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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

By dpotter555 ·
I have read that once a surge protector handles a voltage surge,it is a one time deal and is useless from that point on. Is this correct or did I mis-read the article? I have been told this by a few other people as well, but have never found any documentation as to this issue. Please advise.

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by maxwell edison In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

I've heard the same thing, that once a surge protector handles a voltage surge, that it's dead. However, I'm not so sure that's entirely true. I think the real answer is, it depends.

Consider this excerpt from Web Hosting Magazine:

"A simple surge protector is attached to a computer. The life span of the surge protector is estimated at three years, so you forget about it for the time being. That estimated life span is based on an "average" number of power-quality problems expected tocome through the outlet. Periodically, you notice that the surge protector kicks in. More important, the computer stays on. One day, only a year into the expected life span of the surge protector, both the protector and the computer are down. So, what's the problem? Most likely, the surge protector has been fried from repeated problems in the outlet. It could be as simple as a repeated spike on the circuit, a problem that is being overridden by the surge protector day in and day out — until it dies. Magnify those single situation dozens or hundreds of times and you can see the core problem with simply overriding power-quality events."

See the whole article:

http://www.whmag.com/content/0401/powersearch/page3.asp

(REMOVE SPACES from the pasted URL)

Therefore, I would replace a "simple" surge protector (the $29.00 kind) every three years OR after a "significant" spike, whichever comes first. However, "significant" is certainly a matter of opinion.

Good luck,
Maxwell

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by dpotter555 In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by hinrgman In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

life span of a surge protector is that it remains functional until it is subjected to a surge large enough that it is destroys itself protecting from the surge. A surge protector that is installed after a UPS (uninteruptible power system) which provides good voltage regulation could last forever. In another situation in a residential area with overhead electrical distribution you need to watch your surge protector for the correct indicator lights which are found on the higher quality protectors.
Just serch the Web for surge protectors. There is more info out there than you have the time to read.

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by dpotter555 In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by timwalsh In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

Unfortunately, ther isn't a single answer to your question. With a surge protector (as with most electronic equipment), you get what you pay for. Manufacturers use many different design strategies to handle surges.
Some designs essentially sacrifice the surge protection element in order to protect connected equipment. Unfortunately, this doesn't render the "surge protector" unuseable, it merely turns it into an unprotected power strip.
Your best bet is to steer clear of any "surge protector" that doesn't include an equipment-replacement guarentee. You also need to make sure you read the fine print of what the guarentee entails.
If your serious about the protection of electronic equipment, it pays to do your homework. Most serious,reputable vendors have technical articles on their sites talking about the pros and cons of surge protection in general as well as general comparisons of their chosen technology against others.

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by timwalsh In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

In answer to your question, if you have any old "surge protectors" still in use, which look "cheap", I would go ahead and play it safe and get something new to replace it.

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by dpotter555 In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by TheChas In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

The functional component of the surge supressor is a Metal-Oxide Varistor (MOV) Once you have exceeded the joule (energy) rating of the MOV, the MOV now has a lower capacity for the next surge.

You have 3 choices;

1. Inspect the MOVs in the surge supressor. You are looking for the case of the MOV to be discolored, or have blisters on it.

2. Test the surpressor.
To do this, you will need to know the specifications for the MOV, and have an adjustable current limited AC source with an ampmeter.
You would want to verify that the MOV begins to conduct at the rated clamping voltage, and can handle the specified current.

3. Just replace them any time you are concerned.

You can rent a power line monitor to get a profile of the average spikes that you have on your AC lines. From this profile, you can estimate how much work the supressors are asked to perform on a daily basis.
Throw in a factor for lighning storms and power surges, and you can predict the life.

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by dpotter555 In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

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What is lifespan of a surge protector?

by Daz'n'Ash In reply to What is lifespan of a sur ...

I have seen power surge prtectors that are the one time deal. They are designed to be used to protect one time only, they are usually cheap, but I would not recommend using one like that. Most packaging of new surge protection products have a warning or at least information regarding safe use.

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