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Like other electronic devices and parts of an appliance, surge protectors wear out after repeated use.

And the worst part is - you can never tell when a surge protector is going out. Generally, surge protectors last 5-7 years, though replacing them every two years is advisable to avoid power spikes and outages.

However, the device’s lifetime may vary with different surge protectors. So, here’s a quick guide that will help you determine when to replace your surge protector.

What Is The Role Of A Surge Protector?

Surge Protection Power Strip

A surge protector allows the user to power multiple devices through a single wall outlet. Plus, surge protectors protect your electrical appliances from high-voltage power surges.

Since it divides electrical current across multiple devices using a simple power strip, it diverts the extra current to the outlet grounding wire in the case of extremely high voltage. The grounding wire runs parallel to the neutral and hot wires and makes way for extra electrical current to prevent the breakdown of the electrical system.

How Long Do Surge Protectors Last?

Installing House Surge Protection

Although the longevity of a good surge protector largely depends on its quality and usage, it should last around 3-5 years. Needless to say, a low-quality surge protector will give out in a year, while one made of high-quality surge protection components may even last a lifetime. However, you must note that the average lifespan of surge protectors reduces with more frequent use.

Surge protectors protect your devices from harmful power surges and spikes. Typical surge protectors have a lifespan of 3-5 years, but many surge protectors can last longer with proper care. The lifespan of a surge protector depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the surge protector, the amount of power it is used to protect, and the environment in which it is used.

Surge protectors work by diverting excess power away from your devices. They do this by using surge components, which are designed to absorb and dissipate excess power. When a power surge or spike occurs, the surge components in the surge protector divert the excess power away from your devices and into the power supply. This helps to protect your devices from damage.

Over time, the surge components in a surge protector can wear out. This is why it is important to replace your surge protector every 3-5 years or sooner if you notice any damage or malfunction.

Here are some tips for extending the lifespan of your surge protector:

  • Choose a surge protector with a high joule rating. The joule rating is a measure of how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher joule rating will provide more protection for your devices.
  • Avoid overloading your surge protector. Overloading a surge protector can shorten its lifespan.
  • Place your surge protector in a cool, dry place. Extreme temperatures and humidity can damage surge protectors.

If you notice that your surge protector is not working properly, it is best to replace it immediately. A faulty surge protector can damage your devices.

Can You Measure The Lifespan?

You can measure the lifespan of a surge protector in joules. As such, a 500-joule surge suppressor may work well but is not efficient in protecting your devices from power surges of higher voltage. So, you must choose surge protectors according to the wattage of your devices.

For instance, if you get a surge protector with an 800-joule rating and it bears a power surge of 200 joules, you are left with 600 joules of protection. However, if an 800-joule surge hits the device, it must be replaced immediately.

You must consider the protective capabilities of the surge protector as well. The device’s protection usually lasts around 3-5 years, according to the amount of energy it tackles.

Although most surge protectors can work without protection, we do not recommend using them for long. If the surge protector is not rated for a high-voltage power surge, it is best to replace it as soon as the protection level of the surge protector wears out.

How To Check The Amount Of Joules Left In Your Surge Protector?

Electrician Checking Surge Protection Device

A surge protector cannot show you the number of joules left in the surge protection device. Some of them may be equipped with LED lights that stop working when the device runs out of joules. But the surge indicator light may or may not work correctly because the amount of joules left depends upon:

  • The number of electrical surges absorbed after installation
  • The number of joules it can absorb

How To Check The LED Indicators On Surge Protectors?

Although checking the LEDs is not foolproof, you can watch out for flickering lights. A damaged whole house surge protector will not give any warning in case of defects.

Note that a green LED indicates a fully functional new surge protector, while a red one means the protection has failed. Some surge protectors are also equipped with audio alarms, so pay attention to them.

Some power strips with surge protection may also have a damage alert mechanism. This is a “protected” warning light, or an alarm triggered if there is something wrong with the surge protection mechanism.

So, if your budget allows, we recommend investing in an expensive surge protector equipped with an audible alarm. You can also get a power conditioner for more electrical safety.

Also, if the surge-protecting power strip shows any issues, unplug all the connected equipment and check the voltage levels to be safer.

When Should You Change Your Surge Protector Immediately

  • If your area has construction going on
  • If there have been lightning strikes nearby
  • If your area experiences frequent surges

Switchboard Sparking Surge Protection

What Is The Difference Between A Power Spike And A Surge?

Any sudden voltage increase lasting for 1-2 nanoseconds is a power or voltage spike. But if it lasts three or more seconds, it is termed a power surge.

Some of the most common causes of a surge or power spikes are:

  • Lightning strike
  • High-power electronic gadgets (like refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.)
  • Downed power lines
  • Faulty wiring
  • Issues with the utility company’s equipment

Additional Tips For Choosing A Surge Protector

When choosing a surge protector, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you need to consider the type of devices you will be using. If you have sensitive electronics, such as computers or TVs, you will need a surge protector with a higher joule rating. Joule ratings measure how much energy a surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher joule rating will provide more protection for your devices.

You also need to consider the location of the surge protector. If you live in an area that is prone to power surges, you will need a surge protector with a higher joule rating. Power surges can be caused by a variety of things, such as lightning strikes, power outages, and even faulty electrical appliances.

Finally, you need to consider the price. Surge protectors can range in price from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. Choose a surge protector that fits your budget and your needs.

  • Look for a surge protector with a warranty. This will protect you in case the surge protector fails within the warranty period.
  • Choose a surge protector with a number of outlets. This will allow you to connect more devices to the surge protector.
  • Choose a surge protector with a built-in circuit breaker. This will help to protect your devices from power surges.
  • Look for a surge protector that is made with a metal oxide varistor (MOV). MOVs are devices that absorb extra voltage, which can help to protect your devices from power surges.
  • Choose a surge protector that has a long cord. This will give you more flexibility when placing the surge protector in your home.
  • If you have a lot of devices to protect, consider getting a surge protector with multiple outlets. This will allow you to connect all of your devices to the surge protector at once without having to use an extension cord or double adapter.

By following these tips, you can choose a surge protector that will protect your devices for years to come.

Surge Protectors: When To Replace Them

Finally, we recommend investing in a surge protector with a 1-year warranty to back your purchase from manufacturing defects. After that, check the surge protector user manual carefully to test it.

However, amateurs should not handle electrical devices; hence, we are here to help you out. Our team of reliable, licensed electricians in Sydney will help you replace your surge protectors and handle sensitive electronics. From reconnecting your power to installing surge protectors - our electricians in Sydney can do it all!

Dedicated to your safety, Bright Force Electrical is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, give us a call today!

FAQs About Surge Protection

Are all surge protectors designed to last the same amount of time?

No, not all surge protectors are made equal. The lifespan of a surge protector depends on several factors, including its quality, how many joules it can absorb, and its exposure to power surges. Premium surge protectors with higher joule ratings tend to last longer as they can handle more energy without failing.

How can I tell if my surge protector needs to be replaced?

Indicator lights on your surge protector can provide vital information about its status. Most surge protectors have a light that turns off or changes colour when the protector is no longer functioning correctly, likely due to repeated exposure to power surges. If this light changes or your electrical equipment starts behaving erratically, it’s a good sign that your surge protector needs to be replaced.

Can connecting too many devices to a surge protector shorten its lifespan?

Yes, connecting too many devices can potentially shorten the lifespan of a surge protector. Each device adds to the electrical load that the protector has to manage. If the combined energy demand of the devices exceeds the protector’s capacity, it can cause the protector to fail prematurely.

How many joules should a good surge protector have, and how does this affect its lifespan?

The number of joules a surge protector can handle is a measure of its energy-absorption capacity. Protectors with a higher joule rating can absorb more energy from power surges, which can extend their lifespan. A surge protector with a rating of at least 600 joules for protecting common household electronics is typically recommended. Consider a protector with a rating of 1,000 to 2,000 joules or more for more expensive or sensitive equipment.

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