Whole House Surge Protection

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CaptainMarvel
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Whole House Surge Protection

Post by CaptainMarvel » Mon May 06, 2019 11:28 am

Has anyone ever had an electrician set up whole-house surge protection for your home? If so, about how much did you pay? I've been quote $550 from an electrician using what he calls the "Cutler-Hammer line - Ultra Surge Trap". That's from an electrician we've used for some other matters and that's a rather small company. Another larger firm electrician is quoting us $448, and that would be with an Angies List coupon.

Thank you.

mancich
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by mancich » Mon May 06, 2019 11:38 am

My brother in law, who is an electrician, installed one for me in about 20 minutes. The unit was an Intermatic, and he installed it right at the main panel. The unit itself was about $50. I'd get several quotes, but ultimately you should hire a professional. Good luck.

Winston19
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by Winston19 » Mon May 06, 2019 11:52 am

I have an Intermatic. I had an electrician install it after a lightning strike damaged some electronics.

I don't remember how much it cost (it was probably 10 years ago). The estimates don't seem unreasonable.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon May 06, 2019 12:29 pm

CaptainMarvel wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 11:28 am
Has anyone ever had an electrician set up whole-house surge protection for your home? If so, about how much did you pay? I've been quote $550 from an electrician using what he calls the "Cutler-Hammer line - Ultra Surge Trap". That's from an electrician we've used for some other matters and that's a rather small company. Another larger firm electrician is quoting us $448, and that would be with an Angies List coupon.

Thank you.
1. I don't have a whole-house surge protector, and am unlikely to get one.

2. Could be the price is mostly for just coming out. Maybe get some other stuff done at the same time for about the same money?

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southerndoc
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by southerndoc » Mon May 06, 2019 1:06 pm

I had two installed (we have two panels). Georgia gets a fair number of thunderstorms.

I think I paid around $350 each, but most of it was because I used a commercial company instead of a local electrician. You can probably get a better quote from a local electrician instead of using one of the flat-fee national companies.

gtd98765
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by gtd98765 » Mon May 06, 2019 2:03 pm

I had one installed for about $500 in a HCOL area; labor was much more expensive than the part itself. The electrician told me that specific surge protectors are made for specific power panels; you need to have a blank slot in your circuit-breaker box to get one installed.

After five months, it is still showing a green LED, which is good. I have no idea whether it has interrupted any surges yet or not.

mortfree
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by mortfree » Mon May 06, 2019 2:23 pm

$500 here as well from the electrician I always use.

Felt a little pricey

miamivice
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by miamivice » Mon May 06, 2019 2:26 pm

We have one in our house, but I don't trust it and still use regular surge protectors.

finfire
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by finfire » Mon May 06, 2019 2:30 pm

I have one at the main panel and another by the AC.

The surge protector was an eaton ultra.

rj342
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by rj342 » Mon May 06, 2019 2:31 pm

I don't have one; however, after having two significant lightning strikes one summer back in the 90s (one with about $12k damage to house itself)...
Do NOT make the mistake of thinking you no longer need need quality individual surge protectors on important devices, as the power line from a transformer on the street is NOT the only pathway in for a damaging surge or spike.
Your equipment can still get trashed over the cable TV coax cable, coax from satellite dish on roof, over a traditional landline, copper Uverse line, or even a direct strike to house or a nearby tree that gets into the house through ground. I had lightning jump from a pine tree (long since gone) a few feet from the house to the galvanized tin flashing on the eaves, run around roof blowing off shingles, and jump to a power line inside the attic. kaBOOM.
Caution -- A device with more than one connection - say a TV w elec power and cable tv can serve as a bridge across the different sets of wiring for the surge. So you will want to make sure all devices in your entertainment center have coax and power thru same surge protector - and if you have too many plugs and need more than one protector, use same brand. Surge can travel between device over HDMI cable. Also wired network cables for PCs, streaming TV box, etc.
Also, the protection policy from a name brand surge protector company can keep you form having to hit your homeowners insurance too often (plus not have a min deductible). Its been a while but I have received payouts from APC and Panamax. TrippLite should be good too. You *may* need ot register the surge protector when you get it to activate wty coverage.

Consider the whole house surge protector just another layer of protection, at least sparing you a lighting strike on a utility pole or a blowing transformer, taking some of the hit before it gets to your individual surge protectors, and also protecting lesser devices not worth buying their own surge protectors. You will also want to know what happens with the whole house protector in case of a large hit. Some used to have the protection circuit die doing its duty, but then you would still get power (though no longer protected), others as a fail safe will disconnect all power when the surge circuit dies. That differing behavior might matter if you have medical devices, expensive aquarium, etc. there will usually be a protection indicator light -- make it a habit to check that periodically, as they can 'wear out' w cumulative effect of smaller individual surges and spikes getting handled.

P.S. Almost forgot, I did at one point have some whole house protection at the *meter*, w a surge device sandwiched in, small rental fee form Alabama Power. However, they discontinued that program after a few years for whatever reason. I think it was fairly dumb, and to fast enough to protect fancier electronics.. more for AC, fans, refrigerators, big appliances etc, general fire risk.

Bnjneer
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by Bnjneer » Mon May 06, 2019 2:50 pm

Had one installed at the main panel by a licensed electrician. I think the cost was less than $100 and it took him less than 10 minutes to install.

Luke Duke
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by Luke Duke » Mon May 06, 2019 3:00 pm

I bought one of these and installed it in about 15-20 minutes. They are very easy to install if your panel is surface mounted and not recessed into the wall.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AQAKRSS/

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dratkinson
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by dratkinson » Mon May 06, 2019 6:29 pm

Topic has been previously discussed. Can search for other opinions.


A whole house surge protection device (SPD) is relatively cheap and easy to install.

I installed a GE snap-in unit (~$40, HD) in my home's 1st electrical panel (shop/garage). I leave the panel door open so I can see the indicator light when I walk by: "All is well."

Some time after this, a thunderstorm caused my neighbors to lose their cordless phone system and sprinkler system controller. I lost nothing.


I added the (more expensive/stronger/better) Eaton unit to my home's 2nd electrical panel after reading "What's the best whole-house surge protection?": https://www.stevejenkins.com/blog/2014/ ... rotection/


Belt and suspenders.

As an SPD is a limited-life component and the GE unit is weaker, I expect it to fail first and sacrifice itself to protect my home and the more expensive Eaton unit. Plan to replace it with same if it fails.

Surge strips watch over my PC and digital TV.

Everything else is on it own.
d.r.a, not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

retired_tom
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by retired_tom » Tue May 07, 2019 6:36 am

Our power company offers whole house surge protection. They lease it to us. $5 a month. They install it for free. It's an addon to the electrical meter. They pop off the electrical meter, plug this surge protection unit in it's place, and plug the meter back on top of it. Then they handed me a big box of new assorted surge protection devices for the TV, computers, appliances, pretty much everything is covered. If anything goes wrong with the unit, or it wears out, it's replaced. Ok, so I'm paying $60 a year, but I view it like insurance.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by Nearly A Moose » Tue May 07, 2019 11:31 pm

retired_tom wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:36 am
Our power company offers whole house surge protection. They lease it to us. $5 a month. They install it for free. It's an addon to the electrical meter. They pop off the electrical meter, plug this surge protection unit in it's place, and plug the meter back on top of it. Then they handed me a big box of new assorted surge protection devices for the TV, computers, appliances, pretty much everything is covered. If anything goes wrong with the unit, or it wears out, it's replaced. Ok, so I'm paying $60 a year, but I view it like insurance.
Sounds like a nice program. Not available on my area. We had a whole house unit out in by our electrician (small shop) last fall in an HCOL area. I know from experience our guy is on the pricier side, but he seems to do good work, is punctual, helpful on permitting and follow up, and runs a clean job site. Anyway, it was about 450 for the whole house unit, and that was part of a couple thousand bucks of fixes done all at once before we moved into the our new previously owned home.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

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F150HD
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by F150HD » Wed May 08, 2019 2:23 pm

You can install something like this in your breaker box- from Home Depot

Whole Home Surge Protection Unit-Panel Mount

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CABob
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by CABob » Wed May 08, 2019 2:58 pm

retired_tom wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:36 am
Our power company offers whole house surge protection. They lease it to us. $5 a month. They install it for free. It's an addon to the electrical meter. They pop off the electrical meter, plug this surge protection unit in it's place, and plug the meter back on top of it. Then they handed me a big box of new assorted surge protection devices for the TV, computers, appliances, pretty much everything is covered. If anything goes wrong with the unit, or it wears out, it's replaced. Ok, so I'm paying $60 a year, but I view it like insurance.
If you have a whole house system, I assume installed at your meter, why do you have the individual surge protectors for each device? I assumed that the individual protectors are what you would be trying to eliminate.
Bob

Digital Dave
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by Digital Dave » Wed May 08, 2019 9:25 pm

I bought an Intermatic whole house surge protector a long time ago. (I used to sell them at a small electronics distributor I worked for.) I installed it myself, but I'm used to installing electrical devices. I check the LED status check now and again. Haven't had any lightning problems after installation. I would recommend one. They shouldn't be real expensive to install it. An electrician should be able to do it well within a half hour.
Investing in Mutual Funds, ETF's, P2P Lending, Forever Stamps and Bittulips.

autolycus
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by autolycus » Thu May 09, 2019 7:21 am

CABob wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 2:58 pm
retired_tom wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:36 am
Our power company offers whole house surge protection. They lease it to us. $5 a month. They install it for free. It's an addon to the electrical meter. They pop off the electrical meter, plug this surge protection unit in it's place, and plug the meter back on top of it. Then they handed me a big box of new assorted surge protection devices for the TV, computers, appliances, pretty much everything is covered. If anything goes wrong with the unit, or it wears out, it's replaced. Ok, so I'm paying $60 a year, but I view it like insurance.
If you have a whole house system, I assume installed at your meter, why do you have the individual surge protectors for each device? I assumed that the individual protectors are what you would be trying to eliminate.
The whole house systems only protect against a specific scenario--a surge on the power lines outside your house. They do not eliminate the need for additional protection for sensitive electronics but they might save other things that most people would never protect through a power strip. Things like recessed lights, ceiling fans, etc. are vulnerable to surges but you cannot really just plug them into a surge-protected power strip. The whole house solution adds some protection to those as well as adding a layer of redundant protection for certain types of surges for items that are plugged into surge-protected power strips.

UALflyer
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by UALflyer » Thu May 09, 2019 7:51 am

CABob wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 2:58 pm
retired_tom wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:36 am
Our power company offers whole house surge protection. They lease it to us. $5 a month. They install it for free. It's an addon to the electrical meter. They pop off the electrical meter, plug this surge protection unit in it's place, and plug the meter back on top of it. Then they handed me a big box of new assorted surge protection devices for the TV, computers, appliances, pretty much everything is covered. If anything goes wrong with the unit, or it wears out, it's replaced. Ok, so I'm paying $60 a year, but I view it like insurance.
If you have a whole house system, I assume installed at your meter, why do you have the individual surge protectors for each device? I assumed that the individual protectors are what you would be trying to eliminate.
A whole house surge protector is designed to protect you against external power surges. Not all power surges are external though, as some of your internal devices can generate power surges as well that would not be intercepted by any whole house surge protectors (because those surges would occur behind those meter mounted surge protectors) and damage sensitive electronics.

Further, whole house surge protectors frequently have 600V in let through voltage, which can damage sensitive electronics. Keep in mind that with even the best UL rated surge protectors, both the whole house ones and the point of use, are allowed up to 10% variability, so a 600V clamping voltage can mean that up to 660V are let through. You can get some of the better, but still inexpensive, point of use UL compliant surge protectors with lower clamping voltages. The fact that a whole house surge protector is installed ahead of them will cause the point of use surge protectors to intervene less frequently and only for lower spikes, which will cause them to last much longer.

Also, a point of use surge protector can also protect you against surges on other types of lines, such as coaxial cables, etc...

oko
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by oko » Thu May 09, 2019 8:41 am

I had it installed several years ago. I bought the unit for $50, and I hired an electrician to do the job. He did this job and a few others (connecting an energy meter, replacing several breakers) for only $100. So it cost me $150 including unrelated additional work. I don't know why they quote this high. IMO buy the item yourself and ask for bids for an install. Installing it should be less than 20 minutes as long as there are free slots in your electric box (I am pretty sure the installers assume a free slot for their quotes. If there are not, they will probably charge you much more).

I guess this is similar to UV installation. You can buy a UV device for ~$100 and install it yourself for free (unlike surge protector, no death risk). Install is 30-40 minutes, but companies charge hundreds for the whole package as if it is a big deal.

tampaite
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by tampaite » Thu May 09, 2019 8:50 am

Deleting my messages on this forum
Last edited by tampaite on Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

oko
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Re: Whole House Surge Protection

Post by oko » Thu May 09, 2019 9:11 am

BTW: None of the "angie's list coupons" ever helped us. One company told me that they are using a different pricing for angie's list coupons. I understood this as they bid something for $500 if angie's is not involved, and $600 with $100 coupon if angie's is involved.

Last time I used an angie's deal, the plumber charged $125 for the "extra" hours that angie's does not cover. After that point, I thought not using angie's ever. There were some good discussions about this in late Fatwallet's finance forums.

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