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Keep Appliance Safety at the Forefront

Here's what to look for when shopping for surge protector strips for your appliances.

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If you're shopping for appliance suppressor strips or surge protectors, here are some key points to check:

Look for a UL 1449-rated "transient voltage surge suppressor." This means that it meets Underwriter's Laboratory's minimum performance standards for surge suppressors.

Check its "clamping voltage." This number indicates means the voltage at which it begins to suppress: the lower the better, down to around 300 volts, say electrical product companies.

Check its energy absorption rating. In this case, the higher the number the better it is. Electricity is measured in what's known as "joules," and surge suppressors that handle 700 or more joules are the most effective.

Find a suppressor that registers its condition. Surge suppressors are taking the hit of the power surge and can lose their effectiveness from the strain. A suppressor with a light gauge will tell you when it has been compromised.

Here are some websites for more information:

www.howstuffworks.com/surge-protector.htm

This is an extremely helpful site that explains the workings of electric-line surge suppressors and what to look for in buying one.

www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

This website offers general safety information and a few surprises, such as: Stay away from concrete walls during a storm.

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