Summer brings thunder and lightning – be prepared

Posted: August 11, 2009 in backup, computers, hardware
Tags: , ,


Summer is a wonderful time, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the long days full of potential, hanging out and enjoying time with family and friends,… BUT it is also a time prone to thunderstorms and thunder means lightning and lightning means the potential for surges and power outages.   This became all to clear to me during a recent thunderstorm when the power keep cutting out for a few seconds and then returning.  Very annoying when watching a DVD and you keep having to search back through to find where you left off before the power failed. Yes, as a friend reminded me “you don’t have to do that with videotapes, it starts playing where you left off”.  Sometimes old tech IS better than new tech but thats a blog for another day.

We (most of us anyway) spend a small fortune on our home electronics.  Big screen TV’s, DVD players and recorders, gaming systems, stereos, computers and lets not forget personal electronics like cel phones, smart phones, ipods and handheld gaming devices.  When you sit down and think about everything you own that requires power to work or to recharge it really is a long long list.

This brings me to what i like to refer to as the 10% rule.  its simple really.  Just add 10% to the cost of your electronics to cover the cost of the necessary surge protection and battey backup. Using round numbers and averages, a desktop computer costing you $1000, you should allow for an extra $100 to buy a good quality but simplistic UPS to protect your investment.  The same goes for TVs and any other electronics.  You need good surge protection for line voltage power as well as any other signal coming into your device, including your cable or telephone or network.  You can easily spend more, it all depends on the features you want and the length of time you want the UPS to provide battery backup power.  Not all surge protectors and UPSes are created equal, look over the specs and ensure they will provide what you need.  Most are very clear of their limitations and liabilities when it comes to product protection and many of the manufacturers have UPS sizers on their websites to help you determine how many VA you need depending upon how long you want it to last. ( a typical desktop needs approx. 800 VA to give you 15 mins of battery runtime)

For many components – TVs, dvd players, etc – all you really need is surge protection to ensure they are not damaged by the power fluctuations and surges so the 10% rule may be a bit high, but in the end it all averages out. 

When it comes to computers, remember, its all well and good to have backups of everything and save to external drives, etc., but if those backups and externals are also running when lightning strikes you may lose your computer and everything else that was plugged in, including your backup.



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