Electric Safety & Reliability
Protect Your Sensitive Home Electronics
The way we use electricity is more sophisticated than ever. Today's electronics are more sensitive to power disturbances than ever before. This section will help you protect your home's sensitive electronic equipment from power disturbances.
Please select from the options below:
TIP: Always have a licensed electrician check your wiring. If you have any questions regarding protection devices contact us at 1-800-490-0075.
Protecting Your Computer
Any power disturbance can have an immediate or long-range effect on both the computer, the disk drive(s) and the data stored in them.
- Surge Suppressor
A surge suppressor protects computers from spikes and surges, which account for only 17 - 20 percent of all power disturbances. They WILL NOT PROTECT THE OTHER 80 PERCENT OF POWER DISTURBANCES which can cause long-term or immediate damage to a computer or data.
- Line Conditioner
A line conditioner is designed to regulate and condition incoming voltage to within the safe limits of a computer. A line conditioner will protect your equipment from most sags and surges, but it will not protect your equipment during an outage.
- Uninterruptible Power System (UPS)
A UPS uses an internal power source (batteries) to power connected equipment during outages or when the line voltage goes below or exceeds limits set in the unit. UPS's usually have between 5 and 15 minutes of battery power, which will let you "work-through" short outages or give you enough time to turn your system off in an orderly manner without damage to the equipment or data.
TIP: When purchasing a line conditioner or UPS, remember to buy a product that is UL-listed and capable of handling the electrical load of the connected equipment. Also, make sure that the unit provides surge and noise suppression. If it does not, you will also need to purchase a surge suppressor.
The tips below will help you select a surge suppressor that will help protect your equipment.
- A surge suppressor must protect your equipment from
every connection to the outside world. If you have cable
TV, the suppressor must protect incoming power as well
as the cable line.
- Most suppressors have limited energy handling capabilities for lightning and should be used in conjunction with a lightning arrester installed at your main power service entrance.
- A plug-in surge suppressor should be UL-listed and
have a number on it telling you how many volts it will
let through to your equipment before it begins to operate.
This number will be printed next to the UL label and
be listed in kV or volts (kV or kilo-volts is equal
to 1000 volts). Look for a number equal to or less than
.5kV or 500 volts for a plug-in device.
- Suppressors should also have electrical noise filtering.
Look for EMI/RFI filtering information usually shown
as a number. In general, the higher the number, the
better the suppression.
- After you have found a surge suppressor that meets your needs, you can further protect your equipment by plugging them into circuits that do not supply large electrical loads like refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners.
Types of Power Disturbances
Many times contact with a power line only lasts a fraction of a second and our relay system automatically restarts the flow of electricity. Today a split-second loss of power is sometimes just enough to upset sensitive digital equipment. That's what causes microwaves, electric clocks, and VCRs to blink from time to time.
- Symptom: Flashing/Blinking
- Cause: Lightning, accidents involving poles and lines, tree limbs falling across power lines, stormy weather.
- Protection: Built-in battery backup feature in the appliance will preserve clock, memory or programming.
Spikes are very fast-moving periods of high voltage. A spike can be caused by lightning, large electrical equipment switching off near your house, or appliances switching off. Spikes cause electricity to rush through your wiring and can cause damage to unprotected equipment.
- Symptom: Damage
- Cause: Lightning, Birds/animals on power lines, Normal operation of large-load home.
- Protection: Have a lightning arrester installed by a licensed electrical contractor. This will protect most major appliances that DO NOT have digital displays. Use surge suppressors or other power protection equipment to protect electronic equipment.
Sag and Surge
Sometimes you may notice that your lights get dim and then bright for short periods of time. This is caused by voltage sags and surges. Sags and surges can occur during storms, or when large electrical loads such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and dishwashers turn on (sag) and off (surge). Often these appliances affect one another because the wires connecting them are not large enough to carry the proper electric load. Sags and surges stress appliance motors and circuits, microchips and motors in sensitive equipment causing them to wear out sooner than expected.
- Symptom: Lights Dim / Get Bright
- Cause: Operation of major home appliances, faulty wiring.
- Protection: Call LIPA at 1-800-490-0075. If the problem isn't LIPA related, have an electrician check wiring and/or install surge protector for sags and surges
You cannot only hear electrical noise but see it whenever someone turns on an electric motor (such as a blow dryer) while you are watching TV. The static and white lines on your set are audible and visual displays of electrical noise. Other causes of noise can include fluorescent lights, motorized appliances, radio transmitters and loose electrical connections. Noise is seldom damaging to most equipment, but it can be very annoying.
- Symptom: Noise on Radio / TV
- Cause: Small appliance motors, loose electrical connections
- Protection: Use shielded cables for antenna connections. Do not use "noisy" equipment on the same circuit as the TV/radio. Have a licensed electrician check for loose connections. Purchase power protection devices with noise suppression. Contact LIPA at 1-800-490-0075.