How To Tell If a Surge Protector Is Bad? 4 Steps To Be Sure

Surge protector has gone and needs replacing
Surge protector has gone and needs replacing

Learning how to tell if a surge protector is bad could be beneficial because there is no way of calculating hits that it might have taken or how well it has been working overtime.

Tell If a Surge Protector Is Bad

Well, there is no concrete or quantitative way to tell if your Surge Protector needs changing or its been wearing out.

But what you can do is look for qualitative ways, the tell-tale signs, to be sure that there is something wrong with the protector and that it is time you invested in a new one.

In this article, we bring you those qualitative methods you can use to ensure that your house and the appliances remain safe the next time there is a power surge

How To Tell If a Surge Protector Is Bad? Simple and Proven

You can tell if a Surge Protector has gone bad by looking for any blinking lights on the device, checking its temperature, and examining the device for any damages or worn-out signs. An electrician can judge the condition for you. 

A Surge protector has become a necessity for every modern home at this point because you never know when a power surge is going to hit your area and leave your devices burnt out or, worst, on fire.

The device acts like a barrier between the power surges and the devices, so when there is a high influx of electricity, the Surge protector will absorb the excess amount and will efflux only the needed Joules of electricity.

The normal protector works in Joules, and you cannot measure how much Joules of electricity it has absorbed or how much it can absorb more. A common Surge protector has a capacity of 1000 Joules, so if it has taken 2 hits of 500 Joules, it is about time you replace it.

In case you do not replace it after its full capacity has been used, the next surge will cause the devices to fry up, and if it is a big one, they might also catch fire.

Unfortunately, you cannot get the exact amount of Joules absorbed, so you need to act on your intuition here. Fortunately, you can use the following qualitative methods to judge the condition of a Surge protector and replace it if need be before any disaster strikes. 

– Step 1: Check the Blinking Lights 

Every Surge protector comes with a set of lights that will blink when the protector has reached its peak of absorbance after multiple hits.

These lights may be red or green color or any other color for that matter because there is no rule on the set color of lights. After each power surge, check if there is any blinking light. If there is, immediately replace the Surge protector. 

Because the lights are also on the device, there is no way of telling if they are working fine after a power surge. They might also get broken after a power surge, and all you can do is follow your gut feeling.

– Step 2: Check the Temperature of the Device 

The next step in checking if your Surge protector is in a sound condition or not is by checking the temperature of the device.

Check the Temperature of the Device 

If it feels extraordinarily hot on the touch, there is something very wrong with the device, and you need to replace it immediately. The higher the temperature, the higher the absorbed electricity, and the higher the chances of it being on fire during the next surge. 

– Step 3: Check the Overall Condition of the Device

This step is purely based on your intuition. Inspect the overall condition of the device. Look for any burning smells around it, any damaged buttons, exposed insulations, and broken outlets.

A worn-out Surge protector is a definite sign that you need to replace it with a new one. You can judge the overall of a Surge protector and make a decision. 

Make sure to give it a wipe with a dry cloth to eliminate the dusty look as an accessory to the worn-out look of the protector. This should help things be put into a clearer perspective. 

– Step 4: Call an Electrician

The last stop is to call an electrician and have him take a look at the device. Normally, you need to change the protector every few years, but this is highly circumstantial.

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If you live where the electricity positively surges quite a few times, you will need to replace the device sooner than others. The electrician can give you an estimate after knowing your circumstances well. 


– How To Tell If the Fuse Is Broken Inside a Surge Protector?

You can tell that a fuse is broken inside a Surge protector if one of the outlets does not work while the others do. It is a matter of hit and trial, and you can do this by plugging in different devices in the outlets and seeing what works. 

The fuse can be broken because of various reasons. Sometimes, the fuse can be joined again and the protector will work as brand new, and sometimes it is unfixable. So your best bet is to get it checked by an electrician. 

– What To Do If I Spill Water on My Surge Protector?

If you spill water on your Surge protector, the best thing to do is to plug the extension cord out of the wall socket and take it out in the sun. The heat from the sun will dry it up. Wait for some days before you plug anything in again. 

If you cannot wait for a long time, use a hair dryer or a low-power blower to get rid of all the water droplets inside the protector. If you plug it into a wall socket while it has water inside and plugs any devices into it, the protector might spark and catch fire. Make sure to dry it completely before use. 


In this article, we talked about the ways you can tell if your Surge protector has gone and needs replacing, but in case you missed anything, here is a short review:

  • Replace your Surge protector every few years despite its condition and known electricity surges. 
  • The Surge protector takes hits in the form of Joules, and the most hits it can take normally are 1000 Joules collectively. 
  • A red light on the Surge protector is an indication that you need to replace it in addition to a worn-out look, burning smells, and broken insulations on the device. 
  • An electrician can help you in judging if your protector needs to be replaced or when it needs to be replaced. 

Here we come to the end of the article. We hope it was an informative read for you. Stay Safe and check that Surge protector!


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