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How Often to Replace Surge Protector and Power Bricks

31 Days of Spring Cleaning: Replace Surge Protectors

Let's give it up for the unsung hero of your electronics arsenal, the surge protector. Relegated to dark, dusty confines under a desk or behind a home theater, this tangle of cords and outlets actually protects your valuable gear from circuit-busting electricity surges and requires periodic maintenance like any other tech piece. Learn how to keep your electronics running smoothly with these tips.

  • Get what you pay for — Your new LED TV costs a couple thousand dollars; do you want to trust that investment to a drugstore extension cord? Answer: no! Cut the chance of a power outage or spike rendering your goods useless by spending a few more dollars on a quality surge protector like this one from APC.
  • Be aware — Most surge protectors will have several different light options on them. You'll want to check your specific manufacturer's guidelines, but in most cases the only light you ever want to see appear is the "power" light. If you see a "surge," "overload," or any variation thereof lit, your device likely experienced a power surge (and successfully protected your equipment) and now needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Keep it clean — Like any other electronic, if dust and dirt sneaks into the surge protector, it could cause it to function improperly. Spray it with a can of condensed air and remember to dust it during normal household cleaning.
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