Surge Protectors, Types, Installation, Benefits & Advice

A power surge is a global challenge. It doesn’t matter your geographical location. If a surge protector does not power your home, you risk your electronics, gadget, appliances, etc., to thunder, lightning, storms, and electrical bridges. You may not see the need to install a whole house surge or power your electronics with it until becoming a victim of unforeseen surges. It is not only homes that need a surge protector; industries and commercial organizations also need them. A higher electrical power than usual is referred to as a power surge. Picture it from this view, most countries’ household appliances and electronics are rated btw 110 and 220, except for the United States, whose rating is 120v. If the electricity coming into the electrical is higher or lower can result in power surges. When this happens, it could lead to poor performance of your gadgets, sometimes total damage them. A power surge can be internal (resulting from electricity) or external (due to thunder lightnings, storms, floods, etc.). The internal occur due to overloading of circuit current, faulting wiring, very low or high power supply. All of these issues are not something one can be monitoring. Central protection can handle both internal and external surges. This way, your house, and investments will be fully secured.

Types of surge protector

There are three types and are classified base on their areas of installation. Understanding them will inform you of the best type to use for your building and home devices. But it is possible to have a combined type installed in your property. So what are the different types?

Type 1

Suppose you want to protect your entire home against surges, considering opting for this kind. Type 1 surges are installed on the home central electrical grid system (between the home meter and the power line), protecting any against surges that may occur externally due to thunder, lighting, storms, power surges, etc., coming into the building. While type 1 seems to be the highest form of preventing power bridges, its installation requires electrical engineering or electrician, and the cost of installing is quite expensive. If you can connect a type 1 into your structure, be assured that it is optimally protected.

Type 2

Possibly, you don’t have enough budget for type 1 installation, opting for type 2 can be the next option. With this, your house is partially protected because the surge will be installed into the home circuit breakers (panel), and only the electricity supplied into the house is secured. The one entering the power grid is not, and if the panel breakers fail your appliances, TV, devices, and others will be affected. 

Type 3

These are surge protectors for circuits, extensions, outlets, or plugs, and this can only serve a point of need per time regarding where you plug it. They are also called portable surge models because they’re movable. Even if your building has a whole surge installed, you can combine it with point of use (type 3) to serve as extra protection if the former fails.

How to install a whole house power surge?

To install a WHPS in your house, professional hands (experts) are required. You need to hire an expert in electrical for the installation. We do not advise doing it yourself. Getting in contact with a naked wire can result in shocks, and the aftermath can be dangerous.

For those who have a piece of technical knowledge, the following step is helpful to install it: 

Assemble required tools

These tools include a voltage detector device (VDD), screwdrivers, tape, pliers, wire strippers, and flashlight.

If the above tools are in place, then follow this step by step process:

Phase One 

#1: Turn-off the central power switch

#2: Remove the panel door by unscrewing it. 

#3: Before opening the front panel, using the voltage detector  check to see if an electric current has stopped flowing in the panel 

Note: Do not touch live wires inside the panel, except the one required for the connection.

  • #4: If the panel has no opening to pass the surge protector wire, create one by the side. After that, feed the surge protector wire through the existing opening (the one you made).

Phase Two  

Mounting the module and connecting it to the panel

#1: Following the instruction manual to correctly mount and secure the module.

#2: Start connecting the surge protector wires to the pane. There’re four wires, the green, white and two black wires. The white (the neutral) and green wire goes into the ground and the neutral box. The two black wires should be connected to the circuit breaker.   

Phase Three

#1: After completing the connection process, replace the panel cover and screw it. 

#2: Turn-on the panel breaker switch and check if the surge protector indicator lights are working correctly as stated in the user manual. 

Benefits

The primary purpose of surge protector is safe guard your gadget, appliance, electronics (TV, laptops, computers), and general electrical connections from power surges from electricity bridges, thunder, lightning, storms, floods, etc.

What Is A Surge Protector Vs Power Strip? The Differences

A whole-house surge may be easily be identified over a power strip. But as for the portable models, it’s tricky as some come in extension designs, just like the power strip. However, differentiating between the two is possible.

A surge device rating is in joules. You’ll find this rating written on the device body. Besides, all surge suppressors have green, red, and delay light indicators. The green light signifies safe mode, while the red one means otherwise. A surge protector can guard against thunder, lightning, or other weather elements. When you have abnormal voltage, the red light comes up until the current normalizes (at this time, the green indicator won’t come up). This experience is noticeable with the portables module because you can easily see them, unlike the whole house type installed far from the eyes (hidden places). But do not panic; everything will be fine; once the voltage stabilizes. 

On the other hand, power strips are your regular traditional extension cord. When you have multiple appliances to plug nearby and notice your wall socket is just one or two, it’s best to use a power strip. Consequently, power strips can’t protect your appliance from being damaged by spikes, bridges, etc., unlike surge protectors. They only provide more space to plug in more devices. Power strips have only one indicator light (could be red or green) and an on and off switch – which is one way to identify them. 

Instead of buying a power strip, we’ll advise that it’s better to choose surge protectors as there’re models that come in extension designs offering multiple plug-in spaces and can still safeguard them from being destroyed.  

Maintenance/safety Tip

Most whole-house power surge comes in an enclosure that is resistant to water. Hence, if you’re to install yours outdoor, ensure the area to mount is not exposed where rain can reach it. Also, consider airflow to keep the unit cool. As for portable models, do not expose them to water as well. When not in use, unplug and keep them away from the reach of children. Do not hit them on the floor; gently store them away for subsequent use. Caring for it doesn’t require much; adhering to what you’ve read will make the module last for years by protecting your devices.     

In conclusion,

It is essential to connect or install a surge protector to your building. The three types enumerated earlier are the options available to choose from. Type 1 protects the entire house and power grid. Type 2 is within the house electric circuit protection, while type 3 is for plug, socket, or extensions usage. 

For the highest form of protection, combine one or two (especially types 1 & 2 together). Peradventure, type 1 fails, then type 2 will handle the safety and vice versa.

For those living in a rented apartment with no whole house surge protection installed, the best thing to do is to opt for type 2 surge protection, but if the budget is high for you. We advise you to purchase portable surge protectors to plug into your electric outlet, but they can fail sometimes.

Overall, ensure to have one form of protection against unforeseen power surges.

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