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How to Tell When an Electric Surge Protector Is Overloaded
How to Tell When an Electric Surge Protector Is Overloaded
Apr 10,2024

How to Tell When an Electric Surge Protector Is Overloaded

An electric surge protectors is a vital guardian of our valuable electronics and appliances, protecting them from the harmful effects of electrical surges and spikes. However, even these protective devices can face challenges, particularly when overloaded.

In this brief article brought to you by Mr. Electric, we'll explore the benefits of electric surge protectors, reveal into their vulnerabilities, and provide insights on how to recognize when a surge protector is overloaded and troubleshoot effectively.

It’s always advisable to have a certified electrician investigate issues and concerns. Whether you need an initial surge protector installation or repairs and replacements, the uniformed professional at Mr. Electric are here to help.

What Are Electric Surge Protectors?

Electric surge protectors are devices designed to divert excess voltage from power surges away from connected electronics and appliances. They act as a barrier between your devices and sudden spikes in electrical current, effectively preventing damage to sensitive components like circuit boards and microprocessors. Surge protectors are available in two main types:

  • Whole-House Surge Protectors: Installed at the electrical panel, these protectors protect your entire home's electrical system from external surges due to lightning strikes or utility grid fluctuations.
  • Point-of-Use Surge Protectors: These are plug-in devices installed between your electronic devices/appliances and the electrical outlets. They offer localized protection and are commonly used for computers, TVs, and other sensitive equipment.

Why Install Electric Surge Protectors?

The primary benefit of surge protectors is safeguarding your electronics from voltage spikes which can occur due to lightning, power grid issues, or switching on/off high-powered appliances.

By preventing electrical damage, surge protectors help prolong the lifespan of your devices and appliances, providing a valuable peace of mind. This is especially valuable during storms or when using sensitive equipment that requires stable power.

Plus, your electronics and appliances represent a significant investment. Surge protectors provide an added layer of insurance that ensure your valuables remain safe during electrical disturbances.

Vulnerabilities of Electric Surge Protectors

Despite their benefits, surge protectors are not immune to limitations and vulnerabilities. One of the main vulnerabilities is overloading, which occurs when the surge protector is handling more electrical load than it can safely manage. Signs of an overloaded surge protector include:

  • Tripped Circuit Breaker: If the surge protector's circuit breaker trips frequently, it could mean that the connected devices are drawing too much power.
  • Hot or Warm to the Touch: An overloaded surge protector may struggle to dissipate excess heat generated by the electrical load and will feel hot or warm to the touch.
  • Intermittent Device Issues: Devices connected to an overloaded surge protector may experience intermittent issues such as flickering lights, unexpected shutdowns, or malfunctions.

Troubleshooting an Overloaded Surge Protector

If you suspect that your surge protector is overloaded, follow these steps to troubleshoot the issue:

  • Disconnect some devices from the surge protector to reduce the electrical load.
  • Consider replacing your surge protector with a higher-rated model that can handle a larger electrical load.
  • Check the surge protector for any visible damage such as frayed cords, melted plastic, or burnt smells. Replace damaged surge protectors promptly to avoid safety hazards.

If troubleshooting doesn't resolve the issue or if you frequently experience overloads, consult a licensed electrician by calling Mr. Electric. We are proud to offer emergency electrical repair service for homeowners and businesses alike.


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