Why You Should Use A Surge Protector (or Backup Battery) in Your Work at Home OfficeHome > Work at Home Tips >
Last updated February 8, 2021
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Once, during a thunderstorm when I was younger, there was a huge crack of lightning. The lights and televisions in the house all “blinked” for a moment. Everything turned on again after the fact except for the TV in my mother’s bedroom. It never worked again after that night. We assumed that a surge had moved through the house’s wiring and damaged it – fried its circuits. From that moment on, I have been obsessive about using surge protectors with all of my electronics. I never, ever, ever plug anything more technical than a lamp directly into an electrical outlet in my home (excluding major appliances).
A surge protector is an affordable accessory that can safeguard your tech and accessories from damaging power surges and save you from having to pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace your work at home office equipment. It also expands the available power supply of a standard wall outlet from just two outlets to multiple outlets, six or more, allowing you to connect many more electronic devices.
As an alternative, a backup battery can provide the same protection and additional power supply but will also allow you to continue using your computer or any other connected device for a few minutes after a power surge or failure giving you time to shut down safely without losing anything you were working on.
Both surge protectors and backup batteries are plugged into wall outlets. They act as the power supply to your office equipment instead of connecting it directly to your home’s electrical supply. This type of setup is beneficial for a few reasons. I cover these reasons below.
How a Surge Protector Works
An electrical surge or spike describes an increase in the flow of electricity within the wiring of a building. If the surge or spike is significantly high, any device connected to an outlet in that building can be severely damaged as the electricity looks for somewhere to release.
If a surge protector is plugged into any outlet in that building, the increased electricity flow is diverted away from any device that is plugged into the surge protector, and suppressed by some genius electrical engineering that is able to conduct the extra current. So the power surge never reaches the device.
Surge protector vs power strip
You may like the idea of a surge protector because it allows you to plug in multiple devices at once. However, don’t confuse surge protectors with power strips, which also provide you this convenience. A surge protector will guard against damage to your electronics, while a power strip is not guaranteed to do so. A power strip just operates as an expansion of a wall outlet. Read on to find out about the guarantee a surge protector offers.
Many surge protectors manufacturers offer a warranty with their products. The warranty generally states that if your devices experience damage from an electrical surge while plugged into their protector, they will reimburse you up to a specific covered amount. If the product does its job, you are unlikely to ever need to use the warranty.
Which Devices Need a Surge Protector
I personally believe that ALL electronic devices should be connected to a surge protector, not just your office equipment. I believe you should safeguard your TVs, your streaming devices, and any other home entertainment devices by plugging them into a surge protector. However, of the equipment in your work at home office, the following things need to be protected the most:
- Desktop or laptop computer
- Computer monitor
- Internet modem
- Phone modem
- WiFi router
- Office phone or phone system
- Any computer accessories or peripherals that do not receive their electrical supply directly from your computer through a USB connection.
Since surge protectors are fairly inexpensive, you may be able to have more than one to ensure that all of your devices are being protected.
How a Backup Battery Works
A backup battery, also known as an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), is a secondary power source for your computer and its peripherals in case of a power failure. Most backup batteries provide 30 minutes or more of additional power after a power outage. Since most outages tend to last only a short while, this allows you to keep working on your computer until power returns or gives you time to save your work and safely shut down your computer.
A backup battery can also provide protection against power surges and spikes by acting as a power conditioner that regulates the electrical current.
Which Devices Need a Backup Battery
Backup batteries cost a bit more than surge protectors. Therefore, having more than one may not be in your budget. However, if you are able to invest in one, then you would benefit most having the following devices connected:
- Desktop computer
- Internet Modem
- Phone modem
- WiFi router
- Office phone or phone system
There is no good argument against investing in a surge protector for your work at home office. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t experience many thunderstorms, you can still be in danger of a surge from defective wiring in your home or from a defective appliance or device that is plugged into another outlet in your home.
A decent, dependable surge protector is inexpensive and worth purchasing if only for your own peace of mind. Also, consider having at least one surge protector in each room of your home where you keep your most valued electronic devices. Consider purchasing a backup battery to cut down on downtime during power outages.
Do you currently use a surge protector or backup battery in your home office? If not, are you considering getting one? Let me know in the comments below!