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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we are recovering from a lightning strike on the property. Tripped every breaker, melted a few GFI's, took out the control board in the air handler, laptop drives, etc., etc. Can someone give me some advice on lightning arrestors and surge suppressors? I just put in two 12' ground rods, as I'm not sure what the builder put in, but I want to provide more protection at the service entrance and at the larger equipment (hot water heater, AC/air handler, etc. I've looked online and found a couple manufacturers but I would like some feedback before I put the money out. Thanks
 

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Master Electrician
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you can get surge protection that's built right into your panel and protects your whole house. It's just a small unit that goes one the outside of your panel. Be advised that they are normally a one time use and once they do their job they need to be replaced. your looking at about $500 for the unit and you need a spare double pole breaker for it to connect to.
 

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Did your house have ground rods? What did you do with the wiring from them?

I install TVSS's when the customer wants them, but I pick whatever model the supply house has in the customer's price range. I do not know how well they work in real situations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There is a single ground rod from the builder but I do not know the length. I installed two 12' rods 25' apart and ran new wire from these to the electrical panel in place of the old wire. One of the arrestors I found was made by Liebert. I was always comfortable with their equipment when I worked as a service guy, in a previous life, but not sure if this will be what I need. The way I look at it, if I can prevent some or most damage from another strike, it will save me money in the long run.
 

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Installing a surge suppression system is good but nothing will prevent damage from a direct strike. Even a nearby strike might overwhelm the suppression system.

The best method is a two step approach, one at the panel and another at the point of use.
 

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Installing a surge suppression system is good but nothing will prevent damage from a direct strike. Even a nearby strike might overwhelm the suppression system.

The best method is a two step approach, one at the panel and another at the point of use.
absolutely agreed

Based on the amount of damage, the best lighting arrestor system around might not have saved you anything. Sounds like a very close or even direct strike.

as a lighting protection installer told me one time: All we do is try to get the lightning to go where we want it to. Doesn't mean it is actually going to cooperate.

If you want the best you can do: install a lightning protection system; air terminals, proper conductor, the whole 9 yards. Then, a TVSS at the panel and then point of use protection.

Now, my theory is; offer to assist in the cost of installing a lightning protections system on the neighbors house and hope the lightning hits his system due to the good ground source and leaves your house alone.:laughing:
 

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We had a near hit...not sure where
Lost 3 GFCI's, pool pump timer, one 5 year old computer, 27" TV that was free
Main TV & other computer are on UPS - unaffected
Now each PC will be protected & the TV's
Plus I want to install a panel surge
I have 2 ground rods @ main panel, + 2 at the pool cabana
 

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We had an instance that a tree fell down the road, and brought down the power lines. One side was still alive, but also feeding back on the Neutral side, so had to flip the Main breaker on our box. I am sure without the TVSS that we would have had more problems. The wife could not figure when I started yelling to throw the main breaker, why my concern. Gee, computer kept trying to restart, light bulbs on the one good leg where going between dim and very bright.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I figured that I can only "suggest" where the lightning should go and it may or may not cooperate. I just want to do the best I can to help minimize. I should have mentioned that the computer and TV projector that are on APC surge/battery systems survived just fine so I'm a definite believer in them now. I want to provide another level of protection at the main service panel and at the feed to the AC system.
 

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I figured that I can only "suggest" where the lightning should go and it may or may not cooperate. I just want to do the best I can to help minimize. I should have mentioned that the computer and TV projector that are on APC surge/battery systems survived just fine so I'm a definite believer in them now. I want to provide another level of protection at the main service panel and at the feed to the AC system.
then is sounds like a TVSS is in the works.

Have you verified that your APC UPC's are still functioning properly? I don't remember much about the units you have but some systems are sacrificial in their actions. Obviously they could have also simply been damaged.
 
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