For Summer Storms, Surge Protectors Safeguard HD

Fierce lightning and thunderstorms, tornadoes, heat waves and drought that test municipal power grids, torrential rains and flooding … welcome to the summer of 2007 in North America.

Such conditions can result in periodic power outages and subsequent surges, which can have a very adverse effect on HD media centers and other expensive electronics without proper power surge protection. Even a home air conditioning compressor periodically switching on can upset the flow of electricity in a dwelling, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Trib offers these tips for HD consumers shopping for surge protection:

  • A voltage surge lasts at least 3 ns, and spikes up to 2 ns. Get a surge protector with a response time of less than 1 ns to minimize damage.
  • Check energy absorption abilities. Don’t settle for less than 750 joules, and preferably look for 1,000 or more.
  • High voltage can also enter a dwelling through cable lines. If your HD set is connected to a cable box, the box and incoming cable line should also be protected. A surge protector should come with cable inputs/outputs.
  • Most surge protectors use metal oxide varistors to eliminate unusually high voltages. Some burn out after one incident. Look for a surge protector with an indicator light that shows whether the protective mode remains active.
  • Check if the manufacturer offers a connected-equipment warranty that replaces any equipment damaged, despite being connected to the surge protector.
  • Avoid using a surge protector that could diminish HD video and audio quality. Some models can sometimes adversely affect performance.