As the abundance of electronics impacts us daily, we realize there simply are not enough outlets in our homes. This is particularly true for older homes. As a result, we end up with a number of “outlet expanders,” more commonly known as power strips.
Power strips are generic and fulfill a very simple function. They are inexpensive, and the quality is probably on par with the price. 53555001
When purchasing a power strip or a surge protector, the power strip’s more talented cousin, it is important to keep this in mind.
Important tip: Make sure you know the amperage rating of the outlet into which you are connecting the trip and other equipment. A residential circuit can overload if you aren’t careful.
Purchasing a power strip:
• Look for power strips with a built-in circuit breaker. If you connect too many electronics and devices, the strip will kick out the circuit breaker rather than causing the breaker in your electric panel to trip.
• Pay attention to the orientation of the outlets. The typical design is along the length of the strip, facing the bottom or end of the strip. We recommend power strips with the outlets perpendicular to the length of the strip.
• Get a smart strip. These are becoming more common and less expensive. With smart strips, one outlet serves as a master, receiving power all the time. The other outlets do not receive power until the master device is turned on. This is ideal for home entertainment setups.
If you are connecting expensive electronics, you may want to consider a surge protector. Here, price is even more important because a cheap surge protector can be worse than none at all for two reasons. One, they
use cheap, small surge fighting components. Two, these components can fail and the strip still will provide power, all without any indication that its protective side is gone. 90347001
If you’re in the market for a surge protector, WFEC has a two-tiered approach to protect your sensitive electronics. This is one of the most effective ways to protect your property. The first tier is a meter-base service entrance surge protection device which reduces power to a lower level, and is your first line of defense.
The second tier of protection comes from an in-home plug strip that sensitive equipment such as computers, TVs and microwaves can be plugged in to directly. The plug strip is designed to protect items that have micro-processors, which are more susceptible to surges. Each one of our devices comes with a comprehensive warranty, if the equipment is properly installed.
A meter-base surge protector can be leased for $4.25/month with a one-time installation fee of $10. The meter-base surge protector can be purchased for $124.95 plus tax with an installation fee of $10. This unit
will only be replaced once without charge to the member if purchased rather than leased. The in-home plug strip can be purchased for $89.95 plus tax and if it takes a direct hit, there is a one-time free replacement for the member. This plug-in unit is secondary protection designed specifically for sensitive electronics. The in-home plug strip and the meter-base unit paired together will give you the protection you need for the majority of your home’s appliances and electronics. For more information about the surge protection options available at West Florida Electric, visit our website (www.westflorida.coop) or give us a call at 800.342.7400.
Power strips and surge protectors are worth the investment when you follow these simple suggestions. Don’t get “burned” by purchasing cheap, inefficient strips and protectors. Here's another important tip: check your homeowner's policy for lightning coverage.
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Energy Efficiency Tip
Choose wisely when replacing incandescent bulbs from recessed light fixtures. Heat buildup can shorten the life of spiral CFLs.