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Whole House Surge Suppressor?
Old 06-14-2016, 01:31 PM   #1
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Whole House Surge Suppressor?

A little while ago, we had a whooper of a thunderstorm come through. There was more lightning and thunder in VERY close proximity than I have experienced in a long time and it lasted well over an hour. I will be outside soon to survey our trees to see if any got hit.

Out of an abundance of caution, I went around and unplugged just about everything I could (including fridge) to preclude electrical damage. We did lose power twice, but immediately recovered. I do not know if this would have resulted in damage to any electronics, but it could have.

Anyway, it is making me re-consider a whole house surge suppressor. I know that they are inadequate for a direct strike, but since our utilities are underground, perhaps the odds of a direct, catastrophic hit (outside of a hit to the house) would be low and thus be minimized with one.

Anyone have any advice and/or experience with one? Or would it be just better to buy high quality/high joule plug in suppressors or just accept the risk and spend $1500 on the insurance deductible?
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:35 PM   #2
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Yes, we have a whole house surge protector. Got it because we liked the surge protection our RV had and other things like low voltage protection.

DH specified what to install when we had the house built. It was expensive, I remember. We still have the TVs and stereos on their own surge protector power strip. The big computer is plugged into its own battery backup.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:36 PM   #3
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Our local utility company is always pestering people to buy these things from them. A few hundred bucks, installed. No guarantee as to its effectiveness, though.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:45 PM   #4
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Our local utility company is always pestering people to buy these things from them. A few hundred bucks, installed. No guarantee as to its effectiveness, though.
+1

We looked into them after a hit. They say a lot about how safe these are and gaurentee absolutely nothing
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by FlyBoy5 View Post
Anyway, it is making me re-consider a whole house surge suppressor. I know that they are inadequate for a direct strike, but since our utilities are underground, perhaps the odds of a direct, catastrophic hit (outside of a hit to the house) would be low and thus be minimized with one.

Anyone have any advice and/or experience with one? Or would it be just better to buy high quality/high joule plug in suppressors or just accept the risk and spend $1500 on the insurance deductible?
We have one through the power company that comes with a limited guarantee - it will not cover electronics like TVs, computers, audio gear, etc. but does cover everything else like the furnace, A/C, kitchen appliances and the like.

We had a near-direct strike that fried the computer motherboard, ignitor in the (gas) oven, the electronic board on the A/C and furnace, all seven of the smoke detectors, and the switches for two ceiling fans. All in all they wrote me a check for a bit over $900 and I paid for the motherboard in the PC. I figured that considering what I've paid in the monthly fee for it over the years I broke even so I'll accept that.

Oh, and they put in a new whole-house surge protector.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:51 PM   #6
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I bought a whole house one on line. It was easy to self install next to the service box. I also installed additional ones next to things that have expensive control circuit boards, like the furnace and washing machine. I read that proximity to the control panel is important due to voltage spikes caused by the device itself. I'm sure a EE can / will 'splain it.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:53 PM   #7
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I have a couple of plug in suppressors for the main TV components and computer system but they haven't done much to protect me from two lightning related surges in the past year. One surge fried the internet transceiver located in the antenna on our roof, plus zapped the hdmi ports on our DirecTV box and TV. The hdmi ports on the TV and DirecTV box got zapped for a second time last month.

Since nothing else in the house was affected, all the zapped units were plugged into suppressors and both incidents were related to systems with outside antennas, I'm thinking a whole house suppressor wouldn't have prevented the problem. But then I'm not an engine-near, so maybe I'm mistaken.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:54 PM   #8
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We have loads of electrical devices, the whole house suppressor we use is a modest cost in comparison. The service offered by the local power supplier is costly and inadequate.

We use this one Type-2 Complete Surge Protective Device for Home Electrical Power I recall researching heavily over at AVS Forum, but I couldn't say if there are better products out there, my knowledge of electrical things is shockingly low.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:57 PM   #9
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+1

We looked into them after a hit. They say a lot about how safe these are and gaurentee absolutely nothing
I came across this one that offers a limited $50K warranty for connected devices. It has decent reviews on Amazon and the "hoops" for the warranty don't seem too onerous, especially if you expect the company to fess up thousands of dollars. It looks mighty cheap and I have an electrician friend that would install it fairly cheap. Even if it helps *a little* I think it would be worth it.

https://www.amazon.com/Square-Schnei...urgeprotect-20
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:59 PM   #10
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A few years ago we had about $5K in damage from a strike. Insurance covered most of it, but I still got a whole house surge protector after that. It's worth having to hopefully not deal with the insurance company again.


Enjoying life!
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Old 06-14-2016, 02:36 PM   #11
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We were supposed to have one... when we bought the house it was sold with a whole house surge protector..... but the inspection said that the switch box used some bad breaker system and recommended that it be replaced... we insisted it be done on the owners dime.... and the electrician failed to put it back on the new panel...

Did not notice... basically because I did not know what to look for.... for over a year.... so did not get one put in....


To me, this is kinda like a backup generator... heck, less than that.... I have only lost one electronic component because of a surge.... but have had many power outages.... the cost might be worth it.... just do not know...
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:46 AM   #12
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I just installed a lightning and surge suppressors from Delta.
Had these on my other house for about 7 years and no problems.
Easy install IF you're comfortable working inside your breaker panel.
They also make one for phone line.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:07 AM   #13
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Beyond the whole house surge protector have you considered lighting rods. My dad had lighting rods put on the house I inherited (partly because the house he grew up in the country in had them). I think they saved the house as after one lighting strike, that blew the electronics, a car was also magnetized to the point that the compass would no longer work. Today rods are not more than a foot high. In particular if your house is about the highest thing around, then consider them.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:30 AM   #14
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Interesting foot note to my original posting...

I talked to a neighbor down the road during my AM dog walk and he was telling me about how his cable internet router fried everything that was attached to it and he had heard that it happened to 2 other people in the neighborhood (we do not have cable, internet is provided by telco). He had no idea of the vicious lightning storm yesterday (nor the other folks that had similar luck...) since he was at w*rk. It was a bit odd that for as violent the storm was, there was never a TS Warning issued.

Anyway, his fried components included 2 desktop computers, a high-end audio receiver (attached through some HDMI A/V adapter or something), a flat panel TV, a printer, and a wireless TV transmitter of some sort. He estimates his loss at about $5,000

So...I am rethinking my plan. The power company offers a whole house suppressor system for electrical, cable, and phone for $10 a month with $50K of coverage. I got to thinking just how much I have attached to my router(s) and it could get expensive pretty quick.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
We have loads of electrical devices, the whole house suppressor we use is a modest cost in comparison. The service offered by the local power supplier is costly and inadequate.

We use this one Type-2 Complete Surge Protective Device for Home Electrical Power I recall researching heavily over at AVS Forum, but I couldn't say if there are better products out there, my knowledge of electrical things is shockingly low.
That looks pretty good, though I'd need to do a lot more research on it. But that's a pretty easy thing to DIY for anyone who knows their way around house wiring.

For that price and ease, if it checks out, I think I'll do that. Plus a separate suppressor on the antenna (in the attic), and the internet coming in (from a dish - we have a local point-to-point wireless internet).

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Old 06-15-2016, 02:20 PM   #16
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Beyond the whole house surge protector have you considered lighting rods. My dad had lighting rods put on the house I inherited (partly because the house he grew up in the country in had them). I think they saved the house as after one lighting strike, that blew the electronics, a car was also magnetized to the point that the compass would no longer work. Today rods are not more than a foot high. In particular if your house is about the highest thing around, then consider them.
Funny you mention the lightning rod. Our house was originally built in 1978/79..but half of it was rebuilt in 2005 after a lightning strike caused a fire! (we were not the owners then)
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
That looks pretty good, though I'd need to do a lot more research on it. But that's a pretty easy thing to DIY for anyone who knows their way around house wiring.

For that price and ease, if it checks out, I think I'll do that. Plus a separate suppressor on the antenna (in the attic), and the internet coming in (from a dish - we have a local point-to-point wireless internet).

-ERD50
By antenna suppressors do you mean this type of thing ?

Coaxial Cable Surge Protector | Inline Surge Suppressor
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:24 PM   #18
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By antenna suppressors do you mean this type of thing ?

Coaxial Cable Surge Protector | Inline Surge Suppressor
Yes, but I don't see any ground connection on that. I'd want to connect right to a ground rod. Like this:

https://www.amazon.com/TII-Broadband...W9ZGE2BH2X4KEF

And I realize, I was commenting on Michael B's post, but was actually looking at the one from Amazon at the time. Michael's was from Eaton, looks similar though.

https://www.amazon.com/Square-Schnei...f_=as_li_ss_tl

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Old 06-15-2016, 08:28 PM   #19
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A lightning rod is the highest point on our place yet lightning ignored it and entered via the underground phone lines. The point is you can implement lots of protection yet still get hit by major zappage.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:45 PM   #20
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A lightning rod is the highest point on our place yet lightning ignored it and entered via the underground phone lines. The point is you can implement lots of protection yet still get hit by major zappage.
But major zappage is a lot less damage than a house burning down. This is what lighting rods are for. The house my dad grew up on a farm did not have electricty until 1939 so for about 30 years there was nothing to zap. (It did have a hand crank phone). However back then fire protection in the country was essentially non-existent so the company that provided the house insurance required the lightning rods.
Actually this does show how much electronics we now have compared even to the 1950s when my folks had 2 tube radios. (Which I suspect were more resistant to surges).
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