There are many different ways to protect home or office electronics. Surge Protectors guard against electrical spikes, Isolation Transformers keep electrical impurities from components and Battery Backups help during power outages. These unique and often overlooked components help assure that expensive electronic equipment remain safe and functional during electronically unstable situations, protecting against potential power related damage and providing added peace of mind.
Types of Protection
Surge Protectors: Not to be confused with Power Strips, which offer no protection against electrical surges, Surge Protectors are the essential last line of defense against unstable electricity that finds its way into your home. Also known as Power Conditioners, Surge Protectors are always on guard ensuring that valuable components remain functional. Surge Protectors safeguard electronics from power surges and spikes often associated with dirty and unstable electricity, as well as lightning strikes from severe storms. In addition, Surge Protectors are typically rated to handle a specific number of joules (the measurement of energy a surge or spike causes) - the higher the joule rating the better the protection. Some Surge Protectors have built-in filters that can lower the level of dirty electronic noise introduced into components. This is beneficial for home theaters as electronic noise can degrade audio-video quality. Advanced Surge Protectors also offer protection for RJ11 (phone), RJ45 (Ethernet), Coaxial (Cable and Satellite) and occasionally for other proprietary inputs and outputs. Surge Protectors range from simple applications ideal for a few home theater components, to large heavy duty rack-mountable units for equipment cabinets or closets, and Whole Home Surge Protectors which install on or near a breaker panel. Depending on needs and available budget, there is a specific Surge Protector available for nearly any application.
Isolation Transformers: Considered to be a beyond-premium solution for surge protection. These types of units provide a vast array of features geared towards offering pure, untainted, noise free electricity for audio-video components and other applications where heavy duty components are used. Isolation Transformers are robust units built around a massive, often physically heavy, toroidal transformer which isolates electronic noise, ground loops, and other negative electronic interferences from components. Normally they plug directly into a standard power outlet and provide voltage stabilization, giving components a near perfect stream of electricity while also protecting them for harmful electrical impurities and surges. For simple, effective surge protection, an Isolation Transformer is as good as it gets.
Battery Backups: Though not considered to be a form of surge protection, a Battery Backup (also known as an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS) allows a component to continue functioning for a limited amount of time during a blackout or brownout (a partial blackout). Another advantage is that a Battery Backup will allow a component to power down properly instead of instantly shutting down. This is particularly valuable because when power suddenly shuts off and instantly turns back on, it causes an extreme fluctuation of electricity, which can damage a component's internal circuitry. Common applications are for desktop computers providing additional time to finish and save work as well as for audio-video equipment that requires proper shut down.