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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Wink Whole House Surge Protector

    Does anyone have any experience with (as an installer or end user) whole house surge protection? Our neighbors have been experiencing some terrible problems with surges and resulting damage (including to buried feeder cables from their transformer to their house). We're all on single phase, with each of us having our own pole mounted transformer. So far, our house has been fortunate not to have experienced any problems (probably because they have been transformer-related), but are concerned we would be next.

    I see units ****** that cost about $200-$300 and are integrated into the wiring on the load center using a small length of conduit. Siemens is one manufacturer.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, opinions?

    Thanks. John......

  2. #2
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    Howdy they work very well about $500 installed. Better is to have this and on each TV or computer its own surge protector.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    16

    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougars1996 View Post
    Does anyone have any experience with (as an installer or end user) whole house surge protection? Our neighbors have been experiencing some terrible problems with surges and resulting damage (including to buried feeder cables from their transformer to their house).
    No protector provides protection. Protection is what the effective protector connects to - earth ground. Whereas the breaker box protector does connect each wire short to earth, a protector at the TV does nothing - and does not claim to do anything in numeric specs.

    Home protection is the secondary protection layer provided by one thing - single point earth ground. Every wire in every cable must connect to earth where it enters the building. Cable TV and satellite dish do that with a wire from the coax cable to earth ground. AC electric and telephone must make that connection via a 'whole house' protector. In each case, only the single point earth ground does the necessary energy dissipation. If any wire connects to a different earth ground, then damage has been made easier.

    Each protection layer is defined only by the earth ground - the only component always required in every surge protection system. Primary protection layer also must be inspected:
    http://www.tvtower.com/fpl.html

    Protection is required on every wire - overhead and underground.

    One example of a surge: the current is an electrical path from cloud to distant earthborne charges. That path may be from cloud to utility wires. Down the street to a home at the end of that wire. Then through that transformer, into the home, through appliances, destructively out to earth ground, then into the backyard. Those charges being maybe another mile beyond the backyard.

    Damage because the connection to those distant charges was not diverted into earth - found a more conductive path through the house. A path that no plug-in protector would provide. A path that need not enter the house if that 'whole house' protector connects even shorter to better earthing.

    BTW, a minimally sized 'whole house' protector is about 50,000 amps. Large enought to conduct a direct lightning strike to earth - without even damage to the protector. Such devices also provided by General Electric, Intermatic, Leviton, and Square D. The Cutler-Hammer solution is less than $50 in Lowes and Home Depot.
    Last edited by westom; 02-03-2010 at 12:30 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    In truth there is very little that can protect against lightening. Lightening is static electricity and does not follow the normal rules of electricity. It can even enter on the ground line, roll across the top of fences, and jump great distances.

    Most surge suppressors use MOV technology and have a switch time of about 100ms while a lightening pulse can be as fast as 100ns. Surge suppressors work well for surges caused by switch arching or counter emf caused by large machinery shut down but have little affect on lightening surges.

    Proper grounding provides some protection but is no guarantee against lightening. Probably the best protection is an uninterpretable power supply(UPS), however whole house UPSs are very expensive and the input side may be destroyed by a lightening strike and need to be replaced.

    Often times a surge or lightening is blamed when the actual cause is a faulty transformer or poor connection.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    Ditto Jack'spost.
    To add -- whole house surge protectors or TVSS systems are degined for surges on the lines as Jack mentioned ------- rarely if at all will they offer any warranty for lightning strikes ---- nothing can protect against those.

    By the way --- you should still use the point of use surge protection in combination with the TVSS.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Shamokin, Pa.
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    645

    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    In truth there is very little that can protect against lightening. Lightening is static electricity and does not follow the normal rules of electricity. It can even enter on the ground line, roll across the top of fences, and jump great distances.

    Most surge suppressors use MOV technology and have a switch time of about 100ms while a lightening pulse can be as fast as 100ns. Surge suppressors work well for surges caused by switch arching or counter emf caused by large machinery shut down but have little affect on lightening surges.

    Proper grounding provides some protection but is no guarantee against lightening. Probably the best protection is an uninterpretable power supply(UPS), however whole house UPSs are very expensive and the input side may be destroyed by a lightening strike and need to be replaced.

    Often times a surge or lightening is blamed when the actual cause is a faulty transformer or poor connection.
    Jack
    I agree. I also think a google post is in one of these replies.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2009
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    Alpharetta, Ga
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    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    If you don't have one, get one. The most important rating is the response time and the amount of energy the unit can displace a once. Many whole house surge protectors come with warranties that include direct lightening strikes. I would do some research ******.

    Get a qualified electrician from a well known local company to do the installation so that you have some recourse in the event of a failure. A single man shop will not have any clot with the makers of unit compared to a company that installs hundreds of those a year. Plus, if the maker of the unit says its a problem with the protector, you want a company with some resources to go after.

    Lastly, have the electrician that installs the surge protector check your grounding system, ground rods, and connections. Proper bonding and grounding goes a long way in preventing damage during a lightening strike.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    9

    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    If you are that concerned about surges caused by lighting the only thing to 100% save your equipment is to unplug it during the storm.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    1

    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    We bought our 1967 ranch in late 1999, and spent the next ten months rehabbing before moving in because the well-built house had been horribly let go. In addition to gutting the kitchen and both baths, we replaced the septic system, heating system, roof, and the electrical from the outside line in. Only the bedrooms and living room kept their original wiring, and that only to the nearest junction boxes. All switches and light fixtures were replaced. Our electrician was excellent. He installed the new boxes (we added a separate one in the garage), and hooked everything up. My husband ran all the wiring, and he was meticulous.

    So, when appliances started screwing up over the couple of years, we blamed the appliances. Well, the lightning strike that hit our properly-grounded dog fence took out the television. But, mostly, we cursed the appliances until one day I was watching the furnace being repaired (under warranty) for the third time in a year when the guy commented, "Your area must have had some surge last night; This is my third stop in a quarter mile." Right then, the bells in my head went off so loud people in the next county must have thought it was Sunday.

    I started researching whole-house surge suppressors that day, and had best choice and cost of installation all figured out when I followed a thread about a power company in another state that offered it as an add-on service. I looked up our power company, and sure enough, they'd just started the same thing. For $67 up front, and $5/mo thereafter, they installed a whole-house surge suppressor and provided us with five point-of-use suppressors and a full-replacement warranty on all appliances, systems, and electronics should a surge get through. Also, they'll replace the suppressor itself if it gets fried.

    We've not had a single electronic failure In the six years since we had it put in, which is pretty remarkable considering the whole town sits on top of granite, so we get pounded by lightning any time there's a storm. We've had hits on trees within fifty feet of the house several times. Our cost to date is approximately $375, which is, if you include the cost of the five high-quality POU's, about what I'd have spent to buy a similar unit and have it installed. From here on, I'd say the $5/mo is well worth the peace of mind. Not having to listen to hubby rant about repairing flaky appliances; now, that is priceless.

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