Whole house surge protectors operate at the point of entry, where powerful currents from outside your home could get into your electrical system and cause major damage. They prevent currents exceeding a specified voltage from passing through. External power surges can include those from:
- Lightning: A single lightning bolt can generate a billion volts of electricity. It can travel miles from a thunderstorm but create intense voltage spikes that can short out appliances and cause fires. If a bolt strikes utility equipment, the voltage can travel through utility lines directly into your home.
- Trees: If a tree limb hits a power line, it can disrupt the normal flow of electricity and trigger surges that can cause severe damage. There are probably thousands of trees in your neighborhood, so it can be hard to predict when a sudden wind gust breaks loose a small branch.
- Outages: Restoring power following an outage comes with the risk of surges in electricity. Since these can’t always be controlled, excess current can travel through power cables as well as telephone and cable TV lines leading directly to your house.
Whole House vs. Point-of-Use Surge Protectors
A whole house surge protector absorbs higher voltages than a point-of-use device, which can easily overheat and catch fire when exposed to extremely high voltages. Many are at risk with just a few volts over their rating. Although a whole house system can protect against surges as high as 1,000 volts, one with 600 volts is sufficient for most homes. In fact, it is often more recommended because allowing in higher voltages presents various risks to appliances, electronics, and other equipment.
Best Whole House Surge Protectors
With so many on the market, it can be difficult to find the best whole house surge protector for your home. At Express Electrical Services, our technicians can help you find the most suitable one. But here are some models worth considering:
- Siemens FS140: A three-stage protection system catches small and large surges. This unit also has digital notifications and LED lights, so you immediately know the status of the device. Plus, it’s rated for indoor and outdoor use.
- Easton CHSPT2ULTRA: A compact type 2 protector that installs inside or outside a breaker panel. One LED indicates whether the protector is active, while another indicates the presence of a surge. The device can also protect phone and cable lines.
- Schneider Electric HEPD80: Bolting directly to the breaker panel, it is designed to be placed on the first fuse to absorb surges before they get to other breakers. It is suited for small and large homes and is rated for indoor and outdoor use.
How Surge Suppression Protects Your Home
Most surge protectors designed to protect the whole house use metal oxide varistors that absorb excess electrical current. On the other hand, these allow normal voltages to flow to electronics. This is known as sacrificial shunt mode technology. Excessively high electrical currents are shunted away from sensitive electrical devices. A quality whole house surge protector can last for several years while providing full protection.
Install a Whole House Surge Protector
Our licensed electricians in Los Angeles install and maintain whole house surge protectors. While most surges last a fraction of a second, they can do significant damage. Our electrical technicians are trained to properly install surge protectors to protect against appliance failure and electrical fires. We’re available 24/7 in Southern California and respond in 60 to 90 minutes, so request service today and we’ll help protect your home.