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Thread: Do you have a whole house surge protector?

  1. #1
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    Do you have a whole house surge protector?

    Iím thinking about getting a whole house surge protector. Iíd appreciate any input from those of you who have one or anyone who has any info on them.
    Thanks
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    I had one installed this past February. It has not tripped yet so can not testify to its effectiveness. I am happy I did have it installed and would do it again. Had some other electrical work done so the cost was part of that.

  3. #3
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    I actually installed two. One in the garage panel and one in the sub panel in the garage. Both Square D QO panels so easy to install. Bought on ebay for about $40 each. Install as close to main breaker as possible for maximum protection. Mine is a simple snap in breaker style with one neutral wire. takes up a twin breaker slot.
    Other panel makers may have similar.
    Main house pnael is Zinsco so no luck there. Hope to replace that panel in two years.
    Bill D
    Bill D

  4. #4
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    When we installed our new central geo-thermal heat pump a whole house surge protector was required for the full warranty. I installed it myself on the main panel, I think it took about 20 minutes. So far all the lights are green and we've had no issues with any electronics.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Ralph Okonieski;3206122]I had one installed this past February. It has not tripped yet so can not testify to its effectiveness.
    I have no idea how I would know if it tripped or not. It does have green LED. If that is not light it has tripped too many times and the MOSFET is burned out.
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    It i highly recommended that you have one for the shop panel. Every time a big machine is turned off there can be a back surge into the house wiring. That and a vacuum cleaner cause most surges in the house here. We get very little lightening that strikes the ground here.
    Bill D

  7. #7
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    The warranty required that we install a surge protector when we had our mini split installed a bit over a year ago. Both lights are still green so like the others, it looks like it has been all clear since then.

    I think it is a good idea given how many circuit boards are now in the average home.

  8. #8
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    I put one in because my wife works at an electrical supply business, and was able to get one at almost half of retail, so I bought one of the biggest they sold. I figured it was well worth it, considering we have quite a few electronic devices in the houseónot just TVs and computers, but appliances and the like can get wiped out by a lightning strike on the grid, too.

    Simple to installójust have to piggyback the two hot leads onto either the main breaker, or a large 240V breaker, like for an electric dryer or range. My only tricky part was that I had to drill a hole in the breaker panel box to mount the unit and run the wiresóitís an old Pushmatic panel, and didnít have knockouts where I needed one.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  9. #9
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    I installed an Intermatic over ten years ago. Still has two red lights.
    NOW you tell me...

  10. #10
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    The power company here has been pushing them pretty hard. I signed up last month after we had several outages and lightning storms in a short period of time, and a pretty spectacular display of arcing and transformer explosions a block away. They offered three levels of protection, which is really about how much insurance for damages. I picked the lowest. They installed it while no one was home. All work on the outside at the meter. I didnt think I could reset myself if it trips, but will look into it.
    Hobbyist

  11. #11
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    At a previous job, the utility company I was working for was starting to promote those. The caveat was, that 'we' (the 'distribution' substation technicians) had to do the install, since we did actually have the gear to build and and test equipment grounds. I don't mean like 'clamp a wire to a water pipe and call it good', I mean build a substation ground grid and test the ground resistance (in micro ohms) at a precribed distance to ensure that the fault current would follow the desired path.

    The problem was that around there (western Nebraska) the soil was so dang sandy that it was a massive PITA to get decent grounding at a substation. For some random house... pretty sure they'd have to put in *multiple* ground rods (all cad-welded together) to get a low enough resistance. Luckily, I moved on before that project took off. Not my monkey, not my circus.

    That's not to say that I'm not generally in favor of the concept. It's just that if someone is peddling it as a quick fix, they're either snake-oil salesmen (aka marketing), or don't know WTF they're talking about - or both.

  12. #12
    I've often wondered about the effectiveness of any surge protector- especially considering there's been 3 lightning strikes in 2 different houses I've lived in, where in 2 instances individual surge protectors did nothing at all to save the equipment connected to them. When we got our first computer controlled engraving machine back in 1981 it came with a plug-in surge protector, the machine and the Apple IIe computer that ran it were plugged into it. Lighting hit the CB antenna, and we ended up replacing the microwave, mom's small stereo, two TV's, and the Daughter-Board in the Apple. The machine proper showed no ill effects but the computer wouldn't load fonts. The surge protector, which was a one-use-only thing, its light was still on like nothing happened. In August of '91, during my first ever phone call with my now-wife who called me back after our first meet, while I was on a cordless AT&T phone with a long metal antenna no less, and my 2 'weekend' kids were sitting in the living room, BOOOOMM!! And for the next 5 seconds, my entire stereo system which was OFF, was lit up all kinds of bright, the four overhead florescent tubes in the fixture above the kitchen table that were also OFF, were lit. My daughter was scratching her arms from the tingle she felt. My son yelled 'it's like a laser light show in here!' -- Best I recall my TV and stereo system was plugged into a protected power strip, and it didn't seem to help. Or maybe it did and prevented a fire? But the power strip was none the worse for wear. However, to this day my Carver C2000 Preamp has an always-on power switch and a fried time-delay circuit board. How I didn't get zapped on the phone I don't know?

    Best part of the story, we looked at the lightning strike during our first phone call as serendipity; we ended up getting married 6 weeks after we met, going on 31 years ago

    Oh- back on topic - does anyone have a story where a surge protector did work?
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Anderson View Post
    I installed an Intermatic over ten years ago. Still has two red lights.
    Mine (also an Intermatic) has a single green light. When that goes away, there is no resetting, just replacement.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  14. #14
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    There is a class of surge suppressor that, in the event of a surge that it can't handle, has fusible elements that will completely clear the load from the utility. I installed one on a 600A, 3 phase service once that fed an installation that was critical and had the essential loads on battery back up.

  15. #15
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    Never had one. I put sensitive loads (like our server) on a UPS that incorporates low level surge suppression then plug it into a standalone surge suppressor. Haven't yet lost anything, either on or off the UPS. A lightning strike can be a million Joules. How do you decide how big is big enough? I'm pretty sure my system would get fried in a direct hit.

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