Surge protectors function as a shield, protecting your important electronic systems and devices from common power surges and spikes. As a vital part of their useful life, surge protectors absorb sudden rushes of electrical power – from utility grid switching down to the hundreds of small power surges spikes that occur every day. Such spikes either cause a surge protective device (SPD) to deteriorate slowly or all at once as the SPD prevents more important systems from suffering the same fate. This self-sacrifice eventually causes a surge protector to reach end of life (EOL).
Once a surge protector has reached EOL, connected systems and devices are vulnerable to the same electrical surges and spikes the SPD was designed to protect. Since there is no average lifespan for a surge protector, it is important to inspect your SPDs regularly to verify they are still functional. There are many ways to identify when your surge protector has reached EOL depending on the type and model of SPD being used.
When Working with AC Power Products
Many surge protectors for AC power products use LED diagnostics to visually indicate when an SPD is no longer functional. Typically, an LED diagnostic light will be continually illuminated if the device is functional and providing protection. An unlit diagnostic light indicates the device needs replacing.
This type of indicator requires visual confirmation, meaning someone will have to visually inspect the SPD frequently for device failure. Planning and scheduling regular visual inspections, including inspections after large storms or power disruptions, is key to ensuring your surge protector is still functioning as intended.
When Working with Low Voltage
Low voltage surge protectors commonly short to ground or open the circuit when they have self-sacrificed to the point of EOL. As such, data or a signal will be unable to pass through the circuit, affecting the equipment the device was intended to protect. SPD failure will be evident when you go to use the connected equipment. Still, the connected equipment may not be used often or require frequent oversight, highlighting the need for interval inspections to ensure all equipment is working as expected.
Advanced End of Life Indicators
Advanced surge protectors sometimes offer proactive end of life indication in the form of audible alarms or dry contact communications. When an alarm sounds on one of these advanced SPDs, you immediately know the surge protector has been compromised and needs to be replaced. Similarly, a dry contact circuit enables remote monitoring of surge protection status. In this case, a third-party provider can monitor your SPDs and actively alert you to any non-functional device as soon as possible.
What to Do When Your Device Reaches End of Life
In the event your surge protector goes end of life, it will need to be replaced immediately to avoid unnecessary damage. A faulty SPD creates as many issues, if not more, as not having one installed. For example, a disabled surge protector can disseminate surges throughout the rest of your connected system, damaging other devices along the way. Utilizing an already self-sacrificed surge protector also creates a false sense of security – leading you to believe your electronic systems are protected from power surges when, in fact, they are not. Replacing an SPD immediately after recognizing its end of life is a cost-effective investment to ensure your critical business and security systems stay up and running at all times.
We Are Ready to Help
DITEK offers a range of surge protectors for both AC power products and low voltage installs. Our devices are equipped with a variety of convenient end of life indicators such as LED diagnostic lights, audible alarms, and dry contact circuits for remote monitoring. DITEK’s surge protection solutions are the best value on the market, with the reliability, capabilities, and flexibility required to meet all your project needs.