• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Suggestions whole house surge/lightning protection?

6speed

Active Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
127
Likes
69
Location
Virginia, USA
#1
I am already familiar with Zero Surge and Surgex series mode devices and a lot of their competition, but am wondering if anyone has any suggestions about whole house surge/lightning protection. Which ones
  1. Clamp faster
  2. Have a lower let through voltage
  3. Incorporate multiple devices/tech to achieve #1 and 2 e.g. MOV + TVSS etc?
  4. Are easily services when components fail
  5. Other features/specs/considerations?
I am looking for something to install under my breaker panel indoors.
 

solderdude

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
8,326
Likes
17,296
Location
The Neverlands
#2
MOV's and TVS are fine for clamping pulses created by stuff being switched on and off.
They do not protect against lightning strikes fairly close by.

Look for Surge protectors like this
 
OP
6speed

6speed

Active Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
127
Likes
69
Location
Virginia, USA
Thread Starter #3
I am not familiar with these or their installation method. They look like parallel devices, but are they meant to be installed in their own box in parallel with the main breaker panel. I'm in the US so our breaker panel standards might be different.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
32,087
Likes
105,594
Location
Seattle Area
#4
I am not familiar with these or their installation method. They look like parallel devices, but are they meant to be installed in their own box in parallel with the main breaker panel. I'm in the US so our breaker panel standards might be different.
The simplest thing that is pretty effective is to ask your power company to install a "TVSS" (surge protector) in your electric meter. We put in a 200 amp one for $320 installed I think. They open the meter, put in the board, and close it up and you are done. It works well there because the meter has a very short path to earth ground.

Next option would be one that is placed right at your entrance breaker panel. The leads must be kept short for these to work.

The point of use ones like you are thinking of are not very effective since they impedance is high to the safety ground. They can also dump surge into other devices in your home.

Note that your insurance company will most likely cover lightning surge/damage sans your deductible.
 
OP
6speed

6speed

Active Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
127
Likes
69
Location
Virginia, USA
Thread Starter #5
In the meter is a good idea. I am looking for all effective add-ons that don't create new problems (e.g. interrupting the existing power feed). I deliberately under-engineered the power supply for my amps, but in most cases, I am a big fan of over-engineering.
 

DonH56

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
5,001
Likes
8,488
Location
Monument, CO
#7
I'll have to look tonight. We had surge and lightning protection installed when we built the house 25+ years ago. They are not MOV-based (MOV's are sacrificial and without measuring them you can't tell when they go bad). It is two separate units, the high-power lightning box and a secondary surge protection box, mounted near our main service panel. The lightning protection will probably (almost certainly) not stop a direct hit but most anything else. We had a tree hit near our back deck, and several times other trees fairly near the house have been hit. No damage except to the cable line (they added a spark-gap arrestor after it was hit, natch). Fortunately I had an internal surge protector on the cable line and it was not directly hit (but durn close). Neighbors lost equipment in their house, TV and fridge plus a number of smaller items, then installed their own units and I haven't heard of any problems since.

We asked about a TVSS but in our area they said (a) they include one automatically and (b) the meter was too far from the house for adequate protection and to add whole-house protection if we wanted to be safe.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
36
Likes
24
#9
Stores like Home Depot sell Siemens MOV add on units that attach to the side of your mains breaker panel. They do have an led indicator when the MOV is shot (green led on - still good). At just under $100 USD, about as cheap and practical to add yourself as you are going to get.

Just make sure to turn off the Main Breaker for the home before wiring it in and avoiding touching the mains input wiring as well which would still be live. Not hard, but if you are not sure what you are doing, get help.
 

Doodski

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
5,438
Likes
4,377
Location
Canada
#10
Stores like Home Depot sell Siemens MOV add on units that attach to the side of your mains breaker panel. They do have an led indicator when the MOV is shot (green led on - still good). At just under $100 USD, about as cheap and practical to add yourself as you are going to get.

Just make sure to turn off the Main Breaker for the home before wiring it in and avoiding touching the mains input wiring as well which would still be live. Not hard, but if you are not sure what you are doing, get help.
Isn't it against the electrical code to modify the breaker panel oneself without a electrician?
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
36
Likes
24
#12
Hello,

Yes, depends on where you live. Even where it is legal, you need to keep the wiring according to your areas electrical codes.
And yes, voltage and current in a main box can kill if you get careless. Be careful.
 

DonH56

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
5,001
Likes
8,488
Location
Monument, CO
#13
The times I have done my own electrical work it was OK to do it myself as long as it was inspected afterwards. That spans several states, but local codes may vary, natch.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom