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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • On Computers: It’s time to look at whole-house surge protection

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  • The average American home has something like $7,000 worth of electronics gear, or more. Add it up: computers, networking gear, HDTVs, music systems, DVD players, plus at any time, tablet and cellphone recharging.
    And then there’s the appliances, the sitting ducks for problems in the kitchen. The sky is the limit there.
    All this hardware faces big threats when hooked to the electrical mains. Lightning power spikes can take out everything in a flash. Or sudden power failures for any reason can knock years off a device’s lifetime.
    So what to do? Buy an armload of $25 surge protectors and make sure the little green lights are blinking?
    This newfound household conundrum is being addressed by the major providers of electrical controls. Siemens, the German company, has rolled out a whole-house surge protector. It’s one box instead of many, and it handles everything attached to your power lines.
    This makes sense, if only for the removal of worry with every lightning storm. No more rushing around shutting down systems and pulling plugs.
    The Siemens protector replaces two circuit breakers on your electrical load box in your basement. Attach its wire to the box ground fault, and you have it.
    You do not lose two breakers. The device has two single-pole breakers on its face to replace the ones you removed.
    The hardware for all this costs $120 including LED lights to monitor the quality of the circuits. Its warranty covers $20,000 in surge damages and includes appliances on separate circuits.
    Unless you have electrical skills, opt for a professional installation to remove the two old breakers and plug in the box. Electrical is no place for amateurs.
    Prices for these devices are all over the planet, ranging to $500 or more. Be aware of this when talking gear with a professional.
    While you’re at it, if you have an expensive wired phone system, consider adding a phone-line protector. These run about $60. Lightning surges can follow any wires into your house. (Your cable TV already should be grounded.)
    The Internet offers a lot of advice on how far to take surge protection. It’s best to approach the problem knowing solutions in advance and then price them in the market.Jim Hillibish writes for the Canton (Ohio) Repository. Contact him at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.
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