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Whole house surge protection...but what about my water well?

Whole house surge protection...but what about my water well?

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  #1  
Old 11-07-13, 12:26 PM
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Whole house surge protection...but what about my water well?

I have whole house surge protection that is on the main disconnect. The manufacturer (Tesco) says that if I have a water well, then that bypasses the surge protector and can be a source of surges for nearby lightning strikes? Is that true? I have two wells, and they said I would need to add surge protectors to each one of their control boxes to cover them. I do not have an in ground sprinkler system so that is OK.

Is this correct and the only way to surge protect the HOUSE completely from external sources? If so, what is the most cost effective protector that I can hook up to my well wires to protect them?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-07-13, 01:27 PM
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Whole house surge protectors are only for small internal surges. Do you have a good earth ground for your system, bonded to the incoming neutral?
 
  #3  
Old 11-07-13, 04:06 PM
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Yes. As far as I know. It is a ground rod out at the meter. There is a stranded copper wire that comes out of the main disconnect and attaches to a copper wire on the pole and a fat copper rod driven into the ground. That's all I see. Its arranged like this:

Meter/disconnect/ground/pole -> second disconnect outside of home with surge protector -> panel

But that protects against surges that come down the power line. If it comes through the well wires then it goes straight to the panel from the inside....
 
  #4  
Old 11-07-13, 08:13 PM
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But that protects against surges that come down the power line. If it comes through the well wires then it goes straight to the panel from the inside....
Actually the grounding electrode conductor offers some protection against internal surges too, but not as much as a whole-house surge protector does. That's the kind of minor internal surge they're designed to handle.
 
  #5  
Old 11-08-13, 07:18 AM
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OK...so should I install a whole house surge protector on each control box for the wells so they are covered against spikes originating from the ground that cannot be dissipated by the grounding wires?

That's what im worried about. I have whole house surge protection at the main service entrance...the wells are downstream of that and kind of circumvent it by being in the ground.
 

Last edited by agdodge4x4; 11-08-13 at 09:24 AM.
  #6  
Old 11-08-13, 10:01 AM
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I have whole house surge protection at the main service entrance...
Is your whole-house surge suppressor in your main panel or ahead of it?

the wells are downstream of that and kind of circumvent it by being in the ground.
How? Additional direct grounding does not "circumvent" main direct grounding. Done properly, it supplements it. It is required in the case of feeds to separate structures.
 
  #7  
Old 11-08-13, 10:22 AM
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The whole house surges are at the DISCONNECTS (two panels) that are just outside the house. Just inside the house is the panel with all the breakers in it for all the house circuits.


Pole/Meter/200A Disconnect -------100 feet -------> 200A Disconnect outide of house with surge protector -> Panel inside house where branch circuits are
 
  #8  
Old 11-08-13, 10:34 AM
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Are the well pumps fed with branch circuits from the main panel? If so, add a surge protector in the main panel. It wouldn't hurt to have that anyway. If not, how are surges from the well pumps likely to affect circuits in the main panel?
 
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Old 11-08-13, 12:17 PM
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I have whole house surge protection that is on the main disconnect. The manufacturer (Tesco) says that if I have a water well, then that bypasses the surge protector and can be a source of surges for nearby lightning strikes?
I still haven't quite figured out how your well could bypass the surge protection at the main disconnect for the service. Is the well powered from a different service?
 
  #10  
Old 11-08-13, 12:30 PM
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Teh wells are fed off my two main panels. Im just going by what the Tesco people said. I think they were thinking that the lightning strike could originate from the ground and into the well/water/electric lines and then back to the panel.

Is it legit to have TWO whole house surge protectors protecting one panel (one off of the panel and one on the disconnect 2' away)? Can I add these:

Leviton 120/240 Volt Residential Whole House Surge Protector-R00-51110-SRG at The Home Depot

I can put one off of each panel inside. Will they be big enough?
 
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Old 11-08-13, 12:38 PM
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I can put one off of each panel inside. Will they be big enough?
Sure, they would be fine. You could also install one at the well pump disconnect too.
 
  #12  
Old 11-08-13, 04:46 PM
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So, if I put one on the panel, how is that ANY different than the one just on the other side of the wall at the main disconnect?
 
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Old 11-08-13, 04:48 PM
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I think they were thinking that the lightning strike could originate from the ground and into the well/water/electric lines and then back to the panel.
Extremely unlikely. Lightning like tall objects and shuns buried ones.
 
  #14  
Old 11-08-13, 06:11 PM
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Sounds good to me. Maybe Ill put the surge on my main panel. I still don't quite follow how that's better or useful because of the one that is about 3' away on the other side of the wall at the service disconnect.
 
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Old 11-08-13, 06:32 PM
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So, if I put one on the panel, how is that ANY different than the one just on the other side of the wall at the main disconnect?
I didn't know your main panel was just on the other side of the wall, I thought it was way out at the pole. Since it's so close to the main panels, I don't think you need any more unless you want one at the well, but it's your decision. The more you have, the better protection you have.
 
  #16  
Old 11-08-13, 06:50 PM
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Yeah, its a wierd setup. I have a light pole with a meter and a 200A disconnect. The house is about 50-75' from it. At the house is another 200A disconnect where it all goes inside to the panel where all the circuit breakers are.

If I put the surges on the wells, do i just hook them up the same way as I would at the panel...black/black, black/red, ground/ground?
 
  #17  
Old 11-09-13, 06:43 AM
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If I put the surges on the wells, do i just hook them up the same way as I would at the panel...black/black, black/red, ground/ground?
That sounds right, but I'd just follow the mnufacturer's instructions.
 
  #18  
Old 11-09-13, 10:07 AM
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The manufacturers instructions say to put it on the panel!
 
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Old 11-09-13, 12:28 PM
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The manufacturers instructions say to put it on the panel!
Then just return it, you don't need it anyway.
 
  #20  
Old 11-10-13, 05:26 PM
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Probably going to exactly that.

Thanks for the help!!
 
  #21  
Old 11-11-13, 02:33 AM
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The book Wiring a House, For Pros By Pros, by Rex Cauldwell deals with well pump surges in chapter 14. It explains how and why wells attract lightning, how that ruins pumps and why it backfeeds into the house. It recommends surge protection at each well just like Tesco does. So do I.
 
  #22  
Old 11-11-13, 12:39 PM
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OK, so I can still use these whole house surges. I just hook them up to the wires in the control box at teh well pump. black/black, black/red, ground/ground.
 
  #23  
Old 11-11-13, 03:23 PM
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OK, so I can still use these whole house surges. I just hook them up to the wires in the control box at teh well pump. black/black, black/red, ground/ground.


If I put the surges on the wells, do i just hook them up the same way as I would at the panel...black/black, black/red, ground/ground?

That sounds right, but I'd just follow the manufacturer's instructions
.........................................
 
  #24  
Old 11-07-14, 02:46 AM
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I know this is an old thread but I just wanted to make sure anyone reading this fully understands that a lightning strike/surge can definitely travel thru the ground to knock out a deep well pump or even an above ground shallow well if it is connected with metal piping. There are many examples of lightning striking a tree or fence line from up to a half mile away and taking out a pump. It does not have to originate from the power lines and can backfeed from the earth to the service panel. There ultimately is no protection from a strike..... only protection that mitigates lower powered surges that can be absorbed by strategically placed surge protectors.
 
  #25  
Old 11-07-14, 06:20 AM
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an above ground shallow well
I'd like to see one of those!
 
  #26  
Old 11-07-14, 05:24 PM
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> There ultimately is no protection from a strike..... only protection that mitigates
> lower powered surges that can be absorbed by strategically placed surge protectors.

Your telco's switching computer is connected to subscribers all over town. It suffers about 100 surges with each thunderstorm. How often is your town without phone service for four days while they replace that computer? Never? Because protection from a direct strike is that well proven and that effective.

Yes a surge can be incoming via the well pump. Install effective protection so that the surge connects to earthborne charges some four miles away without passing through a pump or house. Unfortunately, many assume a surge protector will do what something completely different (surge protection) must do. Suffer damage. Then assume (using observation) that nothing can avert such damage.

Direct lightning strikes without damage even to a protector are routine. But that means learning about the 'art'. Protector is simple dumb science. What makes it effective is what it connects to - the protection. Protection means hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate harmlessly without damage. But again, this is an art based in a well proven science.

Protection is always about the path a surge current takes from the cloud to those distant charges. A path that is destructive only if a homeowner fails to provide a lower impedance and non-destructive path outside a building and around that pump.

Direct strikes without damage to munitions dumps are routine. Electronics atop the Empire State Building suffer 23 direct strikes annually without damage. This reality has been understood for over 100 years. For a homeowner, that means learning what actually does protection. And disposing of the so many and more widely believed urban myths.

A direct strike without damage is so routine that damage is considered a human mistake. Even a protector must remain functional. Yes, this is an art. Mistakes happen. But damage means a mistake exists. Learn from those mistakes and the resulting damage.

BTW, any protector that absorbs surges is best called a scam. And explains why surge damage happens. Superior protectors absorb less energy. Protectors that must absorb surges are only for transients too tiny to even harm appliances. Effective protection means one can always say where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. Protection is about a surge current that remains outside a house and not through any well pump.
 
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