Since this is the time of year for tremendous lightning storms and heavy winds that can cause downed power lines, I thought I’d share some information on surge protection. Electrical surges are caused when higher than line voltages are inadvertently applied to the internal wiring of a building.
Most people have surge protection for their electronics in the form of power strips with built-in surge protection, and they are great, but they only protect the items plugged into them. What about your other electronics? Do you have one of the newer clothes washers? Dryer? Range? Microwave? If so, then a power surge could damage these items resulting in costly repairs. A whole house surge protection unit may be a good investment for your house. With whole house surge protection, all of the electronics in the house would then have surge protection. A whole house surge protector is installed in, or attached to, the main breaker panel. Some are even designed so that they replace one of the double pole (240 volt such as the range or dryer) breakers. Others mount to the outside of the panel.
A friend told me a few days ago that the control board went out on her kitchen range. When she had a service technician check the range, she was told that the part to fix her three-year-old range was no longer available, and if it were, it would cost $275.00 plus labor to install. Of course, we commiserated a bit about how things aren’t made the way they used to be, but the bottom line is that spending a few dollars for whole house surge protection may have prevented the damage. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
For more information on whole house surge protection, call a licensed electrician or visit the website for the manufacturer of your electrical panel. I have also included a link to a great article on the This Old House website.