7 Facts about lightning and surge protection for your gear


Between thunderstorms, rolling blackouts, and load shedding, chances are that you may have already experienced the results of a powerful surge or under voltage on your household appliances, security systems, home office equipment, or entertainment systems.

With modern electronics, almost everything is networked in one way or another, and those connections greatly increase the risk of damage due to electrical surges or under voltages.

You can reduce the cost and risk of repairs, downtime, and loss of equipment and data by protecting incoming power and signal/data inputs and ensuring that protection devices are bonded together to an electrical earth.

Check out these 7 facts and tips when considering surge and lightning protection for your gear.

1 – Protect all inputs and outputs

When using a Surge Protection Device (SPD), protecting all input and outputs of your equipment is crucial.

A surge can come from any copper line running into your home, so make sure to protect your telecommunications and data connections, not just your power connection.

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If you’re protecting your TV, make sure to protect incoming lines from your Satellite dish or aerial as well.

When protecting your refrigeration/freezer compressors and sensitive appliances, use Clearline’s under over voltage protection which helps protect against load shedding as the voltages might return to your home over 220volts or under 180volts thus causing great damage to refrigeration compressors, as they already retain stored energy during load shedding.

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We strongly suggest getting a unit that has all these inputs and outputs in one device, thus your installation is referenced to one unit and protection can be guaranteed.

2 – Save some money?

Some routers may come with a protection unit, or cheaper surge protection models are available from large stores and manufacturers.

It’s all about the Joules!

Many cheaper models are just not capable of providing the protection needed against lightning, thus throwing the consumer into a false sense of security.

A good surge protector is worth the peace of mind.

3 – A 5-year Connected equipment warranty…on your stuff

Unlike Clearline, most SPD manufactures do not offer a Connected Equipment warranty of up to R25 000 meaning you don’t have to claim from insurance.

So, in the event of a lightning strike or a surge and the surge protector didn’t do its job, Clearline will repair or replace your damaged equipment up to the value of R25 000 (TC’s applicable and stated on the warranty registration process).

Clearline has a warranty portal to register electronic equipment thus keeping updated records on date of purchase and serial numbers of registered equipment in electronic format.

4 – A UPS won’t help against a lightning surge

It is a common misunderstanding that a UPS will provide sufficient Lightning and Surge Protection.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

While some UPSes do provide a degree of isolation and surge filtering, this is mostly for internal protection and doesn’t come near to the kind of protection required for higher voltages experienced from Lightning strikes.

Consumers should be very careful and aware of the protection capabilities of their UPS device.

Most UPS devices are simply just “changeover” units, meaning that the AC supply is connected directly to Eskom.

Most well-respected UPS manufacturers actually state in their product specifications the maximum rated surge inputs and these are usually below what is commonly experienced from a lightning surge.

UPS systems were never intended to be subjected to the level of transient energy contained in lightning currents and load shedding conditions.

5 – Undervoltage hurts

A brownout is a partial loss of power similar to a blackout, but with less intensity, which may cause lights to flicker, electronic devices to turn on/off spontaneously, etc.

Brown outs are common when dealing with unreliable power providers and are often experienced after load shedding and in some cases can last for minutes.

This can cause damage to sensitive electronic equipment.

Clearline has a selected range of devices available with their patented Trip-Connect Technology that offer disconnection on over-voltage (Surges, etc.) and under-voltage (Brown outs).

6 – Always get more outlets than you need

You’re always going to need more outlets, and you’ll undoubtedly add more gear, without necessarily getting rid of your current gear.

Plugging additional standard multiplugs into your surge protector is not advised and could compromise warranties and protection.

That’s not to say that if you think you need 4 outlets get a 12, but a 6 is probably a good number.

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7 – Multiplugs are portable

Take your multiplug with you when traveling or purchase a more portable traveling protection device for your laptop.

Most hotels or even conference and training centres normally won’t have surge and lightning protected outlets.

Taking your multiplug along gives you peace of mind and some additional plug points and could offer direct USB charging (depending on your product).

Bottom Line

South Africa has lots of thunderstorms and unfortunately an unreliable power provider, so your gear is probably more likely to experience power surges and possible damage.

Most insurance companies don’t cover equipment damage due to load shedding and in high-intensity lighting areas require that protection be installed to distribution boards and sensitive equipment vulnerable to damage

Clearline is also a Proudly South African company and manufacture and procure all our goods and services locally, so support local and help grow our economy.

Click here to view the Clearline store on Takealot



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