Surge Protection: How Many Joules Is Enough to Protect My Computer?

Mike Ledbetter
02/27/2017 - 3:45pm

Your computers, network equipment, servers, surveillance equipment, phone system and general office electronics are a big part of your company, or home expense. It is therefore very important to protect your electronics against surges and spikes in the electricity caused by fluctuations in power, brown-outs, electrical storms, etc. But how much  protection is enough.

The first mistake that people make is going to the office supply or big store, and picking up a basic surge strip which may only be rated at 250 joules, thinking they are protecting their equipment. We see these everywhere and they are almost worthless as anything other than splitting out one outlet to six. They are literally a waste of money.

The truth is, nothing much can protect you against a lightning strike. Lightning can produce between 1 and 10 BILLION joules of energy, and let's face it, if it traveled over a mile or two to hit the ground, it can jump through household appliances, surge strips, network wiring, phone lines, or about any other path of least resistance in order to get to ground.

But there are things you can do to lessen the likelyhood that your equipment will be damaged. On the highest order, and most expense there is installation of lightning rods. On the whole office or whole home protection level, there is the installation by a qualified electrician of a whole home surge supression unit, like Eaton manufactures Even with whole home/office suppression, you still want to use surge supressors on your critical equipment like home theater, TV's, computers, network equipment, etc.

According to one of our trusted vendors, Tripp Lite: "A unit with up to 1000 joules of surge protection is adequate for these small electronics. Some components have sensitive circuitry requiring protection, but don’t store extensive data. A surge protector with 1000 to 2000 joules will provide sufficient protection for power tools and office equipment such as printers, copiers and routers. Consider the highest joule ratings – 2000 and above – for home theater components, gaming consoles and any computer that stores important data … anything from customer lists to financial information to irreplaceable photos and favorite music."

Technology Unlimited offers many solutions to help protect your valuable assets, and will be happy to assist you in selecting the best tool for each job when looking at surge supression. Give us a call at 405-773-6037.