Protecting Your Computer From Power Surges

by Barbara J. Feldman on March 27, 2008

Think about what you keep on your computer. If you’re like most people, you have a number of sensitive or important documents, records, and financial information. Or, you have your collection of family photos or your school work. Chances are, if your computer were to be harmed, you would miss a lot of important things.

One of the ways these important files and information can be erased is through a power surge. Power surges can fry the insides of your computer, erasing everything. That is why it’s so important to protect your computer from power surges.

What is a power surge?

A power surge is a sudden surge, or increase, in voltage. There are a number of causes of power surges, and they all range in severity. Oftentimes, they are caused by lightning hitting a cable or power line, and can also be caused by other inclement weather or storms, or by accidents that involve power lines or utilities.

Power surges are more commonly caused when starting any equipment around the home that is run by motor. This can include the refrigerator, air conditioner, and so forth.

How can a power surge harm my computer?

All power surges cause a little damage to your appliances or electronics. Most of the time, you won’t even notice. However, they shorten the life of your electronics with each power surge.

More severe power surges, such as those caused by lighting storms and very high increases in voltage, can blow out your electronics completely. This includes your computer. A computer’s microprocessor is very fragile and needs to be protected from power surges, or else it could blow up. This doesn’t mean it will explode; rather, the components will stop working and you will no longer be able to use your computer. Often, you won’t even be able to rescue anything like pictures, files, and anything else you have stored on your hard drive.

How can I protect my computer from power surges?

You can plug your computer and monitor into a surge protector and keep it from being damaged physically by storms and other things that can cause surges and voltage spikes in the electrical components of your computer. These surges can damage or destroy your computer’s electrical parts in a matter of seconds, so a surge protector is important to have. You can purchase them inexpensively from hardware stores. Many of them even have guarantees, so if your computer or other electronic equipment is damaged from a power surge, they will replace the equipment.

If you don’t have a surge protector, you can reduce the chances that your computer will be damaged by unplugging your computer and monitor every time there is a lightning storm or bad weather. This is not a foolproof method, however, and you should still purchase a surge protector.

Power surges aren’t the only things that can cause lasting damage to your computer’s inner workings and harm or destroy your files. You should also take other precautions when it comes to your computer, such as using firewall and anti-virus software. Keeping your computer in a safe place, out of the way of kids and pets, and avoiding eating and drinking around it can also help reduce risks.

Protecting your computer from possible power surges is an important part of keeping your files and information safe. A surge protector is an easy way to prevent damage from power surges.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Protecting Your Computer From Power Surges." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 27 Mar. 2008. Web. 22 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/384/protecting-your-computer-from-power-surges/ >.