The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited

Types of Surge Protection

Surge Protector / Surge Suppressor 

A surge protector is the most basic protective device which is required by all electronic equipment. The most important thing to know is that a power strip is not a surge protector

Customers oftentimes do not know the difference. Many power strips are simply glorified extension cords without any protection. But you can tell whether a strip provides surge protection with just a few seconds of examination. When shopping for a surge protector at a store, be sure to look for the words “surge protective device” or (SPD) in the UL listing” or at least “protection” or “suppression.” You’ll often see power strips and surge protectors near each other in the store, and they can look similar at a glance. The power strips (look for temporary power tap or line tap in the UL listing) will be cheaper but read the fine print: Anything that just says “power strip” isn’t a surge protector.

Surge protectors are often rated in the amount of Joules of energy they can absorb, so you’re likely to see this information clearly advertised on the surge protector.

When you’re looking at ratings, a surge protector rated at 1000-2000 Joules is typically good enough for smaller electronics. If you’re protecting multiple large components on a single surge protector, look for an even higher rating. A general rule is the more, the larger, or the more expensive the appliances, the higher the rating required. Models listed to UL’s 1449 rating at 330V in 3 modes with surge protection indicators are recommended

Constant Voltage Stabilizer (Voltage Regulator)  

This device regulates the output voltage to near-constant value for a wide input voltage swing. It is useful in environments which are subjected to frequent voltage fluctuations such as cycling motor loads, etc. Some models include filtering and surge suppressors and are known as power conditioners.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) 

This device will maintain supply to the load for a while in the event of an outage by using back up battery power. It is the appropriate choice when a power interruption can result in loss of critical data and can be used to maintain power long enough for a back-up generator to start or for systems to be shut down in an orderly manner. Most (but not all) UPS have built-in surge suppression and power conditioning to protect themselves. A UPS that does not have built-in surge suppression features should be protected with a separate surge protective device.

Whole House Protection

A good whole-house surge protection device at the mains does essentially the same thing as a surge protector and works best in conjunction with surge protectors at the electrical outlets within the home. It allows in only the smallest of spikes and protects your devices from any damage that can occur from surges generated outside the house.

Whole-house surge protective devices (SPDs) are typically wired to the electric service box and located nearby to protect all the appliances and electrical systems in a home. This should only be installed by a competent electrician.

Inspection of Electrical Installation 

It is also advisable to have a certified electrician inspect your electrical installation every three-five years to ensure that your wiring, grounding and the condition of your meter socket base is up to standard. Issues with your electrical installation could also result in safety issues and cause major damage to your electrical appliances.  



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