There are two common types of electrical surges or power spikes that can affect your electrical panel, bus plugs and electric appliances. It is important to know how they can affect your electrical system and anything plugged into it. One type of surge comes from a lightning strike. The lightning hits nearby and causes an increase or "spike" in the electrical charge coming through your power lines.
Another common power surge is caused by appliances connected to your power system. Any unit which has a compressor (or other high-powered components such as a motor) may cause a power surge when the compressor switches on or off. Have you ever noticed the lights dimming for a moment or two when the air conditioning unit turns on? That is an example of a power surge. It may not be enough to trip a circuit breaker bus plug, but it can damage some sensitive computer equipment or stereo gear--one reason why you can't rely on your bus plugs alone to avoid damage from surges and power spikes. Computer and home theater gear should always be connected to surge protectors, because some power spikes aren't strong enough to trip the breakers or blow the fuses in your bus plugs.
Electronic devices are much more delicate, sensitive and expensive than the older equipment ever was, which is why protecting them is very important.
surge protectors are not the same. Pick a surge protector system that
balances price with the cost of losing data or expensive electronic
equipment. The general rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for,
so look for a quality product.