Surge protectors are used in almost each and every household due to the amount of safety they provide. However, they often have different status LEDs. Each of these surge protector lights meaning can help with troubleshooting.

The color of the LEDs can vary between different brands and models. However, the common statuses tend to be, Grounded, Protected, Over-Voltage and Under-Voltage. Some surge protectors may have only one of these, and some may have more.

Throughout this article, I will explain some of the most common surge protector indicator lights and their purpose. As well as teaching you how you can diagnose your surge protector based on these lights.

Surge Protector Lights and Their Functions

What Do Different Surge Protector Lights Mean?

Each surge protector indicator light stands for a particular status of the surge protector. Such as Grounded and Protected. I will provide a description below with an explanation of the surge protector lights meaning.

One thing to keep in mind is that the number and status of LED light indicators will vary between different brands and models of surge protectors.

Protected/Not Protected: 

If the surge protector indicator LED for “Protected” is turned off, this means that the appliances plugged into the surge protector will not be protected from power surges. But if it is turned on, that means the appliances are safe from surges.

Grounded/Not Grounded: 

The “Grounded” LED turns on when a correctly grounded AC outlet is found within the circuit. 

If the “Grounded” LED is turned off that indicates that there may be a faulty connection to the ground wire. And that the surge protector will not work as intended.

Over-Voltage (+): 

The light or LED for excessive voltage will be turned on if the protector notices a voltage spike above the anticipated incoming voltage level. 

However, this will almost always depend on the region of the surge protector. As different regions have a different supply voltage compared to the others in most cases.

Under-Voltage (-): 

The LED light for under-voltage will be turned on if the surge protector notices a voltage dip under the anticipated incoming power level. 

It is similar to the “Over-Voltage”, but in the opposite sense. This will also depend on the region of the targeted user base. As supply voltage can vary from one region to another.

These are some of the most common LED light indicator statuses. With this list, you will be able to diagnose your surge protector status easily.

What Does It Mean When a Surge Protector Light Starts Flickering?

The surge protector light flickering can indicate several problems with the surge protector or the LED. It will vary based on the brand and model. Let’s explore some of the most common flickering indicators.

Fig 1- Indicator Lights on a Surge Protector
Fig 1- Indicator Lights on a Surge Protector

The little neon indicator light may start to flicker as it gets older, but your surge protector is probably still functioning properly. Despite LEDs being more common these days, certain power strips and surge protectors still use neon indications.

But what if the lights are out?

Now, if the surge protector is on and the indicator light is out, this is a sign that the surge protector MOVs have failed. The power strip will continue to function normally, but if surge protection is required, it needs to be replaced.

The red light on surge protector flickering can mean two things. Either it means that the surge protector has been damaged by a severe surge and a new one should be purchased. Or it may indicate that the LED has worn out.

Sometimes, an orange light on surge protector may replace a red LED. It will depend on which model you have. Usually, the instruction that comes with the surge protector should contain a detailed explanation of these indicators.

And also, often times you will find a label around the LED indicators to dictate what each of these LEDs stands for.

Can Surge Protector Lights Detect when It Has Gone Bad?

Yes, it is possible to tell when a surge protector has gone bad based on the status of the LED lights. There are several other key symptoms that might indicate that a surge protector is bad.

If you find that the protected light or the red LED has been turned off, that may indicate that the MOV or the metal oxide varistor has been damaged and can no longer provide protection to your appliances.

What should I do if my surge protector has gone bad?

In such a scenario it is always advised to replace the surge protector with a new one to ensure the safety of the appliances from power surges.

The capacity of a surge protector cable is also limited. The wires may become worn down and have their insulation compromised as a result of heavy usage and high loads.

You may also find that the surge protector is often hot to the touch. This could also indicate an underlying issue with the surge protector. You need to attend to this before this leads to electrical fires.

What to do if the “Grounded” is turned off?

If the “Grounded” LED is not turned on, that means that the surge protector has failed to find a decent pathway to the ground on the said circuit. Meaning that it cannot provide the required safety properly.

In such a case, if you continue using it on this circuit, it could cause a problem for your appliances as well as the surge protector.

The best course of action in this situation is to either properly ensure a decent ground pathway for the system. Or to use the surge protector on a different circuit, which has a secure connection to the ground.


If you were unaware of the surge protector lights meaning, this article should help you understand what they mean and how you may need to diagnose the surge protector.

Surge protectors are a great safeguard for your electrical appliances. If you find that there may be something wrong with your surge protector, you should opt to get them replaced as soon as possible.

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