A surge suppressor, more commonly known as a surge protector, acts as a line of defense between an electrical supply and your electronic devices. Sudden surges of electricity, which can provide many thousands of times the normal supply, can cause damage to or even destroy electronics by short-circuiting them. The surge protector redirects the electrical surge to the outlet's ground wire, causing an audible click. Recurring clicking sounds mean your surge protector is experiencing frequent surges and redirecting the electricity safely away.
Potential Lightning Strikes
The most obvious reason for a surge protector is to protect electronics from lightning strikes, which can deliver many millions of volts of electricity through your electrical lines. Lightning does not need to strike your house to cause a power surge; strikes many miles away can cause electrical problems. A surge protector may not offer complete protection from a lightning strike, so unplug electronic devices during lightning storms to avoid possible problems.
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Line Noise and Mini Surges
Line noise is the electronic interference that occurs when appliances or other electrical devices are connected to the same circuit. Your surge protector may be clicking due to mini surges, known as spikes, from the operation of other electronics. Running a blender or vacuum cleaner may cause a temporary surge in the electricity to the outlet your surge protector is plugged in to, causing it to click to divert the excess power. Take note if any other appliances are in operation when the clicking occurs, and move the surge protector to a different circuit to see if it stops.
Surge Protector in Breaker Box
The circuit breaker inside your home's electrical box acts as a built-in surge protector that shuts off the circuit it's connected to if it detects the presence of too much electricity. Loose wiring and damaged or defective fuses can prevent a breaker from tripping properly, which may allow higher amounts of electricity through to your outlets. This can cause your surge protector to click. You can test the flow of electricity in your breakers with a multimeter, or consult an electrician for a thorough inspection and evaluation.
Faulty Portion of Wiring
If the breaker seems operational, you may have a faulty section of wiring along the circuit connected to your outlet. Frayed wires or loose connections can cause unstable amounts of electricity, which can trigger your surge protector into action. Unfortunately, finding faulty wiring can be a tall task for even the most die-hard do-it-yourselfer, so you may need to speak to an electrician for help.
Before you pick up the phone to call a professional, though, you can try plugging the surge protector into a different circuit to see if the outcome changes. Additionally, if you have multiple items plugged into the same suge protector, unplug them one by one to see if a certain item is causing the problem.