You’ll never again have to worry about your appliances due to vulnerability to a power surge. There is a small piece of gadget you’ll need to save your equipment. It helps make your electronic devices look new and save as you don’t have to take them for repair often. However, it seems small but could rescue electronics from a voltage spike.

The danger caused by voltage spikes is enormous regarding appliances people buy and use daily. It doesn’t matter whether your device is brand new or old.

You can become a victim at any time. You won’t want to skip any part of this article because it is tailored toward what is a surge protector and how it works. The standard voltage in the United States is 120 volts, so if the voltage is more means havoc.

A surge protector is an appliance that can protect electronic devices from power surges. When a power surge occurs, it can damage sensitive equipment and cause a lot of inconveniences. The surge protector prevents this by blocking the excess voltage. So, what exactly do Power surges mean, and how does it function on appliances?

What Is A Power Surge?

The sudden force that comes forward or in an upward manner in such a powerful way as the tide can be called a surge. Furthermore, in electrical engineering, it is called voltage spike and spike—electrical transients in voltage of current or transferred power in an electrical circuit.

Power surges can cause many issues with an appliance. The first thing you should do is cut off power to the appliance and unplug it. Before plugging it in again, you should clean any dust and debris from the plug, outlet, and power cord. If the problem persists, your appliance may need repair or replacement.

At any time a sudden or unexpected surge occurs in electrical power, the result is a crash in the PC. The disturbance on the power waveform causes damage or destruction to electronic equipment.

The causes of power surges could be more than one. When there is an electrical overload, you’ll get a surge. The causes of power surge:

  • Lighting
  • Faulty wiring
  • Partial contacts
  • During energy restoration, after a few periods of an outage of power could trigger a surge.

What Is a Surge Protector

It protects against these power surges, which are sudden increases in voltage. Lightning strikes or other natural disasters usually cause it. The device’s primary function is to divert excess voltage from the protected circuit. It protects your expensive appliances from the damage of surges and current spikes.

The surge protector can protect from that power surges. It pulls current from an outlet and passes it on via gadgets plugged into a surge protector. A surge protector has two main functions.

  1. It provides many plugging that puts all your appliances in one power outlet.
  2. It protects devices like Television sets and personal computers from the high voltage of power surges.

A power surge, as mentioned earlier, is a high voltage or spike above the stipulated level of the flow of electricity. A good surge protector has a life span of three to five years, depending on the strength of the surge. Hence, advisable to replace your surge protector after two years. These devices depreciate when hit by spikes. Literarily, multi joules received reduces the strength of your surge protector.

How Does A Surge Protector Work?

The surge protector passes current from an outlet to several devices plugged into its power strip. The surge protector would redirect extra energy into an outlet grounding wire. The grounding makes the route for electrical current to pass during a breakdown in the system of hot and neutral wires that usually conveys the current.

To get the leading causes of the surge, let us dive into how voltage works. The electric current goes from one point to another due to a higher electric potential energy presence on one end of the wire. Hence, let’s relate voltage as the measure of electrical pressure.

Here are factors that cause a sudden increase in voltage, namely:
A rise in the last three nanoseconds is a surge in the billionths of a second.
It is a spike for just one or two nanoseconds.

The result would be an adverse effect. If the surge or spike increases, then it results in damage to equipment. In most cases, the voltage would not do instant damage but put an extra strain on components, making them wear out gradually. A surge protector can prevent such scenarios.

Does a surge protector work? Yes. It secures your electronic devices from power surges and other strikes.

Types of Surge Protector

There are two types of surge protection devices (SPD): surge arresters and surge protectors.

Surge Arresters VS Surge Protectors:

The purpose of surge protectors and surge arresters is the same: to protect equipment from surges. People are often confused about how they are used. Many of these problems occur in industrial facilities, water treatment plants, and other vital areas.

Surge arresters common examples are condenser or capacitor surge absorbers. It is usually installed in the substation. It prevents the equipment from being damaged by lightning strikes and switching overvoltage. The three classes of surge arresters are station, intermediate, and distribution-class.

What does SPD mean in electrical terms?

The SPD is referred to as a surge protection device or a surge arrester. It is a secondary surge arrester or a transient voltage surge suppression device (TVSS). The SPD reduces the risk of electrical equipment. A voltage impulse (transients) deflects or limits the current. Literarily, providing the least resistance to ground for the current to travel.

Types of Surge Protection Device

Type 1 SPD: This SPD aims to protect insulation levels from outmost surges from lightning. It is usually installed between the secondary side of the utility transformer and the line side of the overcurrent protective device. Direct lightning strokes are prevented by it.

Type 2 SPD: It is common to install a type two SPD on the load side of the primary service equipment overcurrent protective device. The device is usually installed at the service entrance. SPDs of this type prevent overvoltage from reaching the installations and damaging the system.

Type 3 SPD: SPDs of this type are installed after the main breaker and serve as a complement to the SPDs of type 2.

Composites inside Surge Protective Devices

The thyristor is a crowbar device. It serves as a surge protector based on two interconnected bipolar transistors.

Transient voltage suppressors provide breakdown protection with forwarding bias and reverse bias conductivity—the intertwined bipolar transistors created by a four-layer stack of n and p regions.

The MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) has zinc oxide grains in a matrix of other oxides. It acts as a resistor under high voltages.

Polymer ESD devices have very high turn-on voltages, often more than 200 Volts. They turn on quickly, limiting exposure to high voltage.

The gas discharge tubes have ceramic bodies filled with gas mixtures. It comprises neon, argon, and electrodes. Gas discharge tubes allow them to turn higher currents into low currents.

Fuses secure the device against the higher current.

Why You May Need a Surge Protector At Home

The information technology era warrants extensive usage of surge protectors at home. The latest appliances and gadgets are very sophisticated and sensitive. Today’s devices have all-in-one-functionality and multi-task, making them vulnerable when used. Protecting the devices from surges and spikes is essential.

Your investments in surge protectors make your refrigerators, dishwashers, and more safe.


If you read till this stage, you’d know the little the device is worth than you thought. The work it does is far more excellent than imagined. Maybe you have one, or you’re thinking of getting one for yourself now. Remember, a good surge protector has a life span of three to five years, depending on the strength of the surge. Replace them after two years because of the reduction in strength.

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