Sunday, May 3, 2015

Considering Quality Surge Protectors and Power Strips

Sadly, these don't last forever.

            There are many things on which I spend as little as possible.  Disposables such as facial tissues, isopropyl alcohol, peroxide, powders, cosmetics, aluminum foil, paper plates, cleaning supplies, etc. are often obtained here from the Dollar Tree when I make the long trip to the suburbs from here.  However, there are some things that should not be scrimped upon because their functions are so essential.

There are many options for excellent surge suppressors.

              In each room we tend to have a power strip or surge protector or two.  Before we had whole house lightning arrestors, it was important to have the protection of a surge protector. We lost several fax machines over the years prior to investing in a surge protector.   Traditionally, I have not worried too much about the type and quality of the power strip or the surge protector, especially since we do now have the whole house lightning arrestors and I have been feeling slightly safer. Surge protectors are also nice to have because certain rooms can have the power turned off at the site of the surge protector, saving you at least some electricity.

               This week I learned exactly why you should invest in good quality surge protectors, and perhaps mark them with the date they entered your service so they can be replaced every few years as is the reccomendation..  I have a small refrigerator on the farm which is stocked with immunizations and animal meds which benefit from being kept under refrigeration.  I used to keep some veterinary suppositories there also.   It is simply a good practice to keep medications and immunizations away from human foodstuffs.    I also have several refrigerator thermometers in the animal med frij to ensure that the temperature remains about 40F.  I also do check those temperatures about weekly.  At some points in the year, very little is stored there, with the exception of  some ophthalmic antibiotic cream for horses and alpacas, but at other times of the year, hundreds of dollars worth of immunizations are stored there as they were this month, in anticipation of horse and alpaca Spring immunizations.  This morning, I went to get something from the room in which the animal med frij is located and I noticed I didn't hear the compressor sound which normally runs intermittently.  I decided to look at the light on the surge protector which serves it.  The light signaling its use was off !   I opened the frij to find that it was not only off, but fifty degrees and that it had been off for some time !    A bit more than a week ago, we had a power outage, and when everything else came back on, for some reason, the surge protector serving the barn phone and the refrigerator did not.  I tested it and found that the surge protector, which is now four years old has failed !

               I don't think that I can use the immunizations in the frij with any expectation of their being effective now. This is a terrible shame because I have lost a hundred and fifty dollars worth of Potomac Horse Fever immunizations,  twenty doses of rabies shots,  (state law does not allow a non-veterinarian to administer rabies vaccines to dogs or cats, but does allow me to immunize my horses, and  alpacas.) The rabies shots were about eighty-five dollars. A vial of CDT (clostridial and tetanus diseases) was about twenty dollars.  I also lost a few doses of dog immunizations, a combination vaccine of distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus, for a bit less than ten dollars per each dose.  I will also toss the injectable veterinary antibiotic which would have expired in September of this year anyway.  In all, these were some expensive losses.    I am fortunate that I had not yet ordered the Spring horse immunizations which included both the Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan encephalitises. the tetanus vaccines I use for them, the rhinopneumonitis vaccines and others we use for them annually here.

              So, my message for today is that if you have a device which is mission critical, like a frij which houses immunizations for use once or twice a year, then consider the purchase of a good quality surge protector.  You might do this in order to protect the device itself, or you may do this to protect the contents of a refrigerator etc.   The other aspect of this is that although I try to purchase immunizations in multi-use vials because they are often cheaper, that it may actually be more intelligent only to purchase what you will use, administer them, and then nor have the burden of storage and the potential loss of the biologicals down the line.

A small medication refrigerator can be very helpful, and because it is opened so rarely stays very temperature stable.

             I am heading out to find a quality surge protector, and then I will mark it with purchase date, and replace it when it exceeds its recommended lifespan.  Oh goodness, I wonder what the lifespan of the animal medication frij  itself really is ?