Water and electronics do not mix. You may want to consider keeping a zip-lock bag on your person to keep your phone safe during unexpected rain or trips out on the water. Alternatively, you can invest in a water resistant phone or phone case. Lifeproof and Otterbox phone cases can be a great way to keep your phone safe.
Florida’s wet season brings with it a second and in many cases a much more expensive threat: lightning. Lightning is a static discharge of electricity between the atmosphere and objects grounded by the earth. A single bolt of lightning can be charged with millions of volts of electricity. When this massive surge of power passes through power lines, phone lines, cable lines, or even your buildings ground system, the electronics connected to these lines take the brunt of the charge.
Surge Suppressors vs Lightning Arrestors vs Power Strips:
There are a plethora of devices meant to supply power to your electronics. The most common among them is the Surge Suppressor. This device will generally be labeled with a Joule Rating. The common thought is that the higher the Joule Rating, the safer you are. While this is somewhat true, it is not always the case. A high Joule Rating means that your Surge Suppressor can take more abuse before the surge circuits fail. This can be in the form of a larger surge, or a lot more smaller surges. Most Surge Suppressors are only rated to clamp voltage after it reaches 330 volts or more. That means you are almost triple your capacity on a 115 volt circuit. They also can only clamp so much voltage. If your Surge Suppressor is not rated for lightning strikes it will not protect anything that is plugged into it! This rating label can usually be found on the back of the suppressor itself.
Lightning Arrestors are usually placed in line on an electrical feed. They are designed to act much like a Surge Suppressor, but only take effect when a massive spike in voltage is detected. These units are pretty effective at stopping a lighting strike (hence the name), but they are not good at stopping a normal surge. These units can be purchased and installed by an electrician, or a whole building system can be installed by the power company.
Power Strips look, feel, and are even sometimes packaged like a surge protector, but in reality they have absolutely no protection built in to them. The simply split a plug into more plugs.
Best Method of Protecting Your Electronics:
So, how you can best protect your electronics without spending a small fortune? Simply put, get a good Uninterruptible Power Supply/Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS). A good UPS with a high rating will protect you from not only surges, sags, lightning strikes, and power failure, but most will also allow you to connect to coax and data lines through them. Cyberpower, Tripplite, and APC are all reputable and well-known vendors who manufacture great UPS units.
The trick is to make sure that you purchase a unit that is properly rated and designed for your needs. For the best protection, we suggest purchasing unit(s) that are…
Sine Wave Capable
Lightning Strike Rated
1800 Joule or better surge protected
Units of this quality can be purchased for $350 to $1250, depending on the voltages and battery reserve capacity required.