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"When a computer crashes there are 2 kinds of people. Those that say "Sure glad I backed up yesterday and those that say "Oh no, what about all my pictures, documents and emails"

Protect Your Computer From Power Surges

Whoosh, one lightning strike to the mains power and your computer is fried. The chips in your computer and your power supply can be damaged beyond repair. In addition to the expense involved in replacing damaged components you are facing the loss of all your data.

Most  of us are vigilant in protecting our computers against virus attacks, but in the area of power problems we are lacking. Even the most careful, generally think that a surge protector is all the protection needed. While a surge protector provides some protection it’s main advantage is it’s price. Better protections is offered by a UPS (Uninterruptible power supply). In the past  the cost of a UPS was too high for most of us to consider, but as with technologies the price has dropped to the point of a UPS becoming affordable.

Read on to find out about the need for a stable and reliable power, and the steps you can take to provide it.

The three common power problems that can plague a computer system are: Overvoltage, Undervoltage and Power Outages

Although often caused by storms all three can happen anytime of day or night. Power leaves the power station in good condition but by the time it reaches us it is often less than perfect. There is always a risk to your computer. It doesn’t take a storm.

Overvoltage often caused by a lightning strike can cause the costliest damage in terms of wrecked components.

Undervoltage: In an undervoltage situation components respond by drawing more current (amps). A higher current creates more heat which can result in damaged components.  The damage may not be immediate, but may build up over time.

Power Outages: an unexpected power outage can cause loss of data and  operating system corruption.

There are products available to help protect your computer. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Surge Protectors

Protect only against overvoltage. Their main advantage is that they are relatively inexpensive. Disadvantages They only protect against overvoltage. Also, the internal mechanism of a surge protector wears out, sometimes after a single activation. The computer will still run, and you might not even be aware that you are no longer protected. To combat this some surge protectors have a  light on the plug. As long as the light is lit you are protected. Of course you have to be able to see the plug.


A UPS offers protection from voltage overloads, surges, undervoltage and also provides enough power to turn off your system in case of a blackout. This can save your data.

More importantly :  you will always know that your computer is protected. When you use a UPS your computer receives its power directly from the UPS. If the UPS is not functioning your computer will not start.

Many UPS units also supply protection for your modem. In an electrical storm your modem is also at risk. A UPS with modem protection will protect your modem.

A UPS for a home or small office system would be available in the $200 to $300 price range.

Many people have been computing for years and never had a problem. Each of us must decide, for ourselves, if protection is necessary.

Protect Modem From Power Surges

Three years ago, while working in Sydney, I had a rash of calls from customers that were having problems connecting to the internet.

The problems developed after a storm. It didn’t take long to figure it  was due to  burned out modems. The problem was wide spread. In fact it was difficult to locate enough replacement modems in the local area.

Many of us have surge protectors on our computers but not  on our phone lines. 

How To Protect Your Modem

Unplug the phone line from your computer when you are not using it.

Purchase a surge protector that offers modem protection.

Purchase and install a UPS

Protection comes at a price but  it is less expensive than the damage that can be caused by ignoring it.


Most Basic Level Of Protection, no cost to you (note: the more extensive your protection plan the better your computer is protected). Note your computer is still at risk because not all surges happen during storms. But this method is better than nothing. If you refuse to spend money to protect your computer this will help.

§         Turn off and unplug your system  when there is an electrical storm. Do the same when you are away from home for extended periods or if away during days of potential storms.

§         Disconnect the phone line from your computer when there is an electrical storm. Do the same when you are away from home for extended periods or if away during days of potential storms

§         Perform the above steps when your lights are flickering, storm or not.

§         It is easier to unplug your whole system if you have a power board. Plug all computer gear to the board. Then you only have to remove the power board plug.


Moderate Level Of Protection, modest cost, protects from power surges but no power filtering.

§         Purchase and install a surge protector board that includes phone jacks for your modem.

§         Still follow first two steps under Basic Protection.


Best Level Of Protection:

§         Purchase and install a UPS.

§         Still follow first two steps under Basic Protection.


"Doing it simply but doing it well"

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