Taking a little time to prepare and to safeguard your electronics to keep them safe from damage is a great idea, and it can keep you out of a world of hurt. Power surges, brown outs, and thunderstorms are three ways your computer and other important electronics can be damaged and often there isn’t any advanced warning.
The Earth has approximately 1.4 billion lighting strikes a year, each one lasting only about 0.2 seconds and each bolt can have up to 1 billion volts of electricity. That’s enough electricity in one strike to power 56 homes for a full day!
So that’s a lot of electricity that can come at your electronics at one time. It is also important to understand that computers can be sensitive to power line interference, and thunderstorms can cause power voltage spikes, brown-outs, and even melt-downs. So what can you do to protect your computer from getting fried during a thunderstorm?
It’s quite simple really, just disconnect your computer. It is a common misconception that using surge protector will protect your electronics, but that isn’t always the case. A common surge protector will stop voltage spikes and surges, but not the violent, catastrophic burst of current from a close lightning strike.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s definitely still a good idea to keep your electronics connected to a surge protector as it will protect your equipment from power fluctuations. It’s just a good practice to disconnect your equipment if there are storms in the area. Don’t stop at the power plug though, also consider the other connections your devices have to the outside. Your cable line, or modem are just two ways for a direct strike. Anything that is connected to an outside source can be a direct route to electronic destruction by a lightning strike.
So we now know to disconnect during a thunderstorm, but what about day-to-day use? Protection against power spikes, and “noise” in the line is important to safeguarding your equipment. Be sure to take steps to connect your electronics, i.e. TV’s, computers, etc., to a quality surge protector. One that includes a power filtering feature is always a good idea.
When your home receives a power spike, the surge protector takes this spike and pushes it away from the outlets and your computer. Remember, a power strip is simply not the same as a surge protector so make sure what you are using is the right type of protection. On day-to-day use, a surge protector can offer quite a bit of protection for your electronics but it is important to note, that a surge protector will NOT be able to withstand a direct lightning strike. So even with a surge protector, still take the time to disconnect your electronics when a storm is in your area.
Battery Backup (UPS)
Power outages can occur at any time and this can mean bad news for home users and businesses alike. Especially when those users rely on their computer networks as the home front of their data and information. So how can you be prepared for a power outage? Having an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) is one way to protect your computer.
A UPS is a very large battery that provides emergency power when the main power fails. So why would you want a battery backup instead of a surge protector? Quite simply, a surge protector won’t prevent a power outage. Take some time to determine if your electronic set up requires an uninterruptible power supply device. Outages and dips in power, even if minor, can cause hardware damage (i.e. hard drives) or soft damage (data loss) and having your computer hooked to a UPS is one way to protect your equipment.
Data Back up
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Save, save often, save in many places. Data loss can be upsetting and extremely inconvenient for both the home user and for businesses. There are many great systems that businesses can use like Windows Backup, Semantic, Snapshot, or Acronis. Home users can use system backups with external hard drives or cloud based storage. Any system that works well for your needs is a good idea when it comes to safeguarding your important data.
When disaster strikes, whether a power surge, a lightning strike, or a dying computer, having a backup of your files, or your system can save you quite a bit of frustration and trouble.
We Can Help!
So now you know you want to take action to protect your electronics but aren’t sure what steps to take. Whether you are a home user, a home based business, or a full office give CompuTime a call and we can help you assess your needs. We can determine the right type of backup system, set you up with a quality surge protector, and even help you setup your battery backup. We are always happy to assist you in steps that can be made to keep your electronics safe and working well.