Do you know how to ensure power outage protection for computers? Do you unplug your devices during a storm? Do you know the best way to secure your tech against electrical anomalies?
If you answered no to any of these questions, this article is a must-read. In fact, the following tips and tricks could save your computer from total ruin.
First, let’s take a look at the power anomalies that could cause serious damage to your computers and electronic devices.
Potentially damaging electrical anomalies
The electrical currents running through your home are not constant. Instead, they are always ebbing and flowing, increasing and decreasing.
This wouldn’t be the case in an ideal world. Why? Because changes in electrical current can have seriously undesirable effects on your technology.
Here is a quick overview of the most common potentially damaging electrical anomalies to watch out for.
We’ve all experienced blackouts – when the power shuts off completely. Blackouts are usually caused by issues you cannot control: electrical storms, damaged or faulty electrical lines, and power station disruptions, for example.
Ever noticed your lights dimming for no particular reason? This could have been caused by what’s known as a brownout, when your electrical voltage temporarily drops without fully shutting off.
Power surges happen when an appliance or electronic device receives more electricity than intended for a minimum of three nanoseconds. Surges are caused by short circuits, line malfunctions, and other electrical issues.
If an appliance receives more than the intended voltage for less than three nanoseconds, the anomaly is called a power spike. Spikes are most commonly caused by lightning strikes, and cannot be avoided.
Why is power surge and outage protection for computers necessary?
The short answer: because power outages and surges can seriously damage your computer. Outages and surges have different effects on your computer, so let’s have a look at each separately.
How power outages can damage your computer
The main danger of power outages is sudden computer shutdown.
When a computer is shutdown properly, it goes through a ‘shutdown sequence’. This process ensures all open applications are correctly closed before the computer powers off. In the event of a blackout, your computer is unable to perform these critical terminations before shutting down.
What’s more, if your computer’s hard drive is in the middle of writing data when the power shuts off, that file will be corrupted.
How power surges can damage your computer
Power surges are more likely to cause irreversible damage to your computer than blackouts.
When it comes to power surges, lightning strikes are the most deadly. While most homes have electrical lines that deliver about 120 volts, a lightning strike can deliver over one million volts. To put that in perspective, imagine trying to fit the tremendous downpour of a waterfall through a plastic straw.
Our electronics are not built to withstand such an influx of electricity. Accordingly, devices that suffer a lightning-induced surge or spike are fried beyond repair.
How to protect your computer against power outages and surges
The most effective way to protect against power outages and surges is to physically unplug your device during electrical storms. Flicking the power point switch isn’t good enough – you need to pull the plug out of the wall. This is the only method that provides 100 per cent protection.
If, for some reason, you are not able to unplug your device during dangerous weather, there are two semi-effective ways of protecting your computer:
- Surge protectors. These devices – which look like a bulky power board – will attempt to divert excess voltages away from connected devices. Keep in mind that, once a surge protector is hit with an influx of electricity, it’ll need to be replaced.
- Uninterruptible power supplies. These devices contain a backup battery that will deliver power to your devices in the event of a blackout. The power supply only lasts a couple of minutes, giving you enough time to do a proper shutdown.
Before we finish up, it’s worth mentioning one last precaution: backing up your files. Sometimes, power surges are unavoidable. And if you’re not home or asleep, you might not be able to unplug your device. If you have a sound backup strategy in place, at least your files and photos will not be lost.
Need professional tech help?
Do you want professional advice on purchasing a surge protector? Maybe your computer has been damaged by a power surge? We can deliver a tech solution to meet your unique needs. Get in contact with our friendly team on 1300 553 166 or fill out the form on this page and we’ll get back to you soon.