Whole house surge . . .

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by sjh, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. sjh

    sjh New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
    protectors, worth the money? I am in Southern California where they do not even ground television antennas!
  2. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    Whole house surge suppression is worth the money if, it is a high quality TVSS, properly installed (most are not properly installed), preferably with led or neon's to let you know it is working. Then use point of use plug strips or plug in TVSS at the equipment. Once again high quality with leds to give notification of faulty TVSS.

    The TVSS at the main service will provide some protection and the point of use adds protection, minimizing possible surge damage. BUT understand mother nature can through a lightning strike that NO TVSS can protect against. Depends on amplitude, duration of the strike and where it hits.
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Read the product and installer's fine print very carefully. I was all set to sign up for TECO's "Zap Cap" program, but their fine print said, more or less, that everything was guaranteed unless something went wrong. I'm still looking for a whole-house solution that I will probably install myself. For now, I've got APC UPSes on all critical gear.
  4. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    At least for Square D QO you can get one that plugs into any pair of slots in your breaker panel. Plug it in and connect the wire to the neutral bus. It's hard to mess that up.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Unless you live in the mountains of S. Cal, lightning is extremely rare, but it does happen every few years!

    If you have a lot of money invested in computers and A/V equipment, it is worth taking care of this stuff.

    Most surge surpressors, especially small and inexpensive ones, will offer some protection against transient high voltage surges.....microsecond duration, thousands of volts. But they are in a relatively low joule range.


    What they don't protect against, and what can damage everything from the computer to the refrigerator, is power line surges from the power company. These may be anything from just a few % surge of voltage, to something in the hundreds of volts, but of much longer duration. The joules surged will smoke most surge surpessors. You need a much fancier device to protect against those. You would need to check the specs.

    Here is a link to a good tutorial on the power supply subject:

    http://www.falconups.com/pdf-04-2004/sbs_ups_tutorial.pdf
  6. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    APC UPS do have some level of TVSS but are off line devices and do not offer protection from utilities issues some folks think they might. Good devices and do give stand by protection and some level of surge.

    Most APC UPS's are Single conversion compared to double conversion that offer line filteration, seldom needed in a residential application
  7. sjh

    sjh New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
  8. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    I bought one from Me****s and wired it into a breaker.
    I also added an extra ground rod and have protection on the cable and phone wires.

    Each computer area then has Ethernet, phone, and power protection again.

    The idea is to create a island so that even if the ground voltage rises the equipment sees the same voltage on all the wires going in and out.

    So first line of defense is to tie heavy wires between the ground for the telephone, cable and electrical protection. In a way the power utility in a large city does this for you.

    The second line of defense should be at the computer with all the lines in and out of the computer are protected. The protector's ground voltage may rise, but it will be ok as long as it's not grounded again after the protection.
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