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I have a surge protector, why would I need a Firemole?

So, you have a surge protector and you're wondering why you would need a Firemole? Well, this is a question that is asked of us all the time, so we've written this post to clear things up for you.

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Firemole's founder, Sean, worked as an electrician for years so he has plenty of insight into what is actually happening when we plug our devices in and what keeps the lights on around the house. 

(This gets a little technical for a second but we promise it's going somewhere.)

The wires running around our homes have voltage running through them, whether anything is plugged in or not. In some parts of the World, this can be 230 volts and in other parts, it can be 110v and this doesn't change in the home (for the most part). Let's go with 230 volts as an example. If you check the voltage at any point in a home, it should be 230 volts, and this does not change. (It can be a couple of volts above or below but we won't get into that).

The second thing that starts flowing through the cables in your home when you plug something in or turn on a switch, is current. This does change and it depends on what you are powering. Different devices draw different currents. If you have noticed when purchasing appliances, it will say somewhere on the box the power rating of that device, which is typically stated in 'Kw' e.g 2kW or 3kW. Let's say you plug in a 2kW kettle, that means it needs 2000 watts of power to work and after a quick calculation (2000w/230v) this equals 8.6amps, which equals the current needed to power the kettle.

Now let's do the same with a lamp that uses an LED bulb that draws 10w of power. The current needed to power the lamp will be far less than the kettle, and after working it out, it only needs 0.04 amps.

The amount of current used in a home is what you are charged for in your electricity bill, so the greater kW rating, the higher your electricity bill will be. 

So now that you have some info on what's actually happening behind the scenes, let's talk about your surge protector.

Surge protectors will allow a certain amount of power to flow through at any one time. It will stop the flow of power if it goes above the specified amount, therefore protecting your equipment. Its concept is the same as what all the little switches (MCB's) are doing in your electricity supply box. Each switch powers a different part of the house. If the switch is powering lights in the house, it may allow 10 amps to flow at any one time, but if over 10 amps start flowing, it will shut off immediately. The current allowed to flow through a cable depends on the size of that cable. Too much current flowing through can melt the cable and start a fire. (This is why it is always important to hire a qualified electrician)

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Surge protectors add an extra layer of fire safety to a home, but only if too much power begins to flow through it. What surge protectors do not pick up, is temperature. If excess heat is being produced from a device that is plugged into the surge protector, it does not mean excess power is flowing, so the surge protector will think everything is working normally. 

Common causes of excess heat are faulty, ageing or counterfeit devices. If anything becomes loose or damaged inside the part plugged in, it can begin to produce a lot of heat and this will not be picked up by a surge protector. There is an electrical saying, "Loose wires cause fires" and there has never been a truer word spoken.

This is where Firemole comes into play. If Firemole is attached to a surface which is producing too much heat, it will sound the inbuilt alarm, alerting the homeowner and potentially preventing a fire from occurring. Sean saw many instances through his time working as an electrician where a simple early warning of high temperatures could have saved a home. Firemole perfectly compliments fire safety and fire detection measures in a home but it has the added value of giving you an early warning, therefore the possibility of saving your home.

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In closing, surge protectors should be in homes, but they are primarily for protecting sensitive equipment such as laptops and televisions. They do add an extra layer of fire safety but only if too much power flows through it. If the charger or other device is faulty, it will not pick this up.

With children now having so many electronic devices in their rooms, the fire risk in homes has increased hugely and it has become a major concern for parents. Parenting is tough enough as it is, but at least Firemole can give some peace of mind knowing that if high temperatures are picked up from the surface it is attached to, it will sound its alarm.

You can get your Firemoles here