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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. Looking for advice on for a whole house surge protector (in a low to moderate lightning area) - what product to install and where based on my specific breaker panels (main & sub, and has photovoltaics - not worried about the solar panels getting hit - more about surges through the grid). See pic:

157051


As I understand it, there are three options (am I missing any?):
1) external surge protector wired to breaker panel
2) surge protector that plugs directly into double-pole slot
3) a protector that plugs into the meter slot

For the plug'n'play option (#2), I think I need to install it at the top of the main breaker for best response time, but in my case those slots are filled. There are spaces in the sub-panel however, so I guess moving a bunch of stuff around is an option.

For ease of installation (and reasonable protection against brownout/lightning surges), what's my best option? Grateful for any ideas here.
-Pete
 

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Estwing magic
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Stigmergy, this is a site for electricians only. We do have a sister site www.DIYChatroom.com if this is a DIY project.

This particular subject, however, may be of interest to our membership. You’re looking for product advice. When it comes to installation, it should be done by a qualified electrician. We can discuss products and applications but, according to the site rules, we don’t tell homeowners how to wire it.

I see no reason why this thread can’t stay open providing it doesn’t become a DIY project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for clarifying, 99cents.

For this post, I welcome ideas that could be taken to a qualified electrician that would help minimize labor while providing a reasonable level of protection from surges. In particular, from related posts, it sounds like there are important nuances about how and where to install the surge protector that may not be familiar to electricians who do not install these devices often.

That said, I am not averse to exploring a DIY approach, and for this I will check out your sister site. Thanks for the reference.

Regards
 

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Check with your electric utility and see if they'll install and maintain a surge arrestor at the meter with a small monthly charge and a connected equipment warranty. It's often the best way for a consumer to go.

And if you have critical or expensive equipment in the building, contact a local electrician for what works in your situation. He'll know what brands work and which ones stand behind their product.

Just a heads up - lightning goes through five miles of free air before it gets to your house (or office). Nothing will stop everything. Power company distribution systems will always have surges. Buildings will always lose neutrals. Best we can do is mitigate that window of event which current technology provides at the price we're willing to pay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Check with your electric utility and see if they'll install and maintain a surge arrestor at the meter with a small monthly charge and a connected equipment warranty. It's often the best way for a consumer to go.
Thanks MikeFL - sadly it's not an option with my electric company. They recommend putting something on the panel.

And if you have critical or expensive equipment in the building, contact a local electrician for what works in your situation. He'll know what brands work and which ones stand behind their product.

Just a heads up - lightning goes through five miles of free air before it gets to your house (or office). Nothing will stop everything. Power company distribution systems will always have surges. Buildings will always lose neutrals. Best we can do is mitigate that window of event which current technology provides at the price we're willing to pay.
Understood - thanks. I don't expect a foolproof solution here. Just looking to improve the odds and/or reduce impacts.
 

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Just install it anywhere in either panel that's convenient. If you really believe that some surge is going to enter and, if the unit is wired in one spot in one panel as opposed to another spot in the other panel will mean the difference between your stereo getting fried or not - you have fallen for the marketing hype of what surge arrestors are capable of.
 
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Check with your electric utility and see if they'll install and maintain a surge arrestor at the meter with a small monthly charge and a connected equipment warranty. It's often the best way for a consumer to go.

And if you have critical or expensive equipment in the building, contact a local electrician for what works in your situation. He'll know what brands work and which ones stand behind their product.

Just a heads up - lightning goes through five miles of free air before it gets to your house (or office). Nothing will stop everything. Power company distribution systems will always have surges. Buildings will always lose neutrals. Best we can do is mitigate that window of event which current technology provides at the price we're willing to pay.
Our POCO is now installing a TVSS unit on the meter box for a one time charge of $58.00. A super deal if the manufacturer is a reputable one like Eaton or Square D. About 99% of the time a HO will think this will also serve as a lightning arrester.... NOT!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just install it anywhere in either panel that's convenient. If you really believe that some surge is going to enter and, if the unit is wired in one spot in one panel as opposed to another spot in the other panel will mean the difference between your stereo getting fried or not - you have fallen for the marketing hype of what surge arrestors are capable of.
Thanks. My evolving beliefs about what a surge arrestor can do are certainly being informed by what I read here.
 

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Thanks. My evolving beliefs about what a surge arrestor can do are certainly being informed by what I read here.
Don't think of it as a bubble of higher pressure water beginning at the point of fault and traveling along the wire into your panel... it is for all intents and purposes instantaneous that the voltage across the entire conductor simply rises relative to everything else.
 
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Why have one when you can have two. Why have two when you can have 3.

Suppressors are a layered affect. I have dealt with the aftermath of many lightning strikes where the first few layers are toast yet we have managed to save the expensive plc equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Why have one when you can have two. Why have two when you can have 3.

Suppressors are a layered affect. I have dealt with the aftermath of many lightning strikes where the first few layers are toast yet we have managed to save the expensive plc equipment.
Thanks - I like the layered idea. So a Siemens + a plug-in + UPS at point of service perhaps. I'm not trying to protect a delicate circuit in a flux capacitor or anything - but I want a reasonable level of protection (given current technology) where the cost/benefit analysis works out. And I think investing up to $1000 (all told) would not be unreasonable in my case.
 

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Why have one when you can have two. Why have two when you can have 3.

Suppressors are a layered affect. I have dealt with the aftermath of many lightning strikes where the first few layers are toast yet we have managed to save the expensive plc equipment.
Same here.... cascading does work!
 
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