Can we talk Surge Supression - Post Sandy review

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Old 11-16-12, 05:45 PM
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Can we talk Surge Supression - Post Sandy review

hi All -

Just doing some Post Sandy review....
To be frank, I don't know what qualifies as a *quality* surge supressor but I use Tripp Lites or APCs where our Audio/Video areas are, and I have a couple of Hubbell Surge Supression Outlets where my flat panels are hung.

In my lifetime, the only thing I have gotten damage is a cordless phone set from a surge over the telco line.

As I revist, review, look at ALL aspects of things post Sandy, do you guys recommend something like a whole house surge suppression off the breaker.

Or better yet, in large storms of if we get a brownout, turn off the breaker and just *wait* awhile till the electricity comes back on. I read where power has come on, surges have come through and caused catastrophic failure in certain instances.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 06:19 PM
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do you guys recommend something like a whole house surge suppression off the breaker.
I recommend them at the main service panel.

Or better yet, in large storms of if we get a brownout, turn off the breaker and just *wait* awhile till the electricity comes back on. I read where power has come on, surges have come through and caused catastrophic failure in certain instances
Surges can occur at any time, even on a bright sunny day. Surges are frequently caused by equipment inside your home as well. I think of the most damaging surges as those that come during lightning events, but normal switching in the nearest substation also causes damaging surges. I recommend a whole house surge suppressor be installed at the main service panel.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 07:10 PM
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I recommend them at the main service panel.
So do I .
 
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Old 11-17-12, 04:46 AM
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Keep in mind it is also recommended to still use those surge suppressors you already have even after you install a whole house version. If you get a surge from a piece of equipment in your home, it can overload other ietms before it reaches the whole house suppressor in the panel.
 
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Old 11-17-12, 06:20 AM
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I would recommend a multi-level approach:

1) A decent (not cheap, not $hundreds) main panel surge protector, mainly to protect your electronic appliances which all now have circuit boards (fridge, washer, dryer, oven, clock radios, etc)

2) Surge protection strips or UPS for critical electronics. TV, computer, gaming consoles, etc. Stay away from the $5 surge protectors. I always get the $25-50 surge protection strips (APC, Tripp Lite, Belkin, etc). I do also like the hubble/leviton surge protection receptacles for specific devices.

3) Surge protection on any other copper coming into the house. Telephone, cable TV, etc. need protection as well.

4) All the above is for naught unless you have a good grounding/bonding system. Be sure you have grounding rod(s) installed from your main panel and that each utility entrance is bonded together (telephone, cable, water piping, etc). The best surge protector won't protect against voltage differences caused by poor grounding/bonding.
 
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Old 11-17-12, 07:34 AM
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I would also put surge protection on your phone and/or cable lines coming into the house. I have lost many devices such as routers, network cards and phones due to surges coming in on the phone lines before I got it all protected.
 
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Old 11-18-12, 06:31 AM
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> I would also put surge protection on your phone and/or cable lines
> coming into the house.

All phone lines already have a 'whole house' protector installed for free. Surge current damages by finding a path to earth destructively via appliances. One perfect path is outgoing from phone appliances through a properly earthed, phone line protector.

A common incoming path is from AC mains. If the outgoing path is via a phone line, then an appliance would be damaged on its outgoing connection. Many assume a surge entered (not exited) via phone lines. Nonsense. Phone lines already have an earth protector. Damage is on the outgoing path.

A protector does not do protection. An effective protector only connects to what does protection. Protection is defined by what absorbs the hundreds of thousands of joules. If a surge is not earthed BEFORE entering the building, then that current will find earth destructively via appliances.

Phone lines are already connect to earth via a telco 'installed for free' protector. Cable needs no protector. A wire connects cable low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to earth. Also before entering the building.

A common source of incoming surges is AC electric. If a 'whole house' protector is not earthed at a breaker box or meter pan, then surges will go hunting destructively inside the house. But again, a 'whole house' protector does not do that protection. A low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection from that protector to earth that makes hundreds of thousands of joules irrelevant.

How to make any protector better? Upgrade its earthing to exceed what is required by safety codes. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Protection is always about how current gets to earth. And where hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate. Destructively inside or harmlessly outside. Damage is about the path to earth. Protection is about absorbing energy harmlessly in earth.
 
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Old 11-18-12, 04:02 PM
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I find many telephone and especially cable connections not to be grounded prior to entering the building.
 
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Old 11-18-12, 04:46 PM
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Would you know what to look for in grounding of a telephone cable? Grounding existed and was required on all telephone subscriber interfaces long before anyone here even existed.

If a ground is missing, does that mean it is not required? No. That means a person responsible for that ground must fix it or have it fixed. That is the homeowner. A homeowner is responsible for knowing of that ground. Or having his agent (ie electrician, linemen) inspect it.

For over 100 years, we have known that protection from direct lightning strikes is about earthing. It was demonstrated even by Franklin in 1752. And taught in elementary school science (ie Franklin lightning rod). What a lightning rod does is also what a protector must do. A lightning rod protects a building. A 'whole house' protector protects appliances inside the building. Both work by harmlessly earthing current from lightning.

Any wire incoming inside every cable must connect to earth before entering the building. Cable TV makes that connection with a wire. Telephone is earthed via a protector often found inside an NID. And not just any earth ground. It must be a single point earth ground.

Of course, that solution is for one anomaly. Other anomalies (ie brownout) are solved elswhere by something else. Each anomaly is best addressed separately. And with perspective. That means numbers.

For example, where are spec numbers for what that UPS does? How can anyone recommend it without manufacturer spec numbers?
 
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