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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Whole House Surge Protectors

    When I had my heat pump system replaced in November, the HVAC contractor offered to add surge protection at the condensor disconnect, for a price, of course. I told him to wait on that because I was interested in protecting all my circuits at the main breaker, which is outside next to the meter. I don't want the "whole house" equipment installed by Florida Power & Light, as they charge a monthly fee and I've seen reports that it's not worth the cost.

    Problem is I've not been successful in locating any licensed electrical contractor willing to bid on installing a "whole house" surge protector. I found one who would install it if I ordered the Square D equipment myself from Home Depot, which is the only "whole house" unit I've been able to find online. Everyone else said their soluton is to replace each individual breaker in the panel with a "surge protection breaker".

    Should I keep calling contractors about a "whole house" surge protector, or is this not something that's installed routinely and I'm wasting my time?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Florida
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    69
    There are all different kinds of surge suppressor systems. A good one that protects power, phone and cable will probably run between 200-300 dollars plus maybe a couple of hours labor. I really don't see most people using them and can't really answer how effective they are, but some people are sold on them

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
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    It depends on the level of protection you want.

    Florida is one of the most lightning-intense places in the US. Lightning is a major cause of power line surges.

    If FP&L offers some sort of service guarantee, then that may be the way to go. In Pennsylvania, I have a protector on a dual breaker. I have no other circuits such as phone wire or computers connected to it, but if I was in Florida, I certainly would have everything connected for surge protection

    Why not contact your HO insurance Co, and see what they recommend.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
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    63
    Well, the main breaker panel is the best place to put one of these devices. You want to clamp the voltage coming into the house where there is a good ground.

    forget about telephone - it has it's own, already.

    cable TV: you might look into doing something separately at it's service entrance. what it has now is likely to be just a grounding block, but local practice may vary. I have not researched this. The safest and most reliable way to deal with an impending lighting storm is to disconnect the cable from the box - adding a push-on connector type adapter can make this easier.

    This is what you are looking for. It should be under $200.00. It protects all of the circuits in your house.

    PDF: HEPD.pdf

    It is available at Home depot, but at any electrical supply house, as well. guaranteed.

    There is absolutely no reason to install multiple 'surge suppressor breakers', other than to take more of your money. Most Electricians won't understand this thing. A possible resource might be a home theatre contractor, but that could get pricey too.

    It does appear that even Square-D has gotten on the 'insurance' type warranty, but that is marketing hype, for the most part. It might be worth looking at the fine-print for what the power company offers.

    Keep in mind that these are sacrificial components (technical term: Metal Oxide Varistor) and have a limited lifetime.

    It is a simple installation, Just make sure you have a good ground.

    .ja.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Vero Beach, FL
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    23
    If I only had a spare breaker location in the panel.. or the subpanel....... Installing a larger subpanel and freeing up some space in the panel is one of my 'to do's' when I finally move south. Eaton makes a whole house suppressor also... http://makeitright.ca/Holmes_Product...rge-protection

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
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    18,255
    Another unit shown on Mike's program is the SyCom. That's what I use.

    http://fencesupplyinc.com/shop/sycom...protector.html
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Greenjeans View Post
    This is what you are looking for. It should be under $200.00. It protects all of the circuits in your house.

    PDF: HEPD.pdf
    Sorry, but this is definitely NOT what I'm looking for. Please review installation instruction 3 and 4 on page 3. The HEPD 80 protects a single 20 AMP circuit.

    The product I was referring to is the Whole House SPD described in the attached Square D product brochure. My main breaker is outdoors between the meter can and the cable/telephone service entrance, so the SDSB1175R or SDSB1175RB would suit my application.

    Does anyone have any experience with this type of SPD? I have all new Square D panels, breakers, and meter can as well as a new grounding rod.

    Square D Surge Protective Devices.pdf

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Vero Beach, FL
    Posts
    23
    Joy,

    The 20a breaker recommendation is for safety to insure that a fault in the protector will pop the breaker. The device is protecting all the loads in the panel. You should find that all of the protection products specify a 20 or 30 amp breaker. The only thing attached to the subject 20 or 30 amp breaker will be the protection device.

    Quote Originally Posted by Florida Joy View Post
    Sorry, but this is definitely NOT what I'm looking for. Please review installation instruction 3 and 4 on page 3. The HEPD 80 protects a single 20 AMP circuit.

    The product I was referring to is the Whole House SPD described in the attached Square D product brochure. My main breaker is outdoors between the meter can and the cable/telephone service entrance, so the SDSB1175R or SDSB1175RB would suit my application.

    Does anyone have any experience with this type of SPD? I have all new Square D panels, breakers, and meter can as well as a new grounding rod.

    Square D Surge Protective Devices.pdf

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    63
    Quote Originally Posted by Florida Joy View Post
    Sorry, but this is definitely NOT what I'm looking for. Please review installation instruction 3 and 4 on page 3. The HEPD 80 protects a single 20 AMP circuit...
    This is where the most confusion comes in. Although a surge suppressor may be connected through a 20A breaker, it does not just protect that branch circuit. In fact it is generally connected to a dedicated circuit breaker for convenience of servicing. It still protects the whole system. Look at the Homeline / QO style on p16 of your PDF - they take the place of a breaker slot. No branch circuit can connect to them. They only have the white grounded conductor (neutral) coming out of them.

    "must be installed as close to neutralassembly and main circuit breaker or main lugs
    as possible. Keep wire lengths as short as
    possible with no sharp bends."

    This is why your surge suppressor outlet strip is not effective for the rest of the electrical system. It is too far away. It has just about the same electronic component internally. They are really very simple devices. With a lot of hype.
    Peace,
    Jim A.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    69
    I think you misunderstood what they meant in those installation instructions. They recommended attaching the hot leads at either a single pole or double pole 20 amp breaker, not that it only protects that circuit. Using a two pole breaker the house surge protector is electrically connected to both hot bus bars, as well as a line to your neutral bar and grounding rod. Some manufacturers suggest attaching them to larger breakers, but they essentially are the same set up. In the event of a severe overvoltage, your service panel and suppressor will most likely be toast, but it should protect your wiring and electrical appliances.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkeener View Post
    Joy,

    The 20a breaker recommendation is for safety to insure that a fault in the protector will pop the breaker. The device is protecting all the loads in the panel. You should find that all of the protection products specify a 20 or 30 amp breaker. The only thing attached to the subject 20 or 30 amp breaker will be the protection device.
    Don, perhaps I misunderstood the instruction, but it's still a Type 2 SPD. I was interested in a Type 1 breakerless installation on the service side of the main, not on the load side within the sub-panel where my individual breakers are. Reference attached FAQ.

    Doesn't the Type 2 on the load side have to be at the very first breaker position to protect all the circuits below it? I have several blank spaces at the bottom, but it would mean re-wiring a lot of breakers to accomodate positioning a new one at the top.

    SPD FAQs.pdf

  12. #12
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    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
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    My type 2 is not at the top. The electrons won't know it's not at the top, either.

  13. #13
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    Location
    Florida Space Coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    My type 2 is not at the top. The electrons won't know it's not at the top, either.
    Thanks! I started searching some months ago and thought I'd read something about positioning SPD breakers at the top. With my limited electrical knowledge and my great fear of touching this stuff myself, I must have misunderstood. Anyway, I'd still like to stop the surge from outside the house, before it has a chance to fry my indoor sub-panel.

    Here's the device that FPL installs for 9.95 a month, plus tax.

    Meter Treater Residential SPD.pdf

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