Solving Surges

It doesn’t take much of a power surge to upset the delicate electronics in most of our devices. At worst, a power surge can fry their insides, and that alone should motivate you to have everything connected to an outlet through a surge protector. While even they are not immune to surges, you can reset them in many instances.

In very non-technical terms, the surge shows up in much the same way a tripped electrical circuit shows up: something doesn’t work because it’s not getting any juice. Generally speaking, you can go to the electrical panel in your home or small office building and find a circuit switch that’s positioned halfway between “off” and “on”. You can reset the circuit switch by pushing it fully to “off” and then back to “on”. Tripping the circuit is a built-in protection.

Similarly, the surge protector takes the hit for any devices plugged into it. Again, in non-technical terms, the resistors in your surge protector sop up the extra energy, and you need to release it. You can follow these steps to verify a surge protector issue and restore the flow of power to your devices.

  • Plug something – a small lamp usually works best – into the wall outlet to make sure power is flowing to it. If there’s no power, check the circuit breaker, if you can, and reset it if it tripped.
  • Plug that same thing, which you know is working, into the surge protector. If it doesn’t work…
  • Unplug the surge protector from the wall outlet and unplug everything connected to it.
  • Wait 30 seconds. This will allow the resistors to drain.
  • Plug everything back in.

This process usually solves the problem. If it doesn’t, there could be a problem with the surge protector or the device. You’ll need to go back to the source – the most basic connection – to resolve the situation. One of our clients had a number of devices, including the transformer that brings the internet into his home and his router, plugged into a surge protector, which in turn, was plugged into a battery-backup power supply – with a built-in surge protector. After going through the procedure, he determined the problem was with one of the plugs in the battery backup unit. He was able to restore everything to operation, though he may need to replace his battery backup.

Battery backup units with surge protectors can range from $50 to $150 – give or take a few bucks – depending on the number of outlets they have and whether they have USB and coaxial cable ports. Surge protectors can be had for $35 and up, and nearly all have multiple plugs. You can also find single-outlet surge protectors which are ideal for plugging in at Starbucks or your hotel room – whenever you’ll have either option.

Contact us by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email to discuss the best protective systems for your needs.