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  1. #1
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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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    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
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    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
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    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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    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
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    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
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    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    Quote Originally Posted by mikefln View Post
    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.
    Nonsense. A popular myth dispelled even in the early 20th century.

    Ham radio operators would disconnect their antenna leads. Even put that antenna cable inside a mason jar. And still suffer damage. Damage stopped only when the antenna lead was earthed.

    So your telco disconnect phone service all over town with each thunderstorm? That is what you have posted. Their computer connected to overhead wires all over town suffers about 100 surges with each thunderstorm. So how many times last year was your town without phone service for four days? Never.

    Guess what. Routine is to have direct lightning strikes and no damaged electronics. Why? Because your telco does what was done even 100 years ago. And homeowners can do same. The one and necessary protector - so that direct lightning strikes cause not damage even to the protector - costs about $1 per protected appliance.

    What provides protection? The single point earth ground connected 'less than 10 feet' from the protector. What do professionals do if lightning causes damage? Find and correct a defect in their protection system. IOW they start by inspecting or upgrading what actually provides protection - single point earth ground.

    What do so many older homes no longer have? Earth ground. How many homeowners know that only they are responsible for proper earthing? How many homeowners know what to look for? How many owners know a protector is only as effective as that earthing? I do believe this is completely new to many homeowners. That earthing must meet code for human safety. And must exceed code for transistor safety.

    Those who never learn this declare, "Woe is me. Nothing can protect from lightning." Also called ignorance. Itís been done routinely throughout the world for over 100 years.

    Concepts are so simple. Franklin demonstrated them in 1752.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Whole House Surge Protector

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    Nonsense. A popular myth dispelled even in the early 20th century.

    Ham radio operators would disconnect their antenna leads. Even put that antenna cable inside a mason jar. And still suffer damage. Damage stopped only when the antenna lead was earthed.

    So your telco disconnect phone service all over town with each thunderstorm? That is what you have posted. Their computer connected to overhead wires all over town suffers about 100 surges with each thunderstorm. So how many times last year was your town without phone service for four days? Never.

    Guess what. Routine is to have direct lightning strikes and no damaged electronics. Why? Because your telco does what was done even 100 years ago. And homeowners can do same. The one and necessary protector - so that direct lightning strikes cause not damage even to the protector - costs about $1 per protected appliance.

    What provides protection? The single point earth ground connected 'less than 10 feet' from the protector. What do professionals do if lightning causes damage? Find and correct a defect in their protection system. IOW they start by inspecting or upgrading what actually provides protection - single point earth ground.

    What do so many older homes no longer have? Earth ground. How many homeowners know that only they are responsible for proper earthing? How many homeowners know what to look for? How many owners know a protector is only as effective as that earthing? I do believe this is completely new to many homeowners. That earthing must meet code for human safety. And must exceed code for transistor safety.

    Those who never learn this declare, "Woe is me. Nothing can protect from lightning." Also called ignorance. Itís been done routinely throughout the world for over 100 years.

    Concepts are so simple. Franklin demonstrated them in 1752.
    The grounding electrode is for lightening protection but has little to do with human safety and does not guarantee against lightening damage. Anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of lightening knows that it is static electricity and doesn't always follow the path of least resistance. Lightening will travel tens of thousand of feet through a highly resistive air gap to ungrounded items like other clouds and even air planes. It requires no return to the source and can enter a house or building through or on the ground wire. If lightening always took the path of least resistance to ground the safest practice would be to make sure nothing in the house was grounded and supplied such a path.

    99.9% of the damage caused by lightening is not direct strikes, it is induced surges that the lightening creates in power lines and teleco lines, and mostly teco lines.

    There is no device that guarantees against lightening damage.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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