC Power Products
DITEK’s basic models incorporate LED diagnostics to indicate that the device is still functional and providing protection. If the LED is out, the unit needs to be replaced. This requires regular interval visual inspections by the end user. There are scenarios where a surge protector has done its job, no one knew to check the LED and equipment was lost due to the next transient that came through the unprotected circuit.
Their more advanced products incorporate an audible alarm and/or dry contact circuit to allow for remote monitoring. These units will sound an alarm, or communicate via the dry contact, that the surge protector is compromised and needs to be replaced immediately. When an alarm sounds, it’s imperative that the device is replaced immediately to avoid unnecessary damage from surges.
Low Voltage Products
All low voltage products in the DITEK product line will either short to ground, or open the circuit, when the units have self-sacrificed. This will show up immediately, as no data or signal will be able to pass through the surge protector until it is replaced.
There is no average lifespan for surge protection devices as they are subject to multiple variables and geographical regions. Some may last 20 years and others may last only a few months. The important thing is to be in a position where you know immediately when you have a surge protector that has performed its last duties and needs to be replaced.