Do Printers Require Power Surge Protection?

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Electrical current provides power to your home's many appliances and devices, including computers, televisions and printers. The current flows into your home via wires, and the current doesn't always flow at the same wattage due to lightning, power station issues and heavy-duty appliances cycling on and off. A surge protector controls the electrical current and absorbs the extra current, preventing it from overloading your appliances/devices' power supplies and causing them not to work.

Surge Protector Usage

  • Yes, you need to plug your printer into a surge protector to protect it from electrical current overloads. A surge protector is needed for all printer types, including inkjet, thermal, laser and other printer types. A power surge not only overloads a printer's power supply, but also damages the printer's internal circuitry. If the surge doesn't completely damage the power supply, it shortens the component's life, as well as any circuitry that is part of the power supply.

Failure to Use a Surge Protector

  • Whenever the electrical current fluctuates or a blackout occurs and the power is restored, a surge of current will flow to your printer and cause the device's components to work erratically. Problems include the printhead assembly moving slower than usual and paper jams, especially if using a laser printer. Electrical surges can also cause your printer to shut off automatically. Your printer may or may not power on again.

Spikes

  • Surge protectors also protect your printer from spikes, which are caused by lightning strikes and are stronger than surges. An electrical spike can destroy your printer's components immediately. Spikes can also occur if an electrical transformer in your area is failing or is destroyed by an automobile accident.

Brownouts

  • In addition to helping regulate electrical surges and spikes, a surge protector helps boost electrical current during a brownout. Brownouts are the opposite of surges/spikes and occur when the electrical current falls below its normal rating -- 110 or 220 volts. A brownout can cause your printer to operate at a decreased speed. This can also destroy your printer's components and power supply. This degradation in electrical current occurs when too many appliances are in use at one time, including air conditioners, freezers, refrigerators and other appliances that use a great deal of electricity.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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