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by Phil Ball

Q. My neighbor was telling me that I need some sort of protection for my electronics during the summer monsoon season but I’m not clear about what I need to do. Suggestions?

A. One of the biggest dangers to our electronics during thunder and lightning season is from power surges caused by nearby lightning strikes. The typical symptom is that the device worked okay before the storm but now is inoperative. The common cause it that a power surge fried their circuits which are not designed for such a heavy power load.

The best way to protect our electronics from such power surges is to simply disconnect them. Electrical surges cannot reach our electronics if there is no physical connection to power sources, so unplug them. Don’t forget to also disconnect phone lines and cable connections because the power surge that caused many fried electronics came in through the phone line. This advice applies to computers and any modern appliance that uses a circuit board. So unplug your television, stereo, and maybe even your other appliances as well as your computer.

Of course, you cannot always be home to unplug things so it makes good sense to run the power and communication lines through a surge protecting power strip which will absorb the power surge. Be careful because not all power strips are surge protectors so read the packaging carefully. If it does not offer some insurance or guarantee of protection, it is merely a simple power strip and offers no surge protection.

Published: Courier 7/10/11 - Page 5C