Surge protectors can handle small upticks in voltage without any effect. Your appliances keep running as if nothing happened. Large surges trigger the surge protector to shut down as a defense mechanism that protects itself and your electronics.
If your surge protector has shut down following a power surge, you’ll need to reset it to get power flowing again.
1. Turn off all connected devices and unplug them.
2. Look for a reset button (they can be tiny and hard to see on many surge protectors, so check every surface). If yours has one, press it and wait a little bit before plugging things back in.
3. If the reset button is absent, simply turn off the surge protector and turn it back on.
4. After flipping the on/off switch or pressing the reset button, check whether the “Protected” button comes on. It may be an unlabeled green light.
5. If the “protected” light comes on, turn off the surge protector one more time. Plug everything back in, turn on the surge protector, and you’re ready to go.
6. Some surge protectors do not have “protected” lights. If this is the case, keep reading!
What You Need to Know About Surge Protectors
Surge protectors often don’t tell you when they stop working. Or rather, they don’t tell you when they stop protecting and become simple power strips.
Here’s why you should be careful about an old (or potentially damaged) surge protector if you are unsure whether it’s still working. Surge protectors function by absorbing excess energy. That electrical flow has to go somewhere! A part called a metal oxide varistor (MOV) absorbs the energy so your electronics don’t get damaged.
The MOV wears out over time. When a certain amount of energy has been absorbed, it will stop offering surge protection. Until it wears out, it offers great protection (the quality does not degrade gradually), but when it’s done — it’s kaput.
You probably need to replace surge protectors more often than you’d think. After all, the electronics and appliances running on it are far more valuable than the cost of a new surge protector.
Some pointers to keep in mind:
- Lifespan estimates for surge protectors range from 2 to 10 years. Try looking up the model number to see if this estimate is available.
- If you believe significant surges have hit your power, surge protectors will die sooner. There’s no real time frame — it’s all about how much juice has worn down the MOV.
- The green “protected” light isn’t 100% reliable. Old surge protectors should be replaced periodically even without signs of problems.
Does your home have frequent power surges? It may be time for an electrical system upgrade or repairs — for the well-being of you, your appliances, and your home. Contact us for professional help with troubleshooting electrical problems in the Sonoma County area!