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# What unit or measurement is used to describe the amount of work a surge suppressor can do before it stops protecting the circuit?

Updated: 8/9/2023

Wiki User

8y ago

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Depends on a type of protector. Some protectors work by absorbing energy. These might be rated in joules (pronounced 'jewel'). Are typically hundreds or a few thousand joules.

Another protector for all types of surges works differently. It is measured in amps. For example a typically destructive surge (lightning is one example) might be 20,000 amps. So a 'whole house' protector is minimally 50,000 amps.

Protector must not stop working. If properly sized, it only degrades. Protector that is grossly undersized stops working in a manner that violated the manufacturer's specifications. And that is a potential fire. A typically destructive surge can be hundred of thousands of joules. What does that do to the first type protector that must somehow absorb that energy?

Two type protectors. One rated in joules. The other in amps.

Wiki User

8y ago
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Wiki User

8y ago

The unit of measurement use to describe the amount of work one type of surge suppressor can do is the Joules. That is a measure of the amount of energy it can absorb.

The unit of measurement for a completely different type of surge suppressor is amps. These are for the many other and destructive type of surges. For example, a direct lightning strike may be 20,000 amps. So a minimal 'whole house' protector is rated at 50,000 amps.

Joules for tiny protectors (to protect from one type of surge) and amps for a robust protector (to protect from all types of surges) ballpark a life expectancy of that protector. And does not define protection.

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Wiki User

11y ago

Joules, a measure of electrical energy that is the product of Amperes, Volts, and Seconds. A typical surge might be 1000 volts, 10 amps, lasting 10 milliseconds - this would be 100 Joules. If a surge exceeds the number of Joules that the surge protector is rated for, the device will burn out and protection is lost.

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Wiki User

12y ago

joules

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