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How to Protect Electronic Equipment from Power Surges

on Jun 25, 2014 9:17 AM

How to Protect Electronic Equipment from Power SurgesA lightning strike, a downed power line, even normal utility switching operations … all can result in power surges that spell trouble for computers, credit card readers, cash registers, fax machines, copiers, and heating/air conditioning systems.

In fact, some 50% of electronic equipment failures today are the result of electrical surges, according to Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, a leading specialty insurer and authority of equipment breakdown.

To protect your electronic equipment, follow these suggestions:

  • Use a surge protection device (SPD) that is properly sized and grounded for the particular equipment.

  • Install SPDs as close to the protected equipment as possible.

  • Be sure that cable between the equipment and the SPD is short and straight to minimize the resistive path of the circuit to ground.

  • Avoid using extension cords.

  • Ask a licensed electrician to evaluate your business. An electrician can:

    • Evaluate your business’ grounding for NEC compliance;

    • Check outlets for proper polarity and an equipment ground conductor impedance;

    • Determine if the grounding system is robust enough to fulfill the function of the SPD — i.e., proper wire size and tightness of connection;

    • Determine specific corrective action required to bring the grounding network to both NEC compliance and to the level of performance to address transients and electrical noise.

Although surges and electrical noise can’t be totally eliminated, you can reduce the damage and prolong the life of electrical equipment and systems.

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