If Santa brought you an expensive flat-screen TV, home theater system or decked-out laptop this Christmas, you need to do a little extra shopping. Buy a high-quality surge protector.
Thunderstorms, lightning strikes, minor fluctuations in the power that comes to your house, or even interference generated when you turn on a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner can cause your electronics to react—sometimes permanently.
Plugging them into an inexpensive power strip won’t prevent any problems unless it’s designed to detect even minor surges and trip the circuit breaker or sacrifice itself to save your TV.
And power spikes also can enter the home through the lines that connect your phone, cable TV or satellite receiver to the house. So you need power protection to protect all of the lines that touch your TV, stereo, home theater system or other expensive devices.
Choose either whole-house surge protection—installed by an electrician at the breaker box—or individual surge-protection power strips that will sacrifice themselves to save your electronics during a power surge.
And consider a model that will save energy by automatically turning off a device that it senses has entered stand-by mode.