Big-ticket electronics, such as televisions, computers and gaming consoles, are at the top of many holiday wish lists. While safety may not be the first thing that comes to mind when shopping the holiday sales, purchasing, installing, and operating these items safely protects not only this expensive equipment, but also the entire home.
Surges are sudden and unwanted increases in voltage that can damage, degrade, or destroy the sensitive electronic equipment in your home. A surge protector is designed to protect your computer, television, and other valuable electronic equipment from power surges. The standard voltage in most outlets in U.S. homes is 120 volts. If the voltage rises above 120 volts, a surge protector helps prevent the increase from ruining your device and its components. Surge protectors are best paired with televisions, computers, stereos, and other electronics that have delicate circuitry.
Remember that while surge protectors protect equipment from surges, they do not protect from the potential hazards of an overloaded circuit. Make sure the electrical load does not exceed the capacity for the circuit.
Extension cords provide a convenient solution for delivering power right where it’s needed, but improper use can have tragic consequences. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about 3,300 home fires start from extension cords each year, killing and injuring more than 300 people. In addition, nearly 4,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for non-fire related extension cord injuries. Minimize the risks by taking simple safety precautions.
Although surge protectors and power strips both allow you to plug several devices in one location, it is important for consumers to understand that they are not interchangeable. A true surge protector includes internal components that divert or suppress the extra current from surges, protecting your valuable electronics from electrical spikes, while a power strip simply provides more outlets for a circuit.