I need to pick a whole house surge protector

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-14-09, 09:07 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: VA Beach
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I need to pick a whole house surge protector

Ok, Iíve had enough.
I live in VA Beach, VA, in a neighborhood with above ground power lines and we lose power EVERY little storm that blows through. When we donít lose power we have surges and so far this year Iíve had to replace three computer power supplies, the WII power supply, two radios, two strip surge protectors, one kitchen light and a mess of light bulbs, many of these items were plugged into power strips/surge protectors. So, Iím ready to buy a whole house surge protector to give us as much protection as possible.
The question is, do I go with a model like this:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

Or do I use the one my local power company can install a ďmeter mounted surge protectorĒ, it is 89 to install and 5.00 a month fee.
I am leaning towards the intermatic due to price alone but I have zero clue if these things are worthwhile. I donít want buy the ďcheaperĒ unit if it isnít going to provide a reasonable amount of protection. I also donít want to pay a monthly fee for the rest of the time I own this home but I am willing to do so if that is the smart thing to do here.
Looking for some advice, Thanks in advance.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-15-09, 04:48 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
HD is doing updates so their site is unavailable at this time. Price alone isn't a good choice. Not sure what the initial price of the surge protector from HD is, but the $89 to your poco is your purchase price and the $5 is an insurance policy. If anything goes wrong with the Intermatic you have to fight with Intermatic for settlement of downline problems. With the poco it is all covered and you usually won't have a problem with them. Theirs is designed for the situation as well. IMO, go with the poco.
Wait on others to respond, as they may have had other experiences.
 
  #3  
Old 11-15-09, 08:58 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: VA Beach
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the input Chandler.

I am going to contact the power company on monday and get the low down on their supressor.

I totally understand what you mean about the difference in service and that's the one thing I want to talk to Dominion about, I want to see what their specific policies are etc. I'm going to be pissed if I put theirs in and two months later I loose another item and it takes months to resolve it, that's my biggest fear with them, that they put soo much red tape in place you'll never file a claim.

Thanks again.

Tim
 
  #4  
Old 11-15-09, 09:31 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,999
Received 40 Votes on 35 Posts
You will want to check the performance specs for things like clamping voltages and joule ratings. Also compare the warranties and loss limits in the insurance policies and the extent of the coverages.

Some panel manufacturers have surge suppression that can be added to the panel. They are like a 2 pole breaker and install just like a breaker.

The best is a 2 tier approach with whole house and point of use protection.
 
  #5  
Old 11-15-09, 10:52 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes, get a whole house surge protector AND install high quality power strip surge protectors.

The best power strip surge protectors I have found are at office supplies... They have a high "joules" rating, and they come with a money guarantee to pay for damage to equipment. They also have a high price tag, but you get what you pay for!
 
  #6  
Old 11-15-09, 11:03 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Milwaukee WI
Posts: 1,338
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Depending on your panel, check your OEM options. For example I have a Cutler Hammer load center with a Type CHSA surge arrester. It is positioned in the top right two spaces. I have the neutral lead cut as short as it can possibly be to connect to the neutral bus right next to the CHSA. Aftermarket units may require a longer neutral. I have no idea how relevant this is vs. the specs of the unit, but the instructions say a shorter neutral is better.
 
  #7  
Old 11-15-09, 03:06 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: VA Beach
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Arg,

I will check that out, I am researching those options as well, a circuit breaker surge arrester may be in my future.

I still haven't figured out everything damaged by the latest storm but I did find both power supplies dead in the kids computers, one had a quality surge protector on it and it died but didn't protect the computer power supply, the other just had a cheap o power strip, the strip is fine, the power supply on the pc is dead.

Let this be a lesson to all. This storm alone I'm out 150-250 bucks, that puts my yearly total at 500 or so. This will be the second time I have to replace the power supplies in the kids computers. I never realized how much damage could be done even with the device powered off, you have to unplug the power strips/surge suppressors in a big storm, that or use good quality suppressors and, I see now, a whole house suppressor (as other posters have said). I wish I had spent a few more bucks when buying power strips and went with good quality suppressors, it would probably have saved me a few headaches.

I guess you live and you learn, I just wish it wasn't costing me quite so much to learn this lesson. I'm still thankful for what I have and all that I have so I will quit the whining and move on with fixing all the burnt up crap in the house.

Thanks again for the input. Still looking for more input on which house surge supressor to use.

EDIT: I have a GE load center, its an old one but it works like a champ so I don't plan to change it out. The only GE rep that sells a GE brand circuit breaker surge protector is 125 miles away. I'm going to check homedepot/lowes to see if they have one that will work with my panel, any other advice on where to look?

Tim
 

Last edited by infromsea; 11-15-09 at 03:55 PM.
  #8  
Old 11-15-09, 03:17 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,119
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
One thing to remember...the damage you have gotten is probably not from surges but more likely from low voltages and frequency problems. At least that what I experienced in the Navy when the generators went south....

I don't think I'd want to pay $60 a year ad infinitum for an insurance policy to the PoCo. Unless the unit just shuts off power when the problems occur..it may not help that much.

I'd rather spend the money on an UPS (or several) for the important stuff.
 
  #9  
Old 11-15-09, 04:52 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,847
Received 43 Votes on 41 Posts
I'd have to recommend going with a panel mounted protector that you buy. I hate the idea of a monthly charge for something you're not really getting anything back.

I have one of these:
Intermatic Whole House Surge Protector - IG1240RC - Smarthome

Spending some more $$ might get you something like this Leviton Whole House Surge Suppressor / Surge Protector 51120-1 - Smarthome

Regardless of what you get at your panel, you still want to go with a high quality surge protector at your electronic equipment ($30-$60 range). Most of these have a $10K or $25K protection policy. As long as you're working with a reputable company, it will be some work, but you should be able to use their "included" insurance.

You also want to be sure that other systems entering your house are properly bonded and protected as well. (phone, cable, etc). I've seen a number of systems burned out through the modem or network connection.

Another side of it... your homeowners insurance policy probably covers damages such as this, though your deductible may not make it worthwhile.
 
  #10  
Old 11-15-09, 05:21 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 1,457
Received 15 Votes on 15 Posts
Originally Posted by infromsea View Post
two strip surge protectors, one kitchen light and a mess of light bulbs, many of these items were plugged into power strips/surge protectors.
impressive amount of damage from a blackout/surge event.

I have to ask, what type of lamps went out? Incandescent or LED or fluorescent? If incandescent bulbs are blowing, I'd opt for the POCO's $5/month warranty!
I have a GE main panel TVSS and have enjoyed no damage for the last 4 years. We did have a very close lightning "event" that did trip a couple arc-fault breakers.
 
  #11  
Old 11-15-09, 05:34 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: VA Beach
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Telecom guy,

The bulbs were CFLs. We had one in the front porch go, one in the bedroom lamp and one in the living room lamp.

I have an older home with many of the outlets not having a ground back to the main panel. I have put a few GFIs in here and there but I do wonder if the lack of a whole house ground is partially to blame here?

I don't think I've had as many issues on circuits that I've put in myself (they all have a ground of course) or in the new dining room (closed in the carport), I don't think I've had as many issues there either......

I don't see many differences between the Intermatic and the Leviton to justify the higher price, the intermatic has a higher Joule rating but the Leviton has a quicker response time, any thoughts on that ?

Tim
 

Last edited by infromsea; 11-15-09 at 05:57 PM.
  #12  
Old 11-15-09, 05:47 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
As several others have suggested, install a "whole house" suppressor but you also need to install point of use suppressors as well but you need to have an EGC (equipment grounding conductor) for the point of use devices to work properly. They shunt the over voltage onto the EGC.

So, what you need to do is install an EGC in the circuits that currently do not have an EGC. If anybody has every had reason for installing an EGC, you surely have.

Your newer circuits with an EGC show how much difference it can make.
 
  #13  
Old 11-15-09, 07:01 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Because your house is older and does not have grounds...

First have an electrician check your main electrical system ground. (Not a do-it-yourself project in my opinion. Live power is ALWAYS present in a main electric panel even with the main breaker off. And if there is an electrical malfunction somewhere in your house, the ground wire could be energized and as dangerous as one of the hot wires!)

On older homes, there may have been just a cold water pipe ground, then the metal water pipe was later replaced with plastic PVC pipe underground, and then there might no longer be a ground!

A good modern ground system is two ground rods placed 6 ft. apart, then metal pipes like water pipes "bonded" (electrically connected) to the ground system. Hot water pipe bonded to cold water pipe. Etc.

This should be somewhat easy for an electrician to do. Thus not too big of an expense.

Then not having ground wires to each outlet where you have a surge protector is going to keep the surge protector from working properly! These work by shunting the surge to the ground wire. And if no ground wire (or poor main system ground), then they will not work as they should.
 
  #14  
Old 11-15-09, 09:03 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,999
Received 40 Votes on 35 Posts
As Nap and Bill both said, not having a grounding conductor at the receptacles will prevent the point of use suppressors from proper function. You should probably consider upgrading the receptacles where you plan to use your electronics like the TVs and computers by running new grounded circuits.
 
  #15  
Old 11-16-09, 08:21 AM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
a seperate EGC (equipment grounding conductor) can be installed in a retrofit. Sometimes that is easier than running all new wire, sometimes not.
 
  #16  
Old 11-16-09, 08:51 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 1,457
Received 15 Votes on 15 Posts
Originally Posted by infromsea View Post
I don't see many differences between the Intermatic and the Leviton to justify the higher price, the intermatic has a higher Joule rating but the Leviton has a quicker response time, any thoughts on that ?

Tim
You want the "whole house" suppressor to have the highest available energy (joule) rating, and not necessarily the lowest clamping voltage rating. The POU suppressors should have a lower clamping voltage.
As noted previously, a UPS offers better line quality than even the best TVSS systems. AND, consider a "brickwall" type blocking device for high end electronics, installed on a given receptacle. They offer better overall performance than shunt type MOV/TVSS devices, by blocking rather than shunting the harmful energy.
 
  #17  
Old 11-17-09, 09:24 AM
Pendragon's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,852
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
Keep in mind that, as far as I've read, the ones provided by the PoCo only warranty the unit itself. If something gets through and kills your computer you are still out of luck and the damage is not covered.

There are any number of strip protectors however that DO warranty the strip and anything plugged into it. I'd steer clear of anything less than $40-$50.

As others have mentioned, a quality UPS may be your best investment. Again, stay away from the $50 price point items, they will NOT last.
 
  #18  
Old 11-17-09, 10:14 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Milwaukee WI
Posts: 1,338
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by telecom guy View Post
... consider a "brickwall" type blocking device for high end electronics, installed on a given receptacle. They offer better overall performance than shunt type MOV/TVSS devices, by blocking rather than shunting the harmful energy.
Yep, I don't have any myself but the Series Mode surge protectors seem to be a good option for point of use.

Regarding the GE options, if a big box in your area carries GE load centers, they may be able to special order a GE OEM protector made specifically for your panel, such as the THQLSURGE.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: