Is your Home ready?

Ordinary power strips don’t provide adequate protection. You need a true surge suppressor, which looks very much like a power strip but provides much greater protection. Suppressors can cost from $20 to $150; the best ones can handle high voltage surges and react instantly, an important factor considering that many power surges last just fractions of a second.

To make sure you’re getting the right kind of protection, look for the underwriters Laboratories 1449 rating on a surge suppressor; this is the “gold standard.” Also, make sure your suppressor has an internal fuse to cut the circuit in the event of a longer surge. Buy a suppressor with a good warranty that obligates the manufacturer to reimburse you for the costs of repairing damage or replacing equipment if the suppressor fails. You may also want to consider a suppressor equipped with special features to protect modems, faxes or coaxial cables, since these are common points of entry for power surges. Surge protection devices need a path to ground to work properly. The home must have a grounding point for the surge suppressor to send the overvoltage. The National Electric Code (NEC), article 800 states:

"All power, cable and telephone grounds MUST be bonded to the same grounding electrode system entering a building. This prevents potential ground voltage differences that may be seen across data, power, and telephone lines connected to sensitive electronics."

If you have multiple ground points, these will have to be brought to NEC standards prior to the installation of the surge protection equipment. Improper ground bonding may result in the voiding of applicable warranties.

Three-prong to two-prong adapters must not be used with any surge protection equipment.