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Thread: Electricians of CMC- whole house surge protector

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    Registered User CMC 302 way2qk4u2c's Avatar
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    Default Electricians of CMC- whole house surge protector

    I'm pretty good with electric and how it works but i'm no professional. I have been getting mixed opinions from users and professionals on whole house surge protectors. My questions are as follows:

    1. My understanding is whole house surge protector goes on your circuit panel to prevent surges entering your home such as lightning. Do you still need individual surge protectors on your items such as Tv's, receiver's, appliance's and etc...or is the 1 surge protector on the circuit panel enough?

    2. Which whole house surge protector do you recommend and have used?

    3. Is there different ways of installing a whole house surge protector?

    My theory is you need both because one prevents entering the house while the individual one prevents localized surges such as devices turning on and off like a vacuum or ac unit.

    Some say the one by the circuit panel will prevent localized surges which i don't see how that is possible? Does anyone know exactly what the right answer is?

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    Senior Member CMC Boss429 Hotrodder's Avatar
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    Well I am a commercial electrical designer (engineer without an engineering degree) so I'm not 100% certain about residential things but in general surge protectors serve two purposes. They handle surges to protect your panel board in the even of a large surge. So your panel will not trip, blow up, catch fire, etc. that's their primary function.

    A secondary function is that they can "clean up" the incoming power. Utility power is very "dirty" in the sense that the voltage spikes and dips and can cause stress on your equipment. Cleaning that power up means it is steadier and less stressful with spikes and dips.

    So local surge protection is a good idea because a gfci receptacle popping is easy and quick to reset or repair. A single incoming surge protector popping can be costly. However, in a residence it is very unlikely but would mean you had some other major problem that the device saved you from. It's good insurance you probably will never use whereas local you will almost certainly use.
    -Charlie

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    Registered User CMC Boss302 BadStang23's Avatar
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    I dont think you need to be too concerned about "localized" surges. Its a good idea to have your computers, tvs, stereo etc plugged into surge protector power strips but most surges come from the outside - lightning strikes and utility disturbances.

    In my opinion, a whole house surge protector hardwired at the panelboard is a great idea. They can be a few hundred bucks, but you dont want to skimp on a cheap unit, because it wont last long in the event of a surge. Go for a higher surge capacity - over 50kA. These are made by the same companies that make panelboards - like Eaton, GE, etc. Look up Eaton CHSPT2MAX.

    Ive known people who had surges take out evry appliance in the kitchen. Who puts their oven on a power strip? But, it wont work if the electronics get fried.
    Last edited by BadStang23; 02-01-2013 at 03:00 PM.

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    Registered User CMC 302 way2qk4u2c's Avatar
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    I like that Eaton model...question

    What's the difference between CHSPT1 and CHSPT2 - am i right that type 1 is ahead of main disconnect and type 2 is after main disconnect- so depending how your panel is setup is the type you should put in or will either model work?

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    Registered User CMC Boss302 BadStang23's Avatar
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    Looks like you're correct. Id probably use the type 1 if you were replacing the whole panel, because you can install it in the panel and not have to use up a breaker. But for a retrofit, its probably easier to install type 2 off a branch breaker. Just make sure the breaker is the right size/type according to the instructions.

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    The only thing i see bad about type 2 is what if the breaker is in the off position- i have no surge protection?

    Also, let's say a surge comes in and trips my breaker to the surge protector and the lightning storm continues to happen (and im on vacation and unable to cut main breaker) then im at risk again right?

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    Senior Member CMC Boss429 Hotrodder's Avatar
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    One thing to keep in mind, again commercially, we do not specify internal surge protection because when they do fail, they fail catastrophically. So if a unit fails, replace the unit. But if a unit fails internal to your panelboard, you may damage the board itself and have to replace everything.
    -Charlie

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    Resident Tire Kicker CMC SuperCobraJet DKING 89's Avatar
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    I'd still get individual surge protection for electronics like Computers and TV's.

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    3V roll racer CMC Boss460 GTStang08's Avatar
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    You want isobars...not a regular surge protector.

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