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Re: [Shop-talk] Whole-house surge protection

To: Jeff Scarbrough <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Whole-house surge protection
From: Brian Kemp <>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 15:47:53 -0700
Cc: "" <>
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Jeff - Home Depot also has a smaller, cheaper product from Square D.  See

You add a 220 breaker and connect the device to your circuits.  In 
theory, when there is a spike, they clamp it down.  The good ones have 
an indicator light to say they are still good.

I will be adding one of these products as soon as I add a sub panel to 
make room.  My panel is in the outside wall of the house, typical in 
Southern California, so I am limited to what actually fits inside the 
breaker box.

We've had several power problems due to an old distribution system. I 
lost a computer and UPS in 2010.  I had friends 1/4 mile away loose most 
of their appliances when a transformer presented a light show.

None of these are likely to save you if lightning hits the house, but 
any should provide added protection if a local transformer fails or 
someone drives into one of the ground level electrical distribution 
boxes along the street.

For many of us, our most expensive electrical devices are probably the 
kitchen appliances and entertainment centers.   While you can unplug the 
fridge if a storm is coming, you are not likely to go down and switch 
off the breaker for the hardwired stove/oven.  For a freak event, you 
are not going to be able to take precautions, so a device like these 
should be an extra level of protection.


On 5/23/2013 6:49 AM, Jeff Scarbrough wrote:
> A cow-orker with a new house asked me about whole-house surge
> protection.  Where I live, the local member-owned electric utility
> sells protection for large appliances and motors as a device in the
> meter base.  They charge $6.50 a month for this service.  As I
> understand it, you're basically buying insurance, as they repair any
> damage due to surges with this service.
> I see you can purchase a similar device at the local big box for
> around $200.  The claim is that it offers surge protection similar to
> a plug-in device, but also covers connected equipment.
> In my neighborhood, all the utilities are underground.  In 17 years,
> I've not experienced anything that would require use of a whole-house
> device, despite some really exciting electrical storms.  All of my
> electronics are plugged into normal surge suppressors, but no problems
> with them or the larger things so far.
> Any of you guys have any experience or advice concerning this sort of thing?
> Jeff Scarbrough
> Corrosion Acres, Ga.
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