Surge Arrestors – protection for your valuables

Lightning Strikes

Lightning Strikes (Photo credit: Striking Photography by Bo Insogna)

While safety switches are essential protection for you and your family from electric shock, there is also a way to protect your valuable electronic appliances.

Computers, TVs, dishwashers, washing machines – for most of us these appliances are part of our every day, making life easier and more enjoyable.  As more and more appliances have electronic components (ovens, cooktops, rangehoods, fridges, modems, just to name a few) there is even more reason to consider a way to protect your investment from power surges.

Stormy winter weather


Stormy skies (Photo credit: coachgayledee)

Power surges are voltage spikes that travel down the power lines, through the electrical switchboard and your electronic equipment.  These surges can be the result of nearby lightening strikes, damage to power poles or lines causing the wires to spark and short briefly.  You may also experience power fluctuations living in a high density area.   

 How does a surge arrestor work?

A switchboard surge arrestor is designed to stop surges at the switchboard.  In most cases, the surge is simply arrested at the switchboard, leaving the device intact.  In the event of a large power surge, the surge arrestor “sacrifices” itself  “arresting” the surge at the switchboard.   The equipment should be checked periodically when the safety switch is tested (see our post on safety switches for more information).  If the window on the arrestor is white it is still functioning,  if it is black it needs to be replaced.  A device is fitted to each phase, so one if you have single phase or three if you have three phase power (how many phases is written on your meter if you are unsure).

Kitchen Appliance protection

Calls about appliances that are partially working or have stopped working altogether are received frequently.  When damage to the electronic components is found, repairs are usually expensive.  The choice to repair your appliance or go to the additional expense of replacing the appliance & possibly needing adjustments to cabinet work etc has to be made.  We recommend surge arrestors are fitted to minimize the chance of electronic components failing due to overvoltage events.

Surge arrestors need to be fitted by a licensed electrical contractors.  In the event of a large power surge, the device will need to be replaced.

The surge arrestor is a small investment and the best way to protect your assets and property.


There are some limitation with surge arrestors suitable for domestic use.  With some high energy events like direct lightning strikes, total damage prevention may not be possible.  Likewise with low power events inside the property, an individual surge arrestor fitted at the power point of very sensitive equipment may be more suitable.

If you are interested in more information or would like surge arrestors fitted, please call our office on (08) 9367 1198.