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An Overview of Whole House Surge Protection Device

Bhakti Satalkar
Voltage spikes can severely damage an electronic equipment and thus must be guarded with the help of surge protection devices. The whole house can be protected as well, so that sudden power surges do not ruin expensive gadgets and the wiring of the house.
Surge protection devices or suppressors (SPD) help regulate the power supply to electronic devices and guard them against high voltage spikes. Minor surges that happen throughout the day, do not pose any threat to home appliances. The standard voltage in houses must strictly be at 120 volts and any increase beyond this voltage margin can damage appliances.
Whereas, prolonged exposure to such power spikes can reduce the life of an appliance by 30% and ruin the wiring of the house. Additional, when lightning strikes, the electric charge travels through pipelines till it grounds itself in electronic appliances, which can cause severe damage to the unit.
Very often, the computer and its peripherals are plugged to surge protectors, while other household appliances such as the fridge, microwave, washer and dryer, are left unprotected. Surges also happen due to two electronic devices starting simultaneously in the same house or in the neighboring houses.
Therefore, some questions that arise are:
  • Is it a good option to have all these equipment plugged into separate power strip surge protectors?
  • How many such protection devices will have to be installed?
  • Are devices equipped, to actually take care of high voltages spikes as well?
The safest way to protect your house as well as your machines, is to install a whole house surge protector while making sure that the house is sufficiently grounded. The average modern-day home should be installed with whole house surge protection in order to safeguard expensive equipment from wearing out or burning down.
Another reason to protect the entire house, is that a strip surge protector can provide only the minimum level of protection against routine voltage spikes. However, it cannot guard against a major onslaught of voltage. While choosing the device, care should be taken that the device protects not only the power lines, but also the cable and telephone lines.
Even though surges cannot cause a fire breakout, the National Fire Protection Association recommended getting these protective devices installed for the entire house. Since these devices are not lightning arrestors, houses located in lightening prone areas must be provided greater protection.
The cost of such devices can range between USD 100-3000 and installation is charged separately. Even though the overall expense may seem a tad steep to some, getting this device installed is definitely a cheaper insurance alternative, not only for the appliances but also for the entire house. Such devices must be installed by a qualified electrician only.
Insurance companies offer home insurance discounts for houses that have surge protectors installed throughout the house. However, since certain home insurance policies do not cover power spikes, surge protectors can be included in the mortgage or installed in houses at the time of construction itself.
Since prevention is better than cure, it would be a lot better to have such devices installed as early as possible so as to safeguard your home.