Safeguarding Computers From Power Surges and Outages [Guest Post]

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Safeguarding Computers From Power Surges and Outages [Guest Post]

Jun 14, 2013
Posted by Ben Seidel - Imagine that you're using your computer to finalize a document or send out an agenda with critical last minute details, and the power goes out due to a storm (especially if you live in the Midwest, like me). Your computer instantly shuts down, and you are left wondering, "So, when was the last time I hit that save button?"

What many do not realize is that you are not only facing lost files, but your computer can also be harmed. Irregular power surges, voltage drops (brown outs), and outages can all cause irrevocable damage the internal components of your computer.

For instance, electrical surges are one of the leading causes for hard drive failure, which we have seen and experienced firsthand. One of my small-business clients had three hard drives fail in a matter of months, most likely caused by power surges. We installed a UPS to regulate the voltage and protect against surges, and they have not had an issue* with a hard drive for over two years.

Thus, we recommend using an UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) to protect both the files you are working on and the costly components within your computer.

What is a UPS?

An Uninterrupted Battery Supply, more commonly known as a battery backup, primarily acts as a powerful surge protector in conjunction with an automated battery backup upon power failure. Also, most UPS systems monitor the power feeding from the outlet, and if it detects an irregularity, the UPS will automatically cycle to battery power until the irregularity ceases.

UPS systems serve multiple purposes:

  • UPS systems protect against most power problems including power surges, outages, and brown outs.
  • UPS battery backups immediately cycle to battery power when the power from the outlet fails. This allows you to complete your work and shut down your electronics properly.
    • Some UPS systems even come with programmable software that will safely shut down your computer after a certain period of time after the power goes out.
  • Some UPS options feature built-in LCDs which show real-time vitals such as battery capacity, wattage consumption, estimated battery runtime and more.
  • UPS systems feature different wattage outputs and battery power runtimes based on their specifications and the electronic devices to which it will be connected.  For example, a midrange desktop computer system with an LCD monitor may be able to run between 15-35 minutes using a 900 watt unit.

We would strongly encourage you to protect your computer systems and files by buying a UPS system. If you have any questions about the uses of UPS systems or which system is right for you, feel free to contact us at

*Disclaimer: Many reasons exist which cause hard drive failure.  A UPS system alone will not guarantee that a hard drive will not fail.  However, it is shown to reduce the chance of failures due to power irregularities.

The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

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