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Do I Need a Surge Protector and Why?

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When you start looking at accessories for your RV, you may start wondering “Do I need a surge protector and why?” You’ve invested a lot into your RV, don’t take it lightly! The possibility of a power surge may not be huge, but it is there. A surge protector will help stop that extra power going in and keep your systems from getting fried!



What is a Power Surge?


A power surge is a burst of electricity that, if high enough, can and will cause damage to anything connected to it! Usually these surges are caused by something that interrupts the flow, and then when it comes back it’s a large rush of voltage. There is also the factor that some appliances and other electrical items will falter and send voltage back into the electrical system. With extra voltage in the system, it can short out electrical devices that aren’t meant to have that much power. If there’s enough of it, it can even cause damage to the electrical system itself, and possibly cause fire. The main things you will find in your RV that are likely to create a power surge are your refrigerator, A/C unit, or heater (depending on the power source of course). You can also experience an external surge, which is where it is more likely. These can come from your shore power plug in or lightning. This risk is especially high at campgrounds, where many people are drawing off of the same power source. Thankfully you can protect yourself and your RV with a surge protector!



How Surge Protectors Work


A surge protector is like having car insurance. It may very well just sit there doing nothing, or it may save your system in the less-likely event of a surge. Just like car insurance doesn’t come in handy until there is an accident, the protector doesn’t come in handy until there is a surge. With both scenarios, if something does happen, not having that insurance can be pretty devastating. When you have a surge protector in your system, it will help to ensure that no extra voltage can make it into the RV. When the voltage is too high, it will divert all the extra into the ground, while still allowing the correct amount to flow through. These protectors also have an automatic shut off and sometimes fuses of their own, this way if there is something it cannot handle, it will completely block the current.



Getting The Right Kind For Your Rig


Getting a surge protector for your RV isn’t as simple as just heading to the store and getting the same kind you may have inside. The one to protect your RV is going to be much bigger, and you need to ensure it’s the right amperage for your RV. The first thing you need to know is if you are working with 50 amp, 30 amp, or something lower (if it’s an older RV). Ensure that when you’re looking for your surge protector that these numbers match up, otherwise it may allow too much current, or it may take away too much, depending on the situation. The two choices you have for a surge protector are portable options which simply plug into your rig and shore power, or ones that get hardwired right into the system. A hard-wired unit ensures you don’t forget, but the portable unit means you can use it on other things, and it’s easier to replace if there’s damage. Either way you go, ensure you get a good quality one that offers complete protection for the RV! The cheaper versions will really only protect from things like lightning and other huge spikes. A quality surge protector such as this one from Surge Guard has a lot more in place for protection. As you can see, it will not only protect you from high surges, it will protect from low and high voltage, low and high frequency, an open ground, and reverse polarity. You can see more of the different types, including those that hardwire into the system at TRC Technology Research’s website!



Purchasing a surge protector may be a drag and feel like a waste of money. Keep in mind the car insurance example. The added piece of mind is well worth the money and with a surge, the damage it can cause will likely be well over what you paid for the unit.

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