What Do You Need to Know Before Buying a Surge Protection Device?


Surge Protective Devices (SPD) are used to protect the electrical installation, which includes the consumer unit, wiring, and accessories, against transient over-voltages (electrical power surges). Transient over-voltages can cause harm to equipment with sensitive electronic circuitry. The impacts of a surge can cause either immediate failure or long-term harm to equipment. According to market database, SPDs are used to protect sensitive electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, washing machines, and safety circuits such as fire detection systems and emergency lighting that are connected to the installation.

Market analysis shows there are two types of power surges: internal and external power surges. Internal power surges account for the bulk of household power spikes. Internal power surges happen dozens of times every day and go unnoticed most of the time. When motors start or stop, electricity is diverted to and from appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators. External power surges result from an event that occurs outside of the home. An external power surge can be caused by a damaged power line, a lightning strike on utility equipment, or a blown transformer. Electronic gadgets can be harmed by both internal and external power surges. A severe voltage fluctuation has the potential to destroy anything with a microprocessor. A minor voltage surge will not cause the item to fry or even create noticeable damage, but it can produce electronic corrosion.

Surge Protection

A transient surge protector tries to keep the voltage supplied to an electric equipment below a safe level by blocking or shorting current. Blocking is accomplished through the use of inductors, which prevent an abrupt change in current. Shorting is done via spark gaps, discharge tubes, Zener-type semiconductors, and metal-oxide varistors (MOVs), all of which begin to conduct current when a particular voltage threshold is reached, or through the use of capacitors, which prevent an abrupt shift in voltage. According to market database, market analysis shows some surge protectors use multiple elements.

Market analysis tools show surge protectors for homes can be found in power strips or as a device at the power panel outside. In a modern home, sockets include three wires: line, neutral, and ground. Because there are times when both line and neutral have high voltage spikes that need to be shorted to ground, many protectors will connect to all three in pairs (line–neutral, line–ground, and neutral–ground). Basic surge protection is integrated into many power strips, and these are usually prominently labelled as such. However, there are power strips labelled as “surge” or “spike” protectors in deregulated nations that just feature a capacitor or RFI circuit (or nothing) and do not provide proper (or any) spike protection.

Surge Protection Regulations in the UK

Business intelligence tools used to perform market analysis shows, surge protection devices (SPD) are necessary by the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations and are critical in protecting electronics in the United Kingdom. Electrical gadgets and equipment are important to everyday living and convenience in virtually every structure in the UK, regardless of usage. Market analysis tools shows in successive editions of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Wiring Regulations (BS 7671), the guidance on surge protection devices (SPD) has been modified. The current 18th Edition was published in July 2018 and went into effect in January 2019. According to market database, surge protection is required for any commercial, industrial, or public building that is supplied by overhead lines. The need for SPD is determined by the use and occupancy levels of residential structures. A risk assessment is carried out for non-residential properties that do not fall into these categories, a process that has been streamlined in the 18th edition and is outlined in section 443.4 of the IET Wiring Regulations. Hence, market analysis suggest surge protection must be installed if this risk evaluation is not performed.

Types of Surge Protection

Business intelligence tools shows, Type 1 SPD, Type 2 SPD, and Type 3 SPD are the three types of surge protection devices. In the case of service-sector and industrial buildings that are protected by a lightning protection system or a meshed cage, the Type 1 SPD is recommended. It shields electrical equipment from direct lightning strikes. It has the ability to discharge the back-current caused by lightning that spreads from the ground conductor to the network conductors. A 10/350 µs current wave characterizes Type 1 SPD. For all low voltage electrical installations, the Type 2 SPD is the primary protection mechanism. It is installed in each electrical switchboard and safeguards the loads by preventing the spread of over-voltages in the electrical systems. A current wave of 8/20 µs characterizes Type 2 SPD. The discharge capacity of Type 3 SPD is minimal. As a result, they are implemented as a supplement to Type 2 SPD and in close proximity to sensitive loads. A mixture of voltage waves (1.2/50 μs) and current waves (8/20 μs) characterize Type 3 SPD.

Business intelligence tools shows, whole-house surge protectors, surge protector strips, and wall-mount surge protectors are among the several types of surge protectors. A battery backup is available in some models, ensuring an uninterruptible power source. To redirect excessive voltages, most surge protectors use a Metal Oxide Varistor, or MOV. Because MOVs are resistant to low-voltage current, they will not conduct electricity during normal operation, allowing the current to pass directly to the attached device. The surge protector transfers excess electricity to the ground socket during a power surge or spike. When a MOV detects a high voltage, it instantly reduces resistance to direct current away from linked devices. MOVs are worn out by electrical surges, hence a MOV surge protector will lose its ability to protect over time.