Plug in to Save Money in Your Farm Office

In your farm office this winter, go beyond power strips

Think you have a surge protector? Think again.

While both a surge protector and power strip may look nearly identical, only one can protect your devices from power spikes, lightning strikes, power outages or a breaker that trips.

While you do not need a surge protector for a device as simple as a paper shredder, you do for other items in your office. You likely invested thousands of dollars into your office computers and printers, so it is important to protect them.

So how do you tell the difference? Best case scenario, it is clearly labeled somewhere on the strip; otherwise, look for a trip switch of some kind (usually red). Often the trip switch is synonymous with the on/off switch.

If you know that you have a surge protector, assess the age. If you are using a 20-year-old device for protection of your brand new equipment, it is probably best to invest in a new one with adequate protection for your devices.

If you are in the market for a new surge protector, an inexpensive protector at the nearest retail outlet will serve your needs. If you are looking for some extra features, check out these options:

1. On the go? If you are traveling or have a small space to accommodate, the SurgePlus USB Swivel Charger is a handy tool. It includes three outlets, two USB ports and rotates 360 degrees.

2. More than just electrical. Tripp Lite offers a variety of surge protectors that add connections to protect devices connected via coaxial, telephone and network. The company also offers protectors with energy-saving modes.

3. Protection and Energy Efficiency. The SmartStrip not only protects your devices, it can reduce energy costs. The strip has outlets for peripheral devices that the strip automatically shuts off when those devices are not in use.

Ever had electronics damage from a surge or lightning strike? Tell me about it in the comments below, on Twitter @nerdsquawk or via email at [email protected].

The opinions of Jessica Michael are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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