What’s the best way to keep your computer safe during a thunderstorm? Crawl under your desk and unplug it.
While not a particularly practical suggestion, unplugging your PC from AC power, a telephone line if you use a modem, and your network will protect it from surges and power problems.
A more practical solution would be to use a power protection device, such as a true surge protector, or a business-grade battery backup system.
Computer damage from severe weather conditions is surprisingly a very common problem, despite warnings to installl power protection.
When power problems strike, they can cause permanent damage, to either your computer or your data.
To minimize the possibility of damage, install a true surge protector – not just a power strip. A true power strip will cost you in the neighborhood of $20 to $40, and most offer specific guarantees if your equipment is damaged after you properly install the power protection device.
Get a surge protector that also protects your network, phone lines or DSL connection. Some even offer a connection to provide surge protection on the cable line that services your cable modem. Remember, the more protection, the better.
Check your protection devices regularly. If you use battery backup systems, use the testing feature at least quarterly to make sure your unit still functions properly.
Batteries in backup systems will typically last two or three years, unless your power environment is particularly troublesome.
Remember, too, that not all power problems result from electrical storms.
The every day variances in power quality – from smaller surges, sags, drops and brownouts – will also, over time, cause damage to your electronic equipment.
When you invest in a high-quality surge protector, many of them will also compensate for these minor electrical fluctuations, protecting your equipment at its own expense. These are called line conditioning surge protectors.
Higher end line conditioning surge protectors will wear out and lose effectiveness after a few years, and should be replaced.