Here’s how this typically goes. There’s a lightening storm. Customer’s internet stops working. The next day I stop by to fix the problem and what do I find? No surge protection and a bunch of smelly burnt gear. I don’t like to see this because a surge protector is less than $10 and protects your router, streaming devices and Webformix wireless equipment.
Chances are that in at least one place in your home you have more plugs than electrical outlets. Easy fix, right? Just run to the nearest store and grab a power strip. Before you grab the cheapest one and head to the register, take a moment to read exactly what you’re buying.
A basic power strip may save you a few bucks but doesn’t offer protection against power surges. A surge protector acts much like a circuit breaker would at your house, stopping a potentially damaging jolt from frying all the sensitive electronic equipment plugged into it. Check the back of your current power strips to make sure that they’re surge protectors and consider replacing those that are not. It has to say surge protector, not power strip or power tap.
For those who like to go the extra mile an Uninterruptible Power Supply (or UPS) is a surge protector with a built in battery backup. In the case of a power outage your electronics plugged into it will continue to be able to run for a short time allowing you to save any vital work and power down safely. Many UPS backups even come with an equipment protection policy which will reimburse you for any damage to electronics due to a power surge that occurs while properly plugged into their product. This is especially useful for lightning induced surges as lightning is not typically covered by many warranties.
Of course the safest way to see your electronics through a lightning storm is still to unplug them from power completely.