Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Surge

Remember when you first heard about surge protectors? They are supposed to protect your electronics from bursts of power coming through the wiring. I'd bet everyone reading this has something plugged into one. It makes us feel like we are protecting our expensive toys: TV's, computers, stereos, etc.

While I understand the theory behind surge protectors, I must admit they seem kinda useless. I mean, have you ever had a surge? Come on, how common are surges? It's probably as rare as winning the lottery, and it's a conspiracy to get everyone to spend 10, 20, or even 100 dollars on an extra piece of equipment. It's a great upsell, the Circuit City salesperson's greatest dream.

Well, I have to say that I believe in surge protectors now. Yesterday there was a surge at my parents' house. Their electricity went out. Not unheard of, since the Triangle region was in the middle of a storm--rain and high winds. Their generator automatically kicked in, and moments later, POP...POP...POP...and the rancid stench of burning plastic and wire.

The TV, DVR, etc. downstairs were plugged into this surge protector:

It was sitting on the floor underneath the TV. Check out the floor:

(Yes, that is a burned-in X from the bottom of the surge protector.)

What's more, they pay the electric company extra each month for a "whole house" surge protector. Which, if you ask me, sounds like you shouldn't have to use the extra surge protectors at each outlet. So today, Progress Energy came out to check on the circuits, etc. Some things were unplugged, some were plugged into the couple spare surge protectors my parents had on hand, and some things, like the brand new front-loading washing machine, were plugged directly into the wall. When the power guy ran his test...POP...POP. No more washer. So much for the whole house protection! Good news is, if you pay for that "protection," if something gets ruined due to system failure, Progress Energy is liable and will reimburse you for it.

But what a hassle! The cause of the problem has yet to be determined. It could be a wiring thing, it could have to do with the generator, who knows. All I know is that I will plug everything important into a good, strong surge protector.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me want to run out right now and upgrade my surge protector. I have middle of the road one.....That is amazing how an "X" burned onto the floor.