Although it's not a hard and fast rule, I'd be suspicious of using any power strip with a burned out indicator light.
Your surge strip has two main components - a power distribution bus, and a surge suppression circuit. It is not uncommon to lose surge protection, but still have the strip continue to provide power to the sockets. So just because your strip continues to distribute power doesn't mean it's ok to use.
The surge protection component in your power strip uses one of two protection mechanisms - either a varistor
or a 'gas discharge' arrestor
. Most of the lower power (and lower priced) strips go with the less expensive varistor (also called an MOV) component.
These components age over time, and suffer varying degrees of damage each time they clamp down on a voltage spike. One big hit will kill them outright. But they can be also damaged, over time, by a series of much smaller hits. And once the damage to the varistor reaches its failure point, the component can fail catastrophically. You might hear a pop, and maybe even get some smoke, or find scorch marks on the casing should that happen. If it does, junk the strip immediately.
Although there is probably some risk of a fire following a catastrophic failure, I wouldn't be overly concerned about that happening. Any surge hot enough to fry your strip, and start a fire, will probably take out your house's service panel and power mains. If that happens, a baked power strip will be the least of your fire risk problems.
Fortunately, most strips don't fail catastrophically. Instead, they fail quietly, and just stop working. At which point, your "super-deluxe computer grade power management strip" becomes nothing more than a very pretty extension cord.
Which brings us to the little power light...
Unless your model has an indicator light showing the status of the surge protection component, you'll have no way of knowing whether or not it is working properly. Not having such an indicator light can be a real problem because it isn't possible to make that determination visually. Better surge suppressors have separate power
indicator lights. Some even have additional indicators for missing ground connections and hot/neutral lead reversal problems. If you have a less well engineered strip, all you'll probably have is a light built into the power rocker switch. And from a diagnostic viewpoint, that light could mean anything - or nothing much at all.
What you will need to do is locate some documentation for the strip you own. Each brand does things differently. On some strips, protection is working when a light is on. On other strips, a lit protection indicator means the protection circuit has failed. Browse the manufacturer's site and locate the user guide, or e-mail their tech support people if you can't find anything.
If your strip used to have a lit power indicator, and now it doesn't, something isn't right. It could be something as minor as the neon light inside the switch has burned out. But it could also mean your surge suppression circuit is no longer working. And it could also indicate some other problem as well. I've seen some surge strips have that light come on because of a bad plug ground connection. Try plugging the strip into a different outlet and see if the light comes back on. If it does, you might want to have somebody take a look at the outlet you originally had it in. Surges can damage wall outlets just as easily as they can affect what's plugged into them.
My Dad trained as an electrician when he was in the Navy. He had a rule of thumb for anything that got plugged into a wall:
"When in doubt - have it checked - or throw it out."
Over the years, I've learned that's pretty good advice.