You’ve probably always thought a power surge only happens during lightning strikes, when in reality, 60 to 80% of power surges happen from sources right inside your home or office. This is a huge threat to your electrical devices that you may not even be aware of. But what exactly are power surges and how can we protect our tech from harm?
What is a power surge?
A power surge is a drastic increase above the normal flow of electricity, which can range anywhere from 0 to 120 volts. When the voltage is above 120, this is where issues happen. It is important to note that if the voltage exceeds this amount for just 1 or 2 nanoseconds, it is not a power surge, but a power spike. A power surge is an increase of above 120 volts for 3 or more nanoseconds. * Insert GIF of nerdy kid pushing up their glasses here. * However, although these voltage hikes are quick, they can be quite dangerous; causing damage to outlets, devices, appliances, and even fires. Don’t be fooled, just because a power surge doesn’t destroy your electronics initially, it can put extra wear and tear on them, leading to long-term damage.
Why do power surges occur?
Lightning strikes aren’t the only cause of power surges and aren’t even the most common reason behind them. More often, large electrical devices (think refrigerators, HVAC systems, printers) are the cause of power surges because they constantly demand so much energy.
Enter Surge Protection
Now you might think you need a surge protector for every electronic in your home; this isn’t the case. It depends on what sort of device you have. The types of electronics that require a surge protector are those that should be using one all the time. These are devices that are larger and more important like computers and televisions. Your $20 Amazon lamp will be just fine directly plugged in to a wall outlet. Basically, make sure any device you don’t want damaged in the event of a power surge is protected, like a brand-new Mac monitor
When a surge protector is used, it diverts extra voltage from a surge or spike into the outlet’s grounding wire. If a surge event does happen, a fuse inside the surge protector goes “poof”. While it is part of the process that protects your device, it then needs to be replaced for the next surge event. This means you’ll need to replace the entire surge protector. Additionally, surge protection wears out over time. Surge protectors have a maximum amount of energy they can dissipate, commonly known as a joule rating. Whether it’s one major surge event or many minor surges, each surge decreases the remaining joule capacity of the surge protector. That is why tech experts recommend replacing surge protectors every 2-3 years, even though the outlets may still function.
So far when it comes to "replacing" a surge protector, there's only one way to do it — throw it all out and buy a new one. It seems uber wasteful, so we don't throw it out. We keep using the unprotected product or add it to our ever-growing collection of outdated and broken cords. On the other hand, when we replace it, we contribute to the 50 million tons of e-waste Americans produce each year.
Why throw away an entire product when you only need to swap out a single piece?
This is where SurgeSwap® steps in. A first-of-its-kind, ETL listed, surge solution that gives you the protection you need with the simplicity and sustainability you desire. Its cutting-edge surge protection for any commercial-grade corded accessory not only outlasts all others on the market, but also allows you to replace a single cartridge rather than sending an entire product to the landfill.
How it works
When the indicator light turns red, it means there’s no longer any surge protection left in your cartridge. Because the length of protection can and does vary, we recommend replacing your surge cartridge every 2-3 years – before the light becomes red – to ensure that all your equipment remains protected.
Simply replace the cartridge by first unplugging the cord from the wall, then removing the old cartridge and inserting the new one. The indicator light will turn green and your items shall be protected once again.
Interested in learning more?
To learn more about Byrne’s SurgeSwap® Surge Protection Plug Head, check out this video featuring a few of Byrne’s tech nerds.