Most people are aware that electrical surges can damage their electronics, so most people have surge protectors for their computer equipment. The problem is that a lot of people think a surge protector is all the protection they need. But these people aren’t aware that surges are simply one type of power problem, and in fact, are less common than other types of problems. While a toaster or simple electrical appliances won’t really suffer any consequences from common power problems, computers are much more complicated pieces of equipment and need more complete power protection.
Think of it this way – electrical power is the fuel for your computer just like gas is the fuel for your car. If your car is receiving poor quality fuel, it will not operate well. Really bad fuel can cause a car major problems. The same is true with comptuers. Poor quality electrical power can cause all sorts of malfunctions with your computer. Severe power problems can damage your computer. The reality is that most electrical power is not of a very good quality for computers.
A simple surge protector is not enough. Surge protectors do not protect against under-voltages, over-voltages, electrical noise, and other electrical disturbances. In order to get full protection for your computer equipment, you need a good quality uninterruptible power supply, UPS for short, or commonly called battery backups (not to be confused with a “data backup”). See my previous article about power protection for more information.
Many people also aren’t aware that electrical surges can also travel along phone, cable, or network lines. If you have Internet service though a modem or DSL, you should surge protect the phone line coming into your computer or DSL modem. If you have cable Internet service, you should surge protect the coaxial cable connected to your cable modem. Businesses can also protect the Ethernet lines that network their computers. Many UPS units include data line protectors, so this is a convenient way to make sure all aspects of your computer are protected from power events.
Finally, many people now have digital video recorders (DVRs) such as Tivo or devices like the Apple TV in their home theater systems. Products like these are basically computers, complete with hard drives susceptible to the same type of power problems as PC’s. I recommend UPS units for home theaters as well, in order to protect these newer computerized devices. They can also protect the coaxial lines that supply home theater with cable or satellite service.
If you are unsure about the status of your power protection for your computer or home theater, please let me know and I’ll be happy to help you ensure you are protected.