Do I Need A Surge Protector For My House?


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The question of “do I need a surge protector for my house?” to protect your home appliances with surge protection devices is a personal one, but it is something you should take seriously.

This is true especially if you use sensitive or expensive equipment. The price of replacing your electronic gear in a normal home is around $8,000. 

This amount can without a doubt peak at $20,000 if the owner has a sophisticated entertainment arrangement or a home-based office filled with technology.

I recommend installing a system that affords you surge protection for your entire home, not just pinpointed areas of protection. 

The cost of basic surge protection or surge suppression is minimal compared to the price of replacing equipment such as audio or video equipment.

In this article, you’re going to find out whether or not you need a surge protector for your home. Read on.

What Is A Power Surge?

power surge

A power surge is an instantaneous spike in voltage and that spike in voltage creates havoc inside your home.

The surge can happen through lightning, power outages, the utility fluctuations that coming to your home, and also it can be created inside your home through the equipment that you have such as air conditioning, dryer, and any bad devices. 

The standard voltage for most home systems in the US is 120 volts. When the voltage surges above 120, it can result in significant damage to any sensitive electronic devices like your computer, microwave, doorbell, television, and more. 

When this abnormal-high level of current through an electrical system, it generates heat. When it reaches the connected devices at the end of the line, it can damage the electrical components.

To illustrate, think of a power surge like water pressure in a hose. When it gets too much pressure in a hose, the pressure keeps building. So when there is no release, eventually the hose will burst.

Similarly, an electrical wire “bursts” when too much voltage is forced through, but the burst takes the form of overheating and burning.

When Do You Need A Surge Protector?

The sensitive equipment inside your computer, home theater, DSL equipment, gaming console, or whatever else needs a certain amount of electricity to run properly.

If it’s too much will cause malfunctions or even destroy it entirely. So the power that comes out of your outlet on your wall is actually susceptible to voltage surges. 

So that’s why many people use surge protectors to keep their stuff the same from nasty electrical mishaps.

However, many people think that having a surge protector installed at their home will protect against any kind of power surges. However, a surge protector isn’t like that.

Here are three points to understand what a surge protector isn’t: 

  • It is not the same as a regular power stripe which provides no form of surge protection or suppression or anything like that.
  • It is not the same as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which provides emergency backup power during an outage. 
  • It is no the same as a power conditioner that can clean up mild interference that causes electrical noise if the power running to your home isn’t the best.

Instead, a surge protector does exactly what is said. It protects against voltage surges that happen whenever there’s an unintended change in electrical charge somewhere on the circuit that’s going to your power outlet.

That’s because the voltage is basically just a difference in charge that allows current to flow. So too much voltage can cause too much current which can fry your electronics.

So How Does Surge Protection Work?

Whenever it detects a surge it actually shunts the extra electricity through a semiconducting material to a grounding wire which connects to that third prong on your plug. 

This will send excess voltage back to the return line in the building’s wiring which might trip a circuit breaker but won’t damage whatever is plugged into the surge protector. 

But before you rush out to buy one remember that all surge protectors have limitations. Most importantly they don’t last forever.

Every surge protector is rated for a certain number of Joules, a measurement of energy that can absorb. 

Once a certain number of Joules hit your surge protector it won’t offer any more protection and hardly anything will save you from a really strong power surge such as from a nearby lightning strike.

How Do To Protect Your Home From Power Surges?

To effectively protect your electric and electronic equipment from all sources of damaging power surges, you need to implement whole house surge protection.

Whole house surge protection requires three types of surge protective devices at three levels within the home.

Level 1: Install On The Metering Equipment

Type 1 surge protector goes on your metering equipment which on the outside of the house. So this device is your first line of defense and it’s going to stop suppressing the surges originated outside the home.

Although these devices protect against external power surges, however, they but do not protect your home against internally generated power sources and surges.

Normally, you can only get type 1 from the power co and they will install it but you. But if you’re looking to buy, you might want to consider Type 1 Split Phase Surge Protective from Siemens. 

Level 2: At The Panel Inside Your House

Type 2 surge suppression will go on your main breaker box. If you have multiple breaker boxes in the house you’ll need multiple types to surge protection. 

The purpose of type 2 surge protector is to absorb that the 80% of surges that are included from inside the home. 

It keeps the surges from going through the circuit in the house and damaging your electronics. It also helps absorb any surges to get back the type 1 outside. 

Leviton offers several Type 2 surge protective panels designed specifically for this purpose such as 51120-1 surge panel. This will protect your home from most medium to large power surges. 

Level 3: At The Device

Type 3 surge protection comes in two types. The first one is a hard-wired surge receptacle where you can install it behind the washing machine or any electrical appliances in your home.

The second one is your standard power strip which can be used at your computer, television, and sensitive electronic devices.

Surge protective strips provide superior protection for everyday use in the home, offices, and entertainment areas where multiple devices will need power and protection.

Check out the best power strips here on Amazon.

Do I Need A Surge Protector For My House?

A quick answer is YES!

To effectively protect your electric and electronic equipment from all sources of damaging power surges, you need to implement whole house surge protection.

You probably have Type 1 surge protector installed already at your house but you can also install a type 2 surge protector as an extra defense line. 

Make sure you get one that is certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). It’s a consulting company that tests electronics equipment. 

Finally, if you’ve decided to install whole-house surge protection, engage with the professional for a better solution, and installation advice.