Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Whole house surge/lightning protection


As an engineer, I have a lot of electronic equipment in my home and separate workshop building.  While I could plug all of these items into separate surge strips, that would be unreasonably expensive and would not offer as much protection as installing a Delta surge protector in the main breaker box.  These devices are designed specifically to absorb the massive energy spikes that come from lightning and other transients.  

I installed this equipment in my breaker boxes many years ago and I'm really glad that I did!  I remember sitting on my front porch watching a massive thunderstorm come through and I saw a lightning strike hit the power pole 20 feet from workshop building with a massive FLASH-BANG that was terrifying. (That's not my home in the video above). 

The next day I noticed that my appliances were making a humming sound so I checked the voltage of the electrical outlets and found that I was getting 140 V AC and not the specified 120 V AC.  This implied that the pole transformer had been damaged by lightning so I called the utility company.  They showed up literally 20 minutes later with a replacement transformer and it took them about 1/2 an hour to replace it.  If I had not installed surge protection I would have lost thousands of dollars worth of electronic devices including all my consumer items like TV, DVD, stereo, computers and kitchen appliances like the microwave etc.  The only item that fell victim to that massive lightning strike was my cable modem because there was no protection on the cable line.  I have since added protection for the cable itself.

My house is on a rise in rural Maine surrounded by tall trees and lightning has hit and destroyed a couple of trees near the house.  My workshop building has 38 solar panels mounted to the roof.  For this reason I hired a company to install lightning rods on both my home and workshop building.  Back in 2010, they installed the systems at a total cost of around $3500 for both buildings. 

The roof mounted rods are connected to very heavy woven copper wires about 1/2" diameter that run down to two opposite corners of the building where they are connected to ground rods pounded deep into the ground.  If you are at all concerned about the risk of lightning hitting your home this is your first line of defense.  Lightning frequently destroys homes with fire and explosive damage.



I have two surge protection devices installed in my breaker boxes like this:

The first is the lightning protector which is model number LA 302-R (here's a link to the specifications)


Both these units are available from Amazon, here's a link to purchase the lightning protection device LA 302-R

I also have installed a CA302-R Surge Capacitor which protects from different types of surges that are too light or fast
for lightning protection devices to function (here's a link to the specs for that unit).

And here is a link to purchase the surge capacitor CA 302-R

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Both these units are around $50 each and are the cheapest insurance money can buy in my mind!

CAUTION!  both these devices require opening up the circuit breaker box and installing them inside.  If you are not comfortable doing this seek out a professional or licensed electrician.  Installation should only take about five or 10 minutes but it must be done safely.



1 comment :

  1. Agree. Whole house Surge Suppressors are essential.


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