What to Consider Before Installing a Whole-House Surge Protector

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A whole-house surge protector system is an important investment for any home. It protects your home against power surges or voltage spikes caused by lightning strikes, downed power lines, faulty wiring, cycling of appliances within your home, or even high electricity demand in your area. Power surges can damage electrical appliances and also cause house fires.

Before installing a whole-house surge protector, here are a few things to consider.

Decide What Level of Protection You Need

The first thing you need to do when considering installing a whole-house surge protector system is to decide what level of protection you need. You’ll need to consider different factors:

  • The size of your home: The overall size of your home will help determine the amount of surge protection you need. The more outlets you have, the more surge protection you need.
  • The type of wiring in your home: Older homes may have out-of-date wiring that is more vulnerable to power surges. So, you might need more protection if you live in an older home.
  • The appliances and electronics in your home: If you have a lot of expensive or sensitive electronics, you'll want to ensure they are well-protected from power surges.
  • Your budget: Prices for surge protection devices can range from around $70 to $700 or more. The more expensive options will provide more features and better protection.

It's best to consult an electrician to help determine the level of surge protection you need for your home. You don't want to skimp on electrical protection and end up with damaged electronics.

Ensure Compatibility with Your Home's Electrical System

Ensure that the whole-house surge protector you select is compatible with your home's electrical system. Check the voltage and amperage rating of the unit and compare it to your home's electrical specs. You can find this information on your home's electrical service panel. If you have a 120/240-volt electrical system, you'll need a surge protector to handle both voltages.

Another compatibility consideration is the number of electrical circuits in your home. Most homes have between four and eight circuits. A whole-house surge protector with four or fewer circuits is usually sufficient for most homes. However, you may need a unit with more circuits if you have a large home with several major appliances.

Ensure It's Hard-Wired into Your Electrical Service Panel

Consider whether or not the whole-house surge protector will be hard-wired into your electrical service panel. This is important because you want to ensure that the surge protector is properly grounded and has a connection that can handle the amount of electricity your home uses. Hardwiring ensures that the surge protector is always working and that a power surge won't damage it. An electrician can help you determine the best way to install yours.

Check for Technical and Safety Features

The latest whole-house surge protectors are designed with various features to protect your home from electrical damage, make it easier to use, and keep your family safe. Some technical and safety features to look for include:

  • An indicator light, LED display, and alarm that lets you know whether the unit has failed or is still operational.
  • An automatic shutdown feature that turns off the power to your home if it detects a dangerous surge.
  • A built-in circuit breaker that trips if there is an overload, protecting your electrical system from damage.
  • UL & CSA Certification that ensures the unit meets safety standards.
  • Continuous Operating Voltage feature that protects against sustained overvoltages.
  • Surge Protection Ratings that indicate the unit's ability to withstand multiple surges.
  • NEMA Rating that certifies the surge prorector in terms of indoor and outdoor usage safety.

Get the Recommendations of a Trusted Electrician

In conclusion, if you want to install a whole-house surge protector, be sure to consult with a trusted electrician first. They will be able to provide you with the best recommendations on which type of surge protector to install and where to place it in your home. With their help, you can safeguard your home against electrical surges and keep your family safe.