Surge protectors are devices designed to protect electronic devices from power surges that can damage or destroy them.
They are often used to protect expensive appliances, such as computers, televisions, and gaming systems.
However, many people wonder if their appliances can still get burned while on a surge protector. As a short answer, Yes, your appliance can still get burned while on a surge protector, but using a surge protector can greatly reduce the risk of damage from power surges.
In this article, we’ll explore the causes of appliance burning while on surge protectors, the risks of using surge protectors, and best practices for using them.
How Surge Protectors Work
Surge protectors work by diverting excess voltage away from your devices. They do this by routing the excess voltage through a grounding wire or a “sacrificial” component, such as a metal oxide varistor (MOV). MOVs are designed to fail when exposed to excess voltage, sacrificing themselves to protect your devices.
There are two main types of surge protectors: power strips and surge protectors with built-in circuits.
Power strips are basic devices that allow you to plug multiple devices into a single outlet. They may have a surge protection feature, but they are not designed specifically for that purpose.
Surge protectors with built-in circuits, on the other hand, are specifically designed to protect against power surges.
Limitations of Surge Protectors
While surge protectors are effective at protecting against power surges, they have their limitations.
For example, they can’t protect against lightning strikes, which can generate tens of thousands of volts of electricity.
Surge protectors can also be overwhelmed by power surges that exceed their capacity. In addition, surge protectors have a limited lifespan and will eventually wear out.
You should replace your surge protectors every 2-3 years to ensure that they are still providing adequate protection.
Causes of Appliance Burning While on Surge Protector
Despite their effectiveness, surge protectors can’t protect against all types of electrical damage. Here are some of the most common causes of appliance burning while on surge protector:
Overloading the Surge Protector:
Surge protectors have a maximum capacity, and exceeding that capacity can cause them to fail. This can result in excess voltage being directed to your devices, which can cause them to overheat and burn.
Low-Quality Surge Protectors:
Not all surge protectors are created equal. Some are made with low-quality components that can fail easily.
It’s important to choose surge protectors from reputable manufacturers and to look for ones that have been certified by independent testing organizations, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Electrical Faults in Appliances:
Sometimes, the problem isn’t with the surge protector, but with the appliance itself. Faulty wiring, damaged cords, or malfunctioning components can cause appliances to overheat and burn, even if they are plugged into a surge protector.
As mentioned earlier, surge protectors are not effective at protecting against lightning strikes. If your home is struck by lightning, it can cause extensive damage to your appliances, even if they are plugged into surge protectors.
Risks of Using Surge Protectors
While surge protectors are generally safe to use, there are some risks involved. Here are a few of the most common risks associated with using surge protectors:
False Sense of Security:
Surge protectors can give you a false sense of security. While they are effective at protecting against power surges, they can’t protect against all types of electrical damage.
It’s important to use surge protectors in conjunction with other protective measures, such as grounding your electrical system.
Failing to Replace Surge Protectors:
Surge protectors have a limited lifespan and will eventually wear out. If you fail to replace your surge protectors regularly, they may not provide adequate protection when you need it most.
Power Surges and Other Electrical Hazards:
Surge protectors can protect against power surges, but they can’t protect against all types of electrical hazards.
For example, they can’t protect against electrical fires caused by faulty wiring or overloaded circuits.
Best Practices for Using Surge Protectors
To ensure that your appliances are properly protected, it’s important to follow some best practices for using surge protectors. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Choose the Right Surge Protector:
When shopping for surge protectors, look for ones that have been certified by independent testing organizations, such as UL.
You should also look for surge protectors with built-in circuit breakers that can trip if the surge protector is overloaded.
Install Surge Protectors Properly:
Make sure that your surge protectors are installed properly. They should be plugged directly into a grounded outlet, and you should avoid daisy-chaining surge protectors together.
Maintain Surge Protectors:
To ensure that your surge protectors are working properly, you should inspect them regularly for signs of wear and tear. You should also replace your surge protectors every 2-3 years.
Avoid Overloading Surge Protectors:
Make sure that you don’t overload your surge protectors. Each surge protector has a maximum capacity, and exceeding that capacity can cause it to fail.
Read also my article, The Danger of Overloading Extension Cords.
Surge protectors are an important tool for protecting your appliances from power surges. However, they are not foolproof and can’t protect against all types of electrical damage.
To ensure that your appliances are properly protected, it’s important to choose the right surge protector, install it properly, maintain it regularly, and avoid overloading it.
By following these best practices, you can help to prevent your appliances from getting burned while on a surge protector.
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