Whole house surge protector....

echobellyAugust 8, 2014

I'm considering a surge protector on my electric meter as I live in an area of Florida with numerous electrical storms. My electric company has a program that installs one free but
adds a $10. charge to your bill monthly. It guarantees any electrical motors but not electronics from damage for up to $5,000. The previous town I lived in allowed you to purchase the unit and have it installed for $80., a much better deal. Should I purchase one and have it installed or pay the extra $10. a month? Are these units even worth it? A neighbor did get a surge recently after a lightning strike and it burnt out his A.C. motor.

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Part of the $10.00 charge is for insurance. If damage occurs, they will pay in accordance with the provisions of the agreement.
I doubt that the $80.00 deal included any guarantees against damage or insurance.
When damage occurs, someone pays. Either you or the insurance company will pay. But first you must pay the insurance company by buying the coverage. So, to large extent, you pay either way. Not surprising, right?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 2:36PM
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> Are these units even worth it?

It is the only solution always found in facilities that cannot have damage. And typically costs tens or 100 times less money per protected appliance as compared to plug-in protectors.

But appreciate what does protection. Many make this mistake.

Your TV cable should already have best protection. A hardwire connects from cable to an earth ground electrode. If the wire is low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet; no sharp bends), then any surge that would otherwise damage appliances is now connected to and absorbs by earth.

Earth is your surge protection. Earth is where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate.

Your telephone cannot connect directly to earth. So they use a 'whole house' protector to make that connection. The protector only does what a hardwire would do better. Again, the protector must make a low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet'; not inside metallic conduit) connection to earth.

Only incoming wires that would not have protection are AC. That is what the 'whole house' protector does. Connect each incoming AC electric wire low impedance to earth. So what should have most of your attention? Single point earth ground. That is where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. Otherwise those many thousands of joules are hunting for earth destructively via your appliances and plug-in protectors.

Without a 'whole house' protector, then surges are not connected to what does protection. These devices even sell in Lowes and Home Depot under the Cutler-Hammer brand name. Or rent them.

Electric company will not claim protection for electronics since your cable or telephone protection may be compromised. Ie not connected low impedance to the same earth ground used by AC electric. However a 'whole house' solution is the only proven solution to protect household appliances including electronics in the refrigerator, dishwasher, bathroom GFICs, CFL bulbs, clocks, TV, and most important, smoke detectors.

Ignore warranty nonsense. Best warranties are often on inferior products. Important numbers: a 'whole house' protector should be rated at least 50,000 amps. And this is far more important. It must connect low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point earth ground.

Nobody else is responsible for installing, inspecting, and maintaining earth ground. Only you are responsible for what does protection: single point earth ground. Only then does best possible protection exist for about $1 per protected appliance. A rented version will cost more.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:13AM
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To pay $10 per month as insurance against an electrical surge damaging just the motors in your house is probably a very good deal for your power company, less so for yourself.
I suggest having a chat with your own insurance company and clarifying what cover your current insurance provides, and what (if any) premium savings you would make by fitting a whole-house surge suppressor.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 6:30PM
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