Protect Your PC From Electrical Dips and Surges
Help Desk - Protect Your PC

In Spain we tend to have regular power outages, dips and surges all of which can damage your computer.  We also get impressive electrical storms with lightning hitting the telephone and power lines particularly in August, September and October when the worst of the storms are upon us.


How can we protect against this you ask?

  1. Disconnect the mains connection and the telephone connection to your equipment whenever a storm approaches or when you are not using it.  This is the simplest and cheapest solution as you don’t require any additional items.  At first it is hard to get into the habit and it may seem like overkill, but the storm that will eventually do the damage will happen when you are asleep in bed or out shopping.
  2. Use a surge protector.  This simple piece of equipment usually looks like an ordinary extension bar with one to eight outlets for your equipment.  It plugs into the wall and you plug your equipment into it, the sockets are protected by a small piece of electronics which blocks the surge.  At the cheaper end of the range the electronics is sacrificial, in that it breaks down after a number of surges and leaves you with no protection (sometimes as few as 10 surges).  At the other end of the scale the protector has a reset button, these tend to be a better bet.  They range in price from about 10 Euros and go up to about 70 Euros. However this will only protect your equipment against normal surges in the power supply not a direct lightning strike on your power or telephone line.
  3.  The third and most expensive solution is a UPS (Uninteruptible Power Supply).  Again this connects between the wall socket and the equipment and protects against surges and supplements the electrical supply to your equipment during a power dip.  It is in fact a box containing a battery, battery charger and an inverter, when the supply voltage peaks above or below a certain level the UPS automatically switches over to the battery to keep your equipment running.  These start at around 85 Euros for a good one.  However, again, these will only protect your equipment against normal dips and surges in the power supply not a direct lightning strike on your power or telephone line.

Make sure if you are buying either option 2 or 3 that the item also incorporates an input and output for your telephone line otherwise this will not be protected. 

What do we do?  Even using the items listed above we always unplug our equipment overnight and when we are away to maximize protection.

Is it necessary to unplug the telephone line?  Yes. In most of Spain our telephone lines are overhead, not underground as in the UK, as such they are prone to getting struck by lightning. In one case we saw a telephone socket that had been blasted off the wall, the router blown up and the PC damaged beyond repair - all through the telephone line.

Does my warranty cover this damage?  No.  Warranties are designed to cover manufacturing defects, they do not cover damaged caused by external sources, i.e. storm or electrical damage.

If you require further advice on this or any other subject then  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  us or give us a call on 677 633 700, as we are more than happy to help. 


NB: Please check your insurance policy to make sure that you are covered. Last year many people discovered that their insurance company would not pay out for storm damage to any computer/computer equipment over 12 months old. If you need a quote for a new policy please visit the business directory on our sister site


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