Should you test an SPD?

With the increase in the application of surge protection devices to our electrical installations, we have seen an increase in testers being marketed as able to test an SPD.

This raises the question: Should we test SPDs?

The simple answer is no. Any test on an SPD will involve passing voltage though the device to ensure activation, this passing of the voltage will degrade the components within the SPD and therefore shorten the lifespan of the device. The SPD does not know the difference between voltage for test purposes and a surge which it is designed to remove from circuits.

SPDs have certificates of conformity to demonstrate that they are built to the relevant part of the BS EN 61643 series for that type of device. If the SPD is unable to provide protection, weather this is due to a fault within the device itself or that the device has come to the end of its life span, the indication on the device will show the failure.

Realistically, any simple tester that can apply voltage will demonstrate that the SPD will activate when required, just because you can do something, does not necessarily mean that you should.

If you require any assistance on surge protection, please feel free to contact me.

Kirsty Johnson MIET