Good Morning Everyone,
I have read on a couple of different threads that individual surge protectors are being used on electronics and appliances. Has anyone installed a whole house surge protector? If you have, what kind did you use and is it working for you?
We have whole house surge protectors. I don't know what brand. They seem to be working, as we've had no problems in the 6 or so years since we installed them. Right before we installed them, we got zapped by a lightning strike on a nearby transformer, losing a printer and a couple of other minor things. We also have individual surge protectors on TVs, computers, etc.
I had an entire home surge protector in Florida and it worked awesome. One time my neighbor lost: TV, cable box, answering machine, computer, monitor, etc. I only lost a NIC card on my computer because the DSL line wasn't protected. Another time I had lightning hit a tree 50 feet from my house. Killed the 40 foot tree, so it was a strong strike. I lost nothing in my house. Not even the TV & cable box located 50 feet from the strike.
The surge protector goes in your main breaker box and hangs off a single phase 220 VAC breaker, with a rating 40A I think. There are a couple different types of protectors: gas discharge (can handle multiple surges), and "one shot" (it works once on a big hit & then you have to replace it. Someone told me the latter just have sand in them that flashes & turns to glass in a big surge. Not sure if this is true or not.
The surge protector listed below is the one that Florida Power & Light was charging a fotrune to buy & install. I bought it on-line, had an electrician install it, and saved a few bucks. Here's the protector info:
Rating: 80 kA/phase
UPC Code: 731304019909
Cost: Around $210 when I bought it 2002
Regardless of if you have one of these, you should have UPS units on all sensitive electronics. (TVs, computers, stereos, etc.) Even if you have the entire home protector, I'd have UPSs. Cheap insurance when you consider the value of electronics & data integrity on your computer! (Sidenote: You do backup your data regularly don't you?) A UPS also provides a great deal of surge protection, in addition to the backup.
Hope this helps!
I have read on a couple of different threads that individual surge protectors are being used on electronics and appliances. Has anyone installed a whole house surge protector?
Many different devices are all called surge protectors. The most commonly recommended device is popular due to advertising. And does not claim protection from typically destructive surges. Put ten cent protector parts inside a $4 power strip. Sell it for $25 or $85. That profit margin pays for the advertising, hearsay, and urban myths.
For over 100 years, another protector has been the well proven solution. Found in every facility that cannot have damage. Costs about $1 per protected appliance. Is sized to even earth direct lightning strikes. Without damage even to the protector.
You answer starts with a simple question. Where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate? In the only item that does protection. No protector does protection. An effective protector connects that energy low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to what absorb energy. Single point earth ground.
Protectors that do not claim protection have no dedicated wire. Are too far away from the earthing electrode. And have that massive profit margin created by myths and advertising. The well proven solution is cited by professionals even with numbers. Expect a 'whole house' protector to provide "99.5% to 99.9% protection". But only if properly earthed.
Protectors are simple dumb science. The art is the earthing. If you want effective protection, then most of your questions focus on what absorbs the energy. Most ignore it because they do not see it. Out of sight; out of mind. And yet we all learned even in elementary school science how surge protection is done - Franklin's lightning rods.
A lightning rod is protection for the entire building. It connects direct lightning strikes harmlessly to be absorbed by earth. A 'whole house' protector is protection for building appliances. Both connect direct lightning strikes harmlessly to be absorbed by earth. 100 years of well proven science and experience. Not found in solutions with large profit margins, mythical warranties, and expensive advertising.
Or did you think a 2 cm part inside a power strip was going to stop what three miles of sky could not?
I believe that the reason that most people here on STX who have whole house surge protectors installed is to provide some protection against the WAPA voltage fluctuations that occur for various reasons and not necessarily lighting strikes. Thunderstorms are not nearly as common here as they are on the east coast of the states.
I think, after all your answers, a whole house protector is the way to go. I'm not sure what the UPS protector is, is it just the strips?
The model you recommended stxrocks is still $350 on eBay, I'm watching it and hoping to find it for less. Thank you for the exact info, now I can see the specs and also look for similar units.
You guys are pretty amazing, the wealth of knowledge is impressive and much appreciated.
Happy to assist Tami. If you really want to be bored off your gord, here's a very comprehensive guide on lightning & grounding for residences:
May the force (lightning) NOT be with you... We're on our own with WAPA...