Advice on whole house surge protectors

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  #1  
Old 09-01-07, 04:03 PM
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Advice on whole house surge protectors

Hello. I am looking for some advice on whole house surge protectors. I was thinking of installing a circuit breaker-type surge protector in my load center (e.g., siemens qsa2020, can't seem to find the qsa2020tvss).

Then I started comparing the technical specs of this type versus the separate devices that are feed via a breaker or subfeed (e.g., panamax GPP8005). The separate devices seem to offer better performance. A few questions:

1. Does anyone have a recommendation on type (breaker-integrated or separate)?
2. If separate, is there a popular brand/model for residential use?
3. If separate, should the device be tapped in at the meter box before the main breaker?

Thanks very much for your advice.
 
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Old 09-01-07, 05:55 PM
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There recently was a story on my local TV about these. The power company wants $167 for the device and installation which probably isn't too bad, but then wants $2 per month forever for a "warranty". The story suggested getting a few plug in surge protectors for major items. Depends on whether you live in lightening alley, or your chances of a surge are 1 in 100 years.
 
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Old 09-01-07, 06:26 PM
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I work in commercial so I've never done or seen a residential TVSS. I would definitely think that a seperate surge suppression device would work much better. I can't imagine that a breaker would be any better than a plug stip. I'd think that, even if it saved your appliances during a lightning strike, your panel would be toast.
 
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Old 09-01-07, 06:27 PM
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I'm in the lightning Capital of the US (sw FL ) we have one by square D the electrician installed for me when we upgraded our service about 10 years ago .

it takes up two slots like a 240 breaker at the bottom of the panel

Its worked great so far , haven't had any damage
 
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Old 09-01-07, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mango man View Post

Its worked great so far , haven't had any damage
but have you been hit with a major surge from lightning or any other cause?

Sometimes, TVSS's are like wearing magnetic bracelets. It is hard to determine if they actually do any good because as long as they do no harm and you have not been presented with a harmful situation, it is impossible to prove they work, or not.
 
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Old 09-01-07, 11:01 PM
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Lightning is a funny thing. You can get a direct hit and not receive any damage, or it can hit across the street and you're toast.

We received a direct hit a few years ago, even blew out a chunk of the foundation wall (solid concrete). Lost the control board on the heat pump, and that was it. A whole house suppressor wouldn't have done anything (IMO), as I think the bolt hit the line between the breaker panel and the unit itself, as the panel and the unit are on opposite ends of the house.

That being said, all my electronics (including all TV's) have APC battery backups with built in surge protection on them.
 
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Old 09-02-07, 06:55 AM
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I had a surge a few weeks ago. A couple of MOV-based power strips sacrificed themselves, which was a good thing. I am concerned that without a whole house protector of some kind, my appliances, furnace and other hardwired devices are at higher risk.

The manual for the panamax device mentioned above indicates that the best installation is at the meter box with insulation displacement connectors. Any comments on this?
 
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Old 09-02-07, 07:31 AM
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It would be up to your local POCO, as far as I can see. Around here, nothing is allowed to be in the meter base except explicitly what the POCO allows.

I would suggest it be connected at the line side of the main. That would allow exactly the same placement except it would actually add the service feeder.
 
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Old 09-02-07, 07:35 AM
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My advice is to install a seperate device (like the panamax). I have the Eaton / Cutler Hammer unit shown here (http://eatoncanada.ca/surge/primaryprotection.html) and I hope it will work great. I dont live in area where lightning strikes are common however I am a bit of a protection and safety nut, LOL.

In PenDragons case, if a lightning bolt hits your house somewhere between the meter/panel and any device, he is right , a surge suppressor wouldnt have done jack , but in such a case ,I would be much more worried about a fire then the loss of a few appliances.

Remember, these units are designed to protect against surges which are coming in through the service ( transmission lines, lightning strike,faulty transformers etc.) , but I still highly recommend the units.
 
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