May 5, 2008

PSA: Surge Protectors and Cats

Guess what? One of my cats who need not be named (probably the one I'd locked in the office yesterday afternoon while the downstairs was being vacuumed then forgot to let out for a few hours) peed in the corner. Not such a bad thing, since they couldn't get to the litter box, except they also managed to pee INTO A POWER STRIP SURGE PROTECTOR!!! The one the window A/C and the fan were plugged in to.

I didn't discover it until today when I went to turn on the fan and it didn't come on, nor did the A/C when I tried it. I didn't notice the pee at first, because it was on the other end from the switch, so I just flipped the switch to reset the surge protector. We've had some power blips on and off the past few days, so I figured it had just reset itself to protect the equipment. But no! Smoke and blue sparks flew out, then it made a fizzing noise and all the lights on the surge protector went out again. I about died. A fire could have started last night and we might not have known about it until it was too late. *shudder*

Luckily it was an APC brand power strip. And APC is simply the most awesome brand of surge protector type stuff I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot because of the computer work I've done over the years.

I once had an APC uninterruptible power supply, which also acts as a surge protector, do the same thing with blue sparks and smoke, in a under screwed up circumstances that have nothing to do with the APC unit itself. (That time the grounding line in the wall was screwed up, not the APC's fault.) Even though it blew so badly it blew out the blue sparks and smoke the PC was unharmed!!! They blow and make a fuss, but save all the equipment attached to it. Not to mention they don't start a fire! I've been an APC fan ever since that UPS blew with sparks and smoke and saved the pc attached to it. Never thoughtmuch about the power strips though.

As you might guess, I STRONGLY recommend APC brand surge protectors and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). When you can watch the thing blow out with smoke and blue sparks, and they still do their job to protect your equipment, and don't start a fire, that is pretty darned awesome.

I also learned that pee accidents can happen with surge protectors, and making sure surge protectors aren't where they can get accidented on and in, is a darned good idea. You might want to check the ones in your house, just in case one of your kitties gets locked into some place and can't get to the litter box. And make sure you have good ones in case something does happen.

I am going out today to buy APC surge protectors to replace every one in the house that isn't already an APC.