Have you ever checked if your old surge protector is still working? If not, you should probably read this. For many years, we have connected our electronics to different kinds of power strips for convenient use. Some of them have the surge protection feature so you can rest assured knowing your devices are safe from sudden surges. But are these surge protectors, especially the old ones, really working?
Before that, we need to understand what a surge is. A surge is a spike in the voltage of your power, which is frequently caused by lightning strikes. If a nearby lightning strikes your home or power wires, you could see a surge of electricity like having a few large appliances running at the same time. If that left unattended, it could potentially damage some of your electronics. What a surge protector does is that when an incoming voltage is higher than the clamping voltage, it reroutes that voltage to the ground cable and away from all your sensitive electronics. But its protection limits on the joules it can handle. The higher the joules, the better a surge protector can handle. Once the joules are depleted the surge protector will no longer work.
Now one of the unfortunate things about surge protectors is that it's very difficult to know when your surge protector is bad. Although a lot of power strips do include surge protectors on them, not all of them have an indicator. And some of them have LED indicators to tell their working status. However, studies have shown that these indicators are not always accurate and they don't have a level showing how depleted the surge protector is. There is one product in the market that has more than one indicator on it. Each time it works, one of the indicators will shut off and when all the indicators are off, its protection ends. Basically how a surge protector works is in an ideal environment, the LED indicator on the surge protector would either change to red or turn off, indicating that this surge protector is no longer working. However, a lot of these LED lights don't operate accurately, sometimes a delay is inevitable.
This is why we need to constantly change our our surge protectors every three or four years, especially those connected with your most important devices, or those very sensitive and expensive electronics, whether the protected light is on or off and whether you've been hit by electricity or lighting. A definitely good idea is to just swap it out no matter what. It is very important to do that because if not you could lose a lot of really expensive electronics in just an instant.
In one word, if your power strip is confirmed to be a surge protector and has an indicator on it, just check the indicator regularly and change it every three or four years no matter what. In this way, your valued devices can be protected in case of any sudden surge.