The power grid where I live is very reliable, I haven't experienced a blackout for years. However, my own appartment is very small, and all electrical outlets seem to be connected to a single line. Every time the fridge compressor wakes up, I hear a pop from the PC loudspeakers. All PC components (including the loudspeakers) are plugged into a power strip with integrated surge protection.

Are these power spikes harmful for the speakers? More important, are they harmful for the PC or the monitors? Is there need to do something to prevent them, and if yes, what can I do?


A computer should be able to cope with the occasional fluctuation in power.

It should also be able to cope with the occasional power failure.

The biggest danger is if you get a series of power failures in quick succession and your machine is set to reboot when the power is restored. The multiple power cycles in a short space of time can damage the PSU and/or the computer components themselves.

A few years ago the company I worked for suffered this problem and several machines failed. When the event logs of the ones that could be recovered were checked we found that there had been half a dozen or more power cycles over a few minutes. It was this that caused the damage.

The pop could just be electrical interference rather than a spike or (as is more likely) dip in the power.

Normally I'd recommend putting the computer and the fridge on a separate circuit, but if you only have the one then there's not a lot else you can do, other than buying an UPS or voltage leveller

  • 2
    I agree with what you say except the last part. A better surge protector will not help. He would need a ups or voltage leveler. – sound2man Jul 19 '10 at 15:46
  • 1
    expanding on Sound2man, the reason a surge protector wouldn't work is because you aren't experiencing surges, rather they are dips in the power. A UPS (uninterupted power supply) would provide the additional voltage from a stored battery when the power dips. It can also sustain a computer or other devices for a while in a complete blackout. – Daisetsu Jul 19 '10 at 16:01
  • @sound2man - point taken. I've updated the answer. – ChrisF Jul 19 '10 at 16:05
  • @Daisetsu - indeed. – ChrisF Jul 19 '10 at 16:09

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