Surge protection… What exactly is that? Do I need it? Or it just a way for companies to make more money on the sale by adding unnecessary equipment?

It’s all about the electricity that comes into your home. Here in Texas, that power can be questionable at times. Not to mention the lighting strikes.

What are surges? They come from the power company AND from lightning strikes. We’ve all heard of the horror stories of a house or the power pole in someone’s neighborhood getting hit by lightning. In the worst case a fire starts. But the real pain comes from things getting fried in the home like TV’s, projectors, stereo equipment, computers and so on. Sometimes they result in little gremlins making it difficult to find the problem because they are intermittent.

This is what surge protection is for. It is designed to protect the attached equipment from these hits. Some units will also protect your equipment from brownouts or drops in power. Without going into electrical theory, these surges are measured in joules. A joule is just a measurement of electricity like amps and volts.

In simple terms, the joule rating of a surge protector is how much extra energy it can absorb before it shuts off. This means the surge protection device has a limited life. They DO wear out. The simple and cheapest of the bunch will eventually wear out and stop protecting, but still work! This is bad because you don’t know when that will be. The better units will shut off completely when they have been exhausted letting you know it is time to replace them.

A few tips:

  • A cheap power strip with a button on it is not a surge protector. It just turns 1 outlet into many. The button is a circuit breaker and does not protect against shorts and overloads.
  • Better units will have a joule rating, generally the higher the better.
  • Try to get a couple more outlets than you need right now.

Give us a call at 832-510-4966 or email at and we would be happy to make some recommendations.