Protecting your computer from storms

Tips & Hints

Posted 8 November 2004

One of the most common ways to lose a computer is to storm damage. Being sensitive electronic equipment, computers don't like big changes in power and nothing causes more power problems than electrical storms. During summer, we see dozens of computers damaged by power surges.

A power surge can enter your system three ways; through the mains power supply, through the telephone lines or through a cable connection. Each can cause serious damage to the system and individual components. There are a number of ways to protect your system against incoming nasties.

Switchboard protection

One of the most economical and effective ways to protect your household from mains supply power surges is to fit a surge protector to your switchboard. This will help protect your whole house, not just computers, from power surges. These are installed by licensed electricians, so give your local electrician a call.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies

A UPS is basically a big battery that plugs between your computer and the mains supply. The big advantage with a UPS is you get several minutes power should you have a brown out or black out. As well as stopping power surges, good ones filter “noise” out of the incoming power, increasing computer reliability.

Another advantage of a UPS is that most brands include phone line protection. This means dial up and ADSL modems can be protected as well. We recommend all small businesses have UPS protection on their equipment.

Power strip

Surge protected power strips are essential on all electronic equipment. These are like standard power boards but they have the added feature of protecting against power surges. Like a UPS, if you have a modem then you should get the type that includes telephone line protection.

The price of these power boards vary dramatically, so it’s worth shopping around. It’s also important to remember that, unlike a UPS, a power strip’s surge protection will only work once. It’s important to place the board where you can see the light indicating protection is still working.

Unplug your gear

A close lightning strike, or a direct hit, can beat any power protection. So we recommend unplugging your equipment when you see a storm approaching. When unplugging your equipment, make sure every thing is turned off before you unplug the power. Don't forget to unscrew any cable modems from the incoming line.

We’d also strongly suggest disconnecting everything before going on holiday. Overheating, storms and theft are just a few things that can befall your computers while you are away. We’ll be covering what to do with your computers before going on holiday next month as well as discussing it on the 702 Weekend radio spot, scheduled for December 19.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011