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Old 02-02-2009, 06:15 PM   #1
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Hi;
I'm wondering whether I should invest from between $115 and $315 for a whole-house surge protector.
I was reading data sheets on the CH products, since I am using a CH loadcenter.
I can buy a basic model for about $115, which the comparison sheet indicates is good for appliances (not sure if they are talking about appliances with or without electronics). The most expensive model would cost over $300, but offers protection good enough for computers and other sensitive electronics.

We have a dishwasher and oven that both have electronic controls. Judging by the level of electronics in these appliances, I would put them more into the category with computers and entertainment devices than appliances.

All of our computers, TV's, stereo, etc are already protected by surge strips (good ones)

Would installing the lowest cost protection in the panel do anything to protect the electronics in the large appliances, or will I need more protection for them as well?

I am OK with installing this myself. I just need help in making the decision on whether or not to install.

Thanks

FW

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:48 PM   #2
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Whole House Surge Protection?


This is a good one that we install in peoples houses all the time. Not to expensive and worth every penny

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100396389

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:53 PM   #3
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Mikeholt has an Q&A article on this subject

http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/LSP-HTML/HTML/TVSS-Protection-Questions-and-Answers~20040708.php

I like Levition, you should check their models out.

I have ones with plastic enclosures (sqaure d) but you should get metal enclosures.


How good is your grounding system?

Last edited by rgsgww; 02-02-2009 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:14 PM   #4
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Whole House Surge Protection?


The way I interpreted this process about a year ago in my research was that it's a two stage process. The whole house surge protector works like a sponge and absorbs spikes from entering your home at the breaker box. I installed a GE THSASURGE60 in my GE panel.
Purchased at Lowe's for just over $100. Once the "sponge" or whole house surge protector is consumed (capacitors), it has to be replaced. It's not tripped like a circuit breaker but like a fuse. Models may vary.

The second stage are "point of use" surge protectors and they primarily are used to aid in spikes created within the home. (i.e. - a compressor kicking on from an AC unit or freezer.)

I also chose to purchase a voltage regulator / surge protector for my new plasma TV. http://www.panamax.com/Products/A-V-.../M4300-PM.aspx
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:40 PM   #5
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Guys; Thanks for your help.
I think now would be the time to buy it, not later when the storm season returns. Besides, I realize that surges can come from the line anytime, not just from storms.
I'm going to take a look at the info in the links, and some other searches before I buy anything.
I alredy have a 15A double-pole breaker that I'm not using, and have the open space in the panel for it, so I'm set there.

As far as my grounding system is concerned, I believe it is good. I have never actually tested the ground system though. I would have to get an electrician with the right equipment.
I have grounds to a rod outside, and to the cold water pipe (on the street side of the meter).

Oddly enough, while working in the panel over the weekend, I noticed a large screw of the type used to secure large wires to the ground bus. This screw was lying on the bottom of the panel.
I looked up and found that the screw had fallen out of the terminal to which one of the grounds (either the water pipe or the ground rod) is connected.

I replaced the screw, making sure it was tightened.
I don't know how it came out. I was doing some banging in the panel while breaking out knockouts to bring in new cables, but that alone should not loosen the terminal screws.
I suspect the electrician who installed the panel did not tighten it properly.
I re-checked all of the ground/neutral terminals, and they are all tight.

Thanks

FW
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:44 PM   #6
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Winchester View Post
The way I interpreted this process about a year ago in my research was that it's a two stage process. The whole house surge protector works like a sponge and absorbs spikes from entering your home at the breaker box. I installed a GE THSASURGE60 in my GE panel.
Purchased at Lowe's for just over $100. Once the "sponge" or whole house surge protector is consumed (capacitors), it has to be replaced. It's not tripped like a circuit breaker but like a fuse. Models may vary.

The second stage are "point of use" surge protectors and they primarily are used to aid in spikes created within the home. (i.e. - a compressor kicking on from an AC unit or freezer.)

I also chose to purchase a voltage regulator / surge protector for my new plasma TV. http://www.panamax.com/Products/A-V-.../M4300-PM.aspx
That regulator's a nice looking piece of equipment! Must have cost a bit.
I guess when you spend a couple grand on a TV, you can easily justify spending a couple hundred more on good protection.

Still, I'm amazed at how many people will just plug the $2,000 TV into a wall socket without any protection.
There have even been threads about issues with new TV's causing breakers to pop due to faulty wiring at the receptacle.
The last thing I want to do with any expensive electronics is to plug it in<g>
I don't even use my laptop computer without a surge protector, which goes with it wherever I take it.

FW
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:47 PM   #7
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
This is a good one that we install in peoples houses all the time. Not to expensive and worth every penny

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100396389
I remember Intermatic. They used to make the best all-purpose timers.
I had one plug-in model, and one hard wired.
I am encouraged that the prices for surge equipment are not terribly high.

FW
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:13 AM   #8
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Quote:
Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
I remember Intermatic. They used to make the best all-purpose timers.
I had one plug-in model, and one hard wired.
I am encouraged that the prices for surge equipment are not terribly high.

FW

That unit has a good price, and a nice surge current capacity.

Its not the joules that determine the strength of a surge suppressor.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:40 AM   #9
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Whole House Surge Protection?


If I install one at the main panel, do you think I need others closer to the equipment I really want to protect?
The dishwasher and the oven are on two separate branches, so I would need two more if I was going to add protection closer to the appliance.
It would be nice if I could put the oven, which only uses power for the controls (it's gas fired) on the same branch with the DW, but I cannot, because the wiring to the oven is only 14/2 and the DW is on a 20A branch.
I do not have access to re-wire the oven's receptacle without removing the oven.

FW
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:42 AM   #10
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Whole House Surge Protection?


I too use the same type of high end protector for my media room. A 200 unit to protect 10,000 of equipment is worth it. I live on top of a mountain and have lost equipment many times from lightning strikes. What is a good surge power strip.. not going to happen, I also run a computer company and use 250 APS unit. The batteries do provide surge and strike protection, but the lightning strike kills these units. To test your good power surge, unplug it and see if computer still works? These are better than nothing but are not a safe complete solution. Minor surges happen all the time. My unit in the media room often trips the one line to the sound system. TV's radios and even my new Sub-Zero were zapped last time as well as 6 computers I only had UPS strips on. Thank GOD for insurance. But I haded a whole house protection from smarthome. Using the Panamax Primax unit. (http://www.smarthome.com/4839/Panama...GPP8005/p.aspx ) The Panamax Datasheet says " Designed for installation before the main disconnect as a Surge Arrester or after the main disconnect as a Transient
Voltage Surge Suppressor. I have 35 years of experience and would not trust any big box store items. And it is not likely to least expensive choice. They have good prices on quick moving items and are generally much more costly on all other items. M house used to have a liightning rod protection system that was disconnected years ago during some remodles. My wife wants this back. No issues prior to it being destroyed.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:13 AM   #11
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Whole House Surge Protection?


FYI... some power companies will install protection at the meter base for a small one time fee or a fee per month added to your electric bill. New installations (new construction) requires the NID to be within 20 feet of the main panel to reduce the voltage potential between systems. If you install a whole house you should consider a combination one that protects both the ac system and phone and data/TV. You would bring your grounding from both TV and phone into this type device and of course it wires into your panel to protect the ac.

There certainly is nothing wrong with using point of use spd with the whole house systems. I don't think it would be necessary for your kitchen appliances.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:46 AM   #12
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Here is a nice gas tube coaxial lightning arrestor that I currently have.

http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=20928

It died once on a very close lightning strike.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:41 PM   #13
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Quote:
Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
If I install one at the main panel, do you think I need others closer to the equipment I really want to protect?

FW

In theory, the closer an arrester is to the item it's protecting, the better it is. At some point you'll end up with them all over the house. The whole house is a good start....you'll just need to look at your investment in your other equipment to see if they're worth it.
Keep in mind that no arrester is 100% fail safe. If the surge is close enough and large enough, things will still get damaged.
Our POCO sells an arrester that comes with an insurance policy, which has been pretty good about paying off.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:58 PM   #14
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Mariani View Post
I too use the same type of high end protector for my media room. A 200 unit to protect 10,000 of equipment is worth it. I live on top of a mountain and have lost equipment many times from lightning strikes. What is a good surge power strip.. not going to happen, I also run a computer company and use 250 APS unit. The batteries do provide surge and strike protection, but the lightning strike kills these units. To test your good power surge, unplug it and see if computer still works? These are better than nothing but are not a safe complete solution. Minor surges happen all the time. My unit in the media room often trips the one line to the sound system. TV's radios and even my new Sub-Zero were zapped last time as well as 6 computers I only had UPS strips on. Thank GOD for insurance. But I haded a whole house protection from smarthome. Using the Panamax Primax unit. (http://www.smarthome.com/4839/Panama...GPP8005/p.aspx ) The Panamax Datasheet says " Designed for installation before the main disconnect as a Surge Arrester or after the main disconnect as a Transient
Voltage Surge Suppressor. I have 35 years of experience and would not trust any big box store items. And it is not likely to least expensive choice. They have good prices on quick moving items and are generally much more costly on all other items. M house used to have a liightning rod protection system that was disconnected years ago during some remodles. My wife wants this back. No issues prior to it being destroyed.
This one is more expensive, but a lot better (according to joule rating and KA rating than the Intermatic, but I think the extra 12KA plus CATV/phone protection might be worth the extra cost.
My CATV line currently enters the house a different place than the SE, but it would be very easy for me to re-route it so that it comes in next to the SE so I could use the Panamax's protection for it as well.

I will also check with my POCO to see what they offer.

FW
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:02 PM   #15
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Whole House Surge Protection?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
Here is a nice gas tube coaxial lightning arrestor that I currently have.

http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=20928

It died once on a very close lightning strike.
Currently, I have an APC unit connected to my CATV line in the basement, close to where it comes into the house, and before the amplifier.
Whenever we have had the cable guy to do any work, he has always disconnected this device. I don't know why, except that maybe it's not on his list of "accepted" devices for use with the system. It doesn't do any harm, so I keep it connected.

This one looks to be better than the APC. Don't know whether it would be "approved" by my CATV provider, but I don't really care about what they approve of and do not approve of. It's my equipment I am trying to protect, not theirs<g>

FW

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