Surge protectors are a kind of electrical switchgear. It protects circuits from sudden power surges. A surge protector also has limitations. Time after time it wears down. It can also happen after a strong power surge. So, you need to know how to tell if a surge protector is bad or not. How will you tell?

First of all, there are different indications for different surge protectors. A common sign is the flickering of led lights on the protector that blinks when the surge protector is bad.

The modern surge protectors show a number of signs for different conditions. It is important to know what each of them means and interpret or check whether the protector is in good or bad condition. Stay with the article to learn more about the conditions of a surge protector.

How Can You Tell If A Surge Protector Is Bad Or Not

Can A Surge Protector Get Damaged Or Wear Down?

Yes, a surge protector can get damaged or wear down with usage. Though the wearing down does not depend on the usage period. It actually depends on the electric surges it is absorbing to protect your device. So, how long does a protector lasts working in a good health?

The answer depends on the joule rating of your surge protector. The joule rating shows the amount of energy it can absorb in Its life period. So, if a protector has a 1000 joule rating, it can take 5 hits of 200 joule energy of surges.

How can you tell if a surge protector is bad?

Modern surge protectors have indicator lights. When the lights keep flickering it means the surge protector is not okay. But all protectors are not made the same way. So we may need to check the following things to know whether it is bad or not.

  • Check the surge temperature of the surge protector while it is plugged in. If it is too hot than normal you assume it is not working perfectly.
  • The wires of the surge protector have a limited capacity. Due to excessive usage with high loads, the wires can wear out and their insulation can be damaged. If you notice any sign of these, you must change the wires as soon as possible.
  • Often there can be smell of burnings or ozone from the surge protector. If you find this happening you need to consider that something is wrong with your protector.
  • There is normally more than one outlet in a surge protector. If you check that an outlet is not working or the fuse is cut off, you can tell that your surge protector is in bad condition and needs to be repaired.

Can you repair a bad surge protector?

If the surge protector is wear down due to the power surges, you need to change it. But if there is other minor faults like- wire leakage, outlet error or fuse cut off then it can be repaired.

Mainly the surge protector is out off protection service when its surge energy consumption ability is finished due to the hits of the surges.

How to test a surge protector?

There are some quick ways to test a surge protector. First of all, you need to check if there is any warning or beeps while plugged in. If there is a red LED or continuous beeping sound, it is an indication that you surge protector is not functioning well.

Secondly, reset your surge protector and see if there is any notification after it turns on again. If there is a continuous alarm then it means your protection system is not working. Remember, a surge protector without active protection system is nothing but a normal power strip. The beeping and alarms are caused due to the following problems:

  • If there is a bad source problem.
  • If the ground line is not properly connected or has issues.
  • The wiring is not okay or has problem.
  • Hardware is out of service.
  • Protection system is no longer active.

If you think you surge protector is serving you for a while and it has taken enough hits of power surges, you should consider changing it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

As always I am going to give you some answers to the questions you face in your day to day life since all of us use surge protectors. Lets learn some more.

1. How to tell if my surge protector not working?

It’s hard to tell whether your surge protector is working or not. But in modern surge protectors, there are indicator LED and beepers. If you see a blinking LED or continuous beeping, you can assume your protector is not working properly.

2. Surge Protector Troubleshooting:

To troubleshoot your surge protector, unplug all the devices connected to it. Then press the reset button on it. After resetting check for any LED blinking, alarm or beep; the nature of the indicators will tell you what the problem of your surge protector is.

If there is no problem, there will be a green signal that represents you device is okay. To know the meaning of the indications, see the user manual of your surge protector, as the indications can be different for each brand of protector.

3. How Long Does A Surge Protector Last?

Actually, there is no lifetime of a surge protector. The lifetime depends on the amount of surge hits it has got during its service and the joule rating it has. But in average it is said that a surge protector lasts up to 3 years.

The joule rating mainly indicates how much power surge it can soak up. Suppose you have a surge protector with a joule rating of 2000 joule. It can take a total of 10 surges of 200 joule energy before the functionality of the surge protector ends.

4. Is It Okay To Use A Bad Surge Protector?

If you need to protect your devices then it is not okay to use a bad surge protector. When the protection system of the surge protector is not working properly, it is no better than just a power strip. It is okay to use a power strip as long as you only need more outlets without surge protection.

There are many new models of power strip and surge protectors available right now. You can get the best power strip with USB facilities as well in the market. For ensuring protection you should get a surge protector.

5. Is there an option for a surge protector?

Yes, you can use a UPS. If you go for a fight between a UPS vs. surge protector, I would choose an UPS. It gives you the required protection as well as the uninterrupted power supply too.


I think after reading this article, all the confusions you had about your surge protector being bad or not is dismissed, right? Yeah, I hope so. Because I have articulated all the basics you need to know before you can check your surge protector for faults.

So, if you think your surge protector is not working well for a while or your appliances are not safe, just go for troubleshooting.

Follow the steps I told and take some help from the manual of your protector to ensure what is the condition of it. If you think the protector is bad, you should change for a new one. Try this on your own this time. Good luck.

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