Can I wire surge suppressor outlet in series?

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Old 02-21-13, 06:10 AM
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Can I wire surge suppressor outlet in series?

We have a flat screen TV mounted on a wall above an existing outlet. The existing outlet is about 1 foot above the floor.

The previous owner/installer ran a Romex wire up through the wall and put an outlet for the TV at about 5 feet above the floor. This outlet is wired to the second set of screws on the original outlet (the one that is 1 foot off floor).

I would like the TV to have a dedicated surge suppressing outlet. The outlet directly behind the TV is not readily accessible, and there is no room for a power strip as the TV is mounted flat to the wall.

I was wondering if I could use something like the following:

Leviton 5280-W 15 Amp, 125 Volt, Surge Suppressor Receptacle

I was thinking of wiring the receptacle in series with the one directly behind the TV. I know this is not the preferred way, but would this setup allow the surge suppressor to protect both the lower and upper outlets form surges?

I was thinking it would be somewhat like the line/load setup on GFCI outlets. Thanks
Dave
 
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Old 02-21-13, 07:36 AM
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I think that's a perfect use for a surge suppressor receptacle like that. You can certainly place the device at the bottom of the wall and use the 'load' terminals to wire the TV receptacle to. In some ways, this may be better because there is an indicator on the receptacle indicating proper surge protection. If something happens and the light goes out, you'll probably never see it behind the TV.
 
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Old 02-21-13, 12:31 PM
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The instruction sheet for the Leviton 5280 receptacle claims that
A SURGE PROTECTIVE RECEPTACLE WILL PROVIDE
MAXIMUM PROTECTION FOR LOADS PLUGGED DIRECTLY
INTO IT. IT WILL PROVIDE SOME PROTECTION TO DOWN
STREAM RECEPTACLES, THOUGH PROTECTION
DIMINISHES PROPORTIONALLY WITH THE LENGTH OF
WIRE RUN.
I'm skeptical, frankly. The device doesn't appear to have LOAD terminals, so it is at best unclear how it could provide protection to any receptacles downstream from it.

In addition, there's this, from the Leviton product description:
Ideal for point-of-use surge protection in industrial, commercial and residential applications
And, from the product description at Amazon:
this receptacle provides point-of-use protection for up to 18,000 amps of surge current.this receptacle provides point-of-use protection for up to 18,000 amps of surge current.
The two product descriptions pretty much say that this receptacle only provides surge protection for the loads plugged into it. You could install a whole-house surge suppressor in your panel for the cost of two of these receptacles and provide surge protection to every circuit you have.
 
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Old 02-21-13, 12:54 PM
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I called Leviton, and they said it would protect another outlet if it is within 10 feet. I looked at a whole house suppressor which was about $50 at one of the big box stores.
I would feel a little uncomfortable installing it as the panel in our condo does not have a main disconnect. The wires go into the buss directly.
 
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Old 02-21-13, 01:15 PM
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You DO have a main disconnect to your circuit panel but it is probably located in the electrical room where the electric meters are located.

You could also rewire the cable from the receptacle behind the TV to an INlet connector mounted adjacent to the lower receptacle and then use a massive surge protector that has both a regular cord inlet and a cord with a connector to fit the inlet connector mounted in the wall. Might be a bit ugly but it would give you superior protection.

Surge Protectors, UPS Systems and Voltage Regulators | Brick Wall
 
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Old 02-21-13, 01:23 PM
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One other thing....the electrical Panel is recessed in the wall. (The door is flat/level with sheetrock). Is there a whole house suppressor that will install inside the breaker box like a breaker?

Would this work, and would it just involve connecting the neutral to the neutral buss?

Murray 20 Amp 6.5 in. Whole House Surge Protected Circuit Breaker MSA2020SPDP at The Home Depot

Would this fit in a Challenger panel with HACR breakers?
 

Last edited by Dave4242; 02-21-13 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 02-21-13, 02:31 PM
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What make and model of circuit breaker panel? Some do have surge suppressors that will fit in the space of a two-pole (double space) circuit breaker but not all manufacturers or models.

You added the info while I was responding. While that unit might "fit" in your panel I cannot state with certainty that it is acceptable. Maybe one of the electricians will have the answer.
 
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Old 02-21-13, 02:44 PM
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I called Leviton, and they said it would protect another outlet if it is within 10 feet.
I understand that they say that. I'm just saying that the only evidence I see for it is their claim. Did you also ask Leviton for the dollar amount they will cover for damage to something plugged into their receptacle and, more to the point, for damage to something plugged into a receptacle downstream from it?

I forgot to mention earlier that not only does their instruction sheet show no wiring method for connecting the feed for a downstream, protected receptacle, it shows a series of receptacles connected by pigtails, so that each of them is fed independently and none is fed off the 5280. I call bull pucky on their claim.

I looked at a whole house suppressor which was about $50 at one of the big box stores.
Cool, if it's a match for your panel. Maybe the price is starting to come down.

I would feel a little uncomfortable installing it as the panel in our condo does not have a main disconnect. The wires go into the buss directly.
The instruction sheet for the whole house suppressor may say that the power needs to be off. All of the ones I've installed connect to a 2-pole breaker. I just install that breaker and leave it off until the suppressor is connected. No big deal.

That said, unless you are comfortable working in a live panel - and it sounds like you're not - then you should probably kill the power to it. As Furd said earlier,
You DO have a main disconnect to your circuit panel but it is probably located in the electrical room where the electric meters are located.
 
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Old 02-21-13, 03:15 PM
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Would this work, and would it just involve connecting the neutral to the neutral buss?

Murray 20 Amp 6.5 in. Whole House Surge Protected Circuit Breaker MSA2020SPDP at The Home Depot

Would this fit in a Challenger panel with HACR breakers?
In a Challenger panel you would want to use a BRSURGE by Cutler-Hammer. They install like a 2 pole breaker with one wire that connects to the neutral bus. The Siemens device is probably not U.L. Listed to be used in a Challenger panel.

Amazon.com: Cutler Hammer BRSURGE Plug On Surge Arrestor: Everything Else
 
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Old 02-21-13, 03:19 PM
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Thanks Nashkat1. I have worked in live panel before, but it makes me a little antsy
Do you know if the Siemens/Murray
Murray 20 Amp 6.5 in. Whole House Surge Protected Circuit Breaker MSA2020SPDP at The Home Depot

will fit into our Challenger panel and work properly? Breakers say HACR.
Thanks
 
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Old 02-21-13, 03:46 PM
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Thanks very much, CasualJoe!
 
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Old 02-21-13, 03:49 PM
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Do you know if the Siemens/Murray Murray 20 Amp 6.5 in. Whole House Surge Protected Circuit Breaker MSA2020SPDP at The Home Depot will fit into our Challenger panel and work properly? Breakers say HACR.
I'm pretty sure it won't. The good news is that CasualJoe seems to have found one that will. Finding ordinary breakers for those panels can be a challenge. (Ahem!)
 
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Old 02-21-13, 07:34 PM
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Leviton does not have a 'protected equipment guarantee'. If a surge blows out your TV, you're out of luck. Not only that but they are not rated for the same kind of protection that a good plug-in protector offers (neither are the 'whole house' protectors for that matter, they are only designed to handle the bigger surges, and you are still supposed to have plug-ins).

My preference would be to use a high quality plug-in protector from APC/TrippLite that has a Protected Equipment Guarantee. There are several on the market that are designed to fit behind a flat screen. Either that, or change the connection at the lower outlet so that the upper outlet is connected to Power Inlet Plate. That way you can plug the TV into the same high quality protector/conditioner/UPS that you are using for the rest of your components.

 
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Old 02-22-13, 07:47 AM
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I think I'm going to stick with the C-H BRSURGE. But thanks for all the input. We had an Intermatic Whole House Surge Suppressor in our old house, and we never had an issue with any appliance or electronics in the 11 years we lived there.

One other question....I've read conflicting opinions on whether the BRSURGE needs to be closest to the feed in the panel. Eaton (C-H) says in their instructions that it should be. Others say that it will protect everything despite being further down on buss.

What do you guys think? It wouldn't be the end of the world to move a couple breakers, but I would rather not if I did not have to.

Also, the neutral and ground must be bonded together as there are neutral and ground wires on both bars. So, I would most likely be putting this suppressor nearest to the ground buss (on that side) as that is where the open spaces are.
And then I would just attach white wire from suppressor to closest screw on that buss? as it says white wire from suppressor should be as short as possible.



Thanks again
 
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Old 02-22-13, 06:35 PM
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One other question....I've read conflicting opinions on whether the BRSURGE needs to be closest to the feed in the panel. Eaton (C-H) says in their instructions that it should be. Others say that it will protect everything despite being further down on buss.
I prefer they be connected closest to the incoming power, but some manufacturers don't even mention it in their instructions. There are better suppressors on the market that have a connected equipment warranty, like Matt mentioned. Eaton/Cutler-Hammer also has that type if you would prefer, but I really think the BRSURGE is adequate for most people and most situations. That's the model I have in my own service panel.
 
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Old 02-22-13, 08:07 PM
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One other question....I've read conflicting opinions on whether the BRSURGE needs to be closest to the feed in the panel. Eaton (C-H) says in their instructions that it should be. Others say that it will protect everything despite being further down on buss.

What do you guys think? It wouldn't be the end of the world to move a couple breakers, but I would rather not if I did not have to.
I like to put them as close to the hot feeds as I can get without making a full day's work out of it. That said, I've put some about as far away as you can get and they've workrd fimr, including the one in our panel here.

Also, the neutral and ground must be bonded together as there are neutral and ground wires on both bars. So, I would most likely be putting this suppressor nearest to the ground buss (on that side) as that is where the open spaces are.
Hmmmm... You have a subpanel, since there is no MOPD in it. In any and every subpanel, the grounds should be together and bonded to the enclosure and the neutrals should be together and isolated from the enclosure. Otherwise you have a ground/neutral bond downstream from the only one there should be, at the service entrance. Could you do that without too much effort?

And then I would just attach white wire from suppressor to closest screw on that buss? as it says white wire from suppressor should be as short as possible.
The closest open slot on the isolated neutral bus, I think. The instruction sheet should tell you.
 
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Old 02-23-13, 07:16 AM
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Could I do what? Isolate the neutrals and grounds from each other?
 
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Old 02-23-13, 09:10 AM
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Could I do what? Isolate the neutrals and grounds from each other?
You have a condo and your panel does not have a main breaker in it, but there is one somewhere (probably near meter outside or in common electrical room somewhere). This means your panel is actually a subpanel and the grounds and neutrals should already be separated and on their on respective bus (or bar).
 
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Old 02-23-13, 09:39 AM
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Yes. you are right that we have no main disconnect. The intermingled neutrals and grounds must have been like that from when it was built in 1999.
It is a vacation place, so I am not currently there. But I'm almost 100% sure the neutral and ground bars are connected with a strap. I don't know that I would feel comfortable undoing all that.
If I left it as is, would the Brsurge still work properly?

May have to get electrician to look at panel at some point. What risk is there if neutral and ground are interconnected in subpanel?
 
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Old 02-23-13, 01:13 PM
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The ground and neutral are only allowed to be bonded at the first disconnect. And there MUST be a disconnect before yours if you say it does not have a main breaker. So basically either way if it is how you say it is, it is not to code (even 1999 code).

The risk of multiple/inappropriate ground/neutral bonding is it allows neutral-return current to flow on conductive surfaces (and grounding conductors which are usually smaller than the neutral). It creates a shock/fire hazard should the neutral ever become loose or disconnected.
 
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Old 02-23-13, 01:23 PM
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What risk is there if neutral and ground are interconnected in subpanel?
The primary purpose of creating a grounding electrode conductor and bonding the utility neutral to it at the service entrance is to provide a low-resistance path to ground, as protection against damage from large overcurrent events before the service is brought inside. Those can occur for a number of reasons including lightening strikes. Additional bonds further in defeat the separation established there and create an opportunity for the overcurrent to damage the system inside the structure and, potentially, the structure itself.
 
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Old 02-23-13, 01:33 PM
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That makes sense. So there must be an individual disconnect for my condo unit downstairs etc. I can't imagine that in order to work on my panel, the while building would need to be turned off.

So say I move all the grounds to ground buss and all neutrals to neutral buss and make sure neutral is isolated.

How can I be sure ground is indeed grounded at entrance to building? How would I test grounding of my sub panel?
 
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Old 02-23-13, 02:14 PM
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Can you post a few pictures of your panel with cover off?
 
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Old 02-23-13, 05:23 PM
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Unfortunately, we won't be there until May.
 
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Old 02-23-13, 06:53 PM
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If I left it as is, would the Brsurge still work properly?
I think it's safe to say it would still work as designed. The only possible issue would be the grounds and neutrals being combined, but that won't keep the suppressor from working.
 
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Old 02-24-13, 06:08 AM
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If I do isolate neutrals from grounds, how can I be sure subpanel is grounded properly to building ground?
 
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Old 02-24-13, 08:14 AM
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The feed to your panel should have been 4 wires or 3 wires and a metallic conduit. Unless you have this setup there is nothing you can do to correct this without pulling a new feeder.
 
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Old 02-24-13, 09:24 AM
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I believe it is metal conduit. So, if I put all neutrals on neutral buss and all grounds on ground buss and then make sure neutral is isolated from ground, when I check any outlet, I can tell if the system is still properly grounded if I get 110volts between ground and hot. Right?
 

Last edited by Dave4242; 02-24-13 at 10:19 AM.
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