Getting a 200Amp Square D OQ Panel. What about surge protector?

mudwormOctober 26, 2011

The electrician who will be installing a 200Amp Square D QO panel (as an upgrade) is not very convinced that a whole house surge protector (WHSP) is worth it because he's seen many devices damaged due to surges despite the WHSP. I still want one just for added protection even though I will have point-of-use protection for the entertainment center as well as the computer equipments. He doesn't have one to recommend, so I told him that I would supply it to him when he does the panel installation next week. Now, the question is... which one?

I'm agonizing over following choices:

1) Since we are installing Square D panel, I naturally first looked at their protectors. After reading specs and finding prices, I think the panel board SPD (QO2175SB) is our best bet. $92. 900 Joules. 27,000Amp Max. 2 year and up to $10,000 warranty. Pros: Least intrusive (just a breaker) Cons: Need to order online, low Joules rating.

2) Eaton Complete Home Surge Protection (CHSPT2MICRO) from Home Depot. $60. 1890 Joules. 36000 Amp Max. Covers Appliances replacement cost (secondary to insurance). No mention of years (really?). Pros: higher protection, cheaper, local home center purchase, seemingly better warranty. Cons: need to be screwed to a knockout hole (need room outside of enclosure) or put inside the panel (use up precious room).

3. An apparently no-name brand Delta Surge Protectors out of Texus. I only heard of them after reading one post or two on GardenWeb. Pros: much cheaper ($150 total for a package including Lightening Arrestor, Surge Capacitor, and Data line protector); Highest protection of all three (2,000 joules and 60,000 Amp Max on the lightening arrestor). Cons: Also will take room either outside or inside the panel enclosure; Not sure if UL listed (uneasy about it); No damage warranty coverage (other than replacing the unit itself).

What would you choose? Or any better suggestions?

Along the same line, one more question: I will be installing an expensive (to me) induction cooktop and would really like to have that one specifically protected. It needs to be hardwired. Is there anyway I can provide an extra layer of surge protection for this circuit itself? I went through Square D QO circuit breakers and could not find one that integrates the surge protection.

Sorry about the long post. Thank you for reading.

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A good homeowner's policy is probably the best "surge protection" you will find. The thing about these devices is that there is no way to know if they actually do protect anything in a given instance. You could possibly install all three of the devices you list and have a so-called surge immediately after- then you notice that your new cooktop doesn't work.

All you know for sure is that there was an unusual event and that your cooktop failed afterwards. You don't know if (A) the #$%^& protector is worthless. (B) the protector saved every other electric device in your house from damage. (C) the cooktop just failed and the strke had nothing at all to do with it.

I have a unit similar to the Square D model. The primary reason I have it is so I can illustrate to my insurance agent that I have taken "reasonable steps" to prevent damage as required by the wording of my policy.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Ron Natalie

Much as I am a Square-D fan, I'd probably go with the Eaton.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 7:37AM
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Having a whole house surge protector does not eliminate the need for point of use protection.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 1:13PM
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I agree with all that was said above. Thanks guys for confirming!

The local HD does not stock any WHSPs, so I just placed the order on the Eaton. I can still return it if I change my mind before the installation, but it appears to be a good choice.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 1:33PM
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"The local HD does not stock any WHSPs"

Try an actual electrical supply house.

HD only stocks things it can move quickly in volume (and cheap).

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 3:40PM
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