Like most people, you probably haven’t stopped and really thought about exactly how many devices you have in your home that are plugged into a power outlet. So do it now. Go ahead. I’ll wait….
Now, think about how many of your devices have some sort of electronic or digital component inside them. It’s probably more than you realize. The obvious ones are TVs, video game consoles, Blu-ray and DVD players, audio and home theater equipment, satellite receivers, alarm systems, and computer equipment (including routers, modems, and printers). But there are plenty of additional devices in your home that you may not realize have at least one electronic control board inside — such as your air conditioner, washer and dryer, garage door openers, security cameras, and nearly everything in your kitchen from the oven, to the stove, to the fridge, to the microwave, and maybe even your toaster!
And one thing that all these electronic devices have in common is that they hate power surges.
I’d wager that you’re probably already aware of the importance of surge protection for electronic devices… and you may even have a few devices plugged in to surge protectors throughout your house. You probably also believe that if you experience a nearby lightning strike, or some other type of power surge, your “expensive” stuff is fully protected. Unfortunately, it probably isn’t. And there’s probably only a handful of homeowners out there with everything protected. That’s why a whole-house surge protector is a crucial element of a comprehensive power protection strategy.
There are several different types of whole home surge protectors. I’ll cover the three most common here:
- Type 1 Surge Protection Devices
A Type 1 SPD protects against external power surges, such as those caused by lightning or when your power company switches capacitor banks on your power grid. Type 1 SPDs are installed on the “line side” of your main service entrance, between the utility pole and your power meter, right where power comes into your house.
- Type 2 Surge Protection Devices
A Type 2 SPD is installed at your “branch panel” (more commonly referred to as your breaker panel). It’s called your branch panel because it “branches” the power coming from your service panel out to all the circuits in your house. A Type 2 SPD (sometimes called a “panel protector”) wires directly to a dual-pole breaker in your panel, and can protect all the circuits in that panel, as well as any sub-panels that might be connected “downstream.”
- Type 3 Surge Protection Devices
A Type 3 SPD is the one you’re probably already familiar with, such as a surge strip or battery backup unit with surge protection. Type 3s are used at the “point of use,” meaning you plug the device(s) you want to protect directly into an outlet on the Type 3 surge protector, then plug the surge protector into a standard power outlet. Most people use Type 3 devices as their first and only protection for your devices against power surges, but (as their name suggests) they’re actually designed to be the third and final chance to protect your device against a power surge… before your device takes the hit.
Your investment in electronics (and appliances with electronics) in use in your home is probably greater than you realize. For a few hundred dollars (which includes installation by an electrician), you can protect those devices against power surges, which are far more common that you think.