Are you thinking about getting a whole house surge protector. Are you wondering if I can install whole house surge protector myself. We are the professionals and we can help you with that answer.
Unfortunately you cannot perform any electrical work inside of your electrical panel without consulting with your own qualified licensed electrician. This means you cannot install a whole home surge protector that directly wires into your panel yourself.
Can I Install Whole House Surge Protector Myself?
It really boils down to what kind of whole home surge protector you’re installing.
If you are planning to install one that hardwires you should have your local licensed electrician do it for you as they will need to enter the panel to install it directly.
The surge protector gets mounted at the top of the panel next to the main breaker on a sub the breaker or fuse.
This is so that the surge protector can take the hit before it gets to the rest of the branch circuit breakers in the panel.
It is not recommended that you attempt to do this yourself, however we can tell you how we would do it as an example.
We simply would take the panel cover off enter the surge protector through a half inch knockout.
We enter the panel through to knock out the surge protector and tighten the locking ring down into place. Additionally there are screws on the back and search protector that was a screw to the wall.
Surge protectors are very specific as the green ground goes to the ground bus.
The two black wires get screwed under the terminals of the double pole breaker at the top of the breaker enclosure.
They can vary between 20 amp double pole right up to 50 amp double pole depending on the insulation and sizing. Obviously larger and better.
Additionally some surge protectors come with a neutral or white wire that must be installed under the neutral bus.
Can I Install Whole House Surge Protector Myself If It Plugs In?
There are a variety of surge protectors that you can purchase a plug-in.
These are higher than normal rated surge protectors like surge power bars.
You can definitely install these yourself as they just plug-in. Additionally there are different types of surge protection.
You can get an uninterrupted power supply or UPS.
These will protect individual areas for specific appliances like computers or desktops for voltage spikes.
In the event of an outage or power bumps they are inverter driven so they run off the battery bank which gives you uninterrupted power.
Can I Install Whole House Surge Protector Myself And If I Can’t How Much Does It Cost To have One Installed?
The whole house surge protector itself can cost anywhere between $150 and $500 for one of the higher end models. They all have interrupt ratings and levels of protection.
The higher the protection rating the more the cost.
After this you will need to have it installed by a certified electrician which can cost another $200.
Bottom line the lower end for install would be $450 and could be as high as $800.
Keep in mind this is something you cannot to yourself.
Having it installed by a professional electrician will make sure you do not have any warranty issues with the product.
Will They Protect My House From Lightning Strikes?
No surge protectors will not protect against direct lightning strikes.
Many companies tell you that they will however they will only protect the distance lightning strikes.
Protectors are designed to take voltage spikes on the system. The can take a very distant strike that may hit down the road.
In most cases the utility powerline fuses will trip before the voltage spike gets to you.
If you get a direct lightning strike in your electrical system or nearby your house keep in mind this is millions of volt.
There’s nothing you can do to really protect against a lightning strike.
The best case of action during a lightning storm is to shut your main circuit breaker off for your whole house.
This will create a break in the electrical line and hopefully enough to stop it but there are no guarantees.
Will They Protect My House From Brownouts On The Grid?
Yes surge protectors will protect against Brownouts.
This happens during high demand times.
They come from your local power utility they do not have enough supply.
This happens in large cities or areas where you were at the end of a powerline. A brownout is actually a dip in voltage to the power line.
When the utility can’t keep up with the supply there ends up being a voltage drop on the line.
This is why you will see lights go dim.
A surge protector help take those voltage drops or spikes an protect your electrical equipment.
These are all good reasons to have them installed in your home.
How Often Do You Need To Replace Them?
Search protectors need to be replaced with every significant electrical surge or hit.
Most surge protectors have a green light on them or an indicator light to tell you everything is good.
If the surge module itself takes a large hit of surge it will likely turn orange or red. This means it is time to replace it.
Refer to your manufacture specifications on each individual certain units and how they work.
If you never have a surge then you can count on it lasting for years and years.
We have seen them last more than 10 years without a problem.
What Kind Of Warranty Do They Come With?
Each company is different on what they offer for warranties on the circuit protector.
Some companies offer 180 days as other companies will offer up to a year or more.
It’s really depends on the type of service as it takes and the situation that the surge was stipulated.
Many manufacturers will not replace certain units under the circumstances due to a direct lightning strike.
You will usually have to send a surge protector back for them to examine it to see whether or not they will warranty the product. Some companies will offer replacement warranty.
What Size Breaker Do They Go On?
Search protectors go on different size breakers depending on their protection rating.
The lowest we have an install the search protector on is a double pole 20 amp breaker.
Although most in common on the 30 amp double pole breaker right up to a 40 amp or 50amp.
The larger the surge capacity the larger breaker size and large the wire side coming out in certain protector.
Some surge protectors will additional modules that snap into protect additional circuits as per code.
Some of these circuits can include communication wiring and cable TV. In this case we need to have a larger breaker to protect certain circuits.
What About Purchasing A Surge Protector?
Be extremely careful on what you make for a purchase. Especially companies claiming that they will protect your house against lighting strikes.
Lightning strikes where it wants when it wants and takes the least path of resistance.
We have seen it hit a tree, enter the customer’s home through a metal wash line.
It melted everything in their electrical panel and then exited out through their electrical well line to the well casing. It blow a hole in the concrete as it was exiting the building.
See, no surge protector will protect from that. So simply don’t fall for it.
Additionally you can come on over to our website under recommended products page to see what we recommend surge protectors.
We don’t recommend products we have not purchased directly and install personally ourselves.
In addition to search protectors, check out some of our other great products.
Note the images used in this article are due to us being Eaton Supplier