Residential | FPL | Selecting the Right Power Protection

Selecting the Right Power Protection

protect your power

Surge protection prevents power variances from damaging electronic equipment.

Visit the topics below to learn more about many variables to consider when deciding on surge protection in the home.

What you can do

If you experience an outage or repeated power problems:

Why surge protection?

Surges and spikes are a fact of life, especially in Florida, where lightning strikes, dense vegetation and rapid population growth interfere with electrical service.

The most obvious problems occur when lightning travels down your electric, telephone or cable lines, destroying computer data or affecting the performance of electronics such as TVs, VCRs, stereos and microwaves. But damage may occur over time as smaller surges cause the gradual breakdown of electric components. The use of microchips in most major appliances makes even this equipment vulnerable to surges and spikes.

Home electronics and appliances at risk from power disturbances:

  • Air conditioner compressors
  • Computers
  • Garage door openers
  • Home entertainment systems
  • Microwave ovens
  • Security systems
  • Stereos
  • Telephone answering machines
  • Telephones
  • Televisions
  • VCRs
  • Well pumps

   Sponging up voltage

Surge protectors act like electrical sponges, absorbing excess energy and preventing most of it from reaching your equipment. And, like sponges, surge protectors have a limited ability to absorb energy. So it is important to select a surge protector with the appropriate features and ratings to match the equipment you want to protect.

Power surges are caused by electrical switching and, of course, lightning — either hitting near your home or traveling along the telephone, cable, satellite and electric utility lines that come into your home. These surges may damage appliances and electronics and sometimes harm your home's wiring.

   Meter-based protection

Meter-based surge protectors — which are attached to the meter — provide protection against surges entering through you home's electrical system. They protect large appliances and serve as the first line of defense for your electronics.

   Plug-in protection

These smaller surge protection devices are installed directly between the equipment you want to protect and the wall outlet, acting as the last line of defense against surges generated inside and outside your home, including telephone, cable and data lines. Using plug-in surge protection in combination with meter-based surge protection will provide you with the best level of protection.

   Surge protection features: Know what you're buying

When you purchase a surge protector, check for the following features:


What to look for

UL listed transient voltage surge suppressor

Make sure your surge protector is UL listed to ensure that it meets industry standards.

Clamping voltage

This is the amount of voltage the unit passes through to your equipment before diverting voltage to the ground. The lower the number, the better. The lowest clamping voltage recognized by UL is 330 volts or .33 kilovolts.

Joule Rating

This measure represents the amount of energy the unit absorbs. The higher, the better.

Alarm or Light

These let you know when your surge protector no longer works.

Power Shut Down Protection

This shuts power off when the surge protector has stopped working so that no electricity — and no surges — can flow to equipment.

EMI/RFI Protection

This guards against data loss, audio static, video interference and possible computer memory loss from electromagnetic and radio frequency interference.

Response Time Rating

The faster the surge protector can react to high voltage, the better.

   Do I need battery backup?

If you have one or more computers, data lines, telephone systems or other peripheral devices, you may want to consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). The most common thing a UPS does is to give you a 5- to 15-minute "safety net" by switching your computer, or other equipment, to battery backup during a power loss, giving you time to save data.

You can find out more about surge protection products by visiting SurgeShield.

*Note: FPL Energy Services is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc., the parent company of Florida Power and Light Company (FPL).