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Is a whole house surge protector right for you?

Now is the time to consider extra protection from harmful voltage surges for your home appliances, computers, televisions, smartphones and other important electrical items. Between advancements in home entertainment systems, increased use of electronics in appliances, and as more of us are working and learning from home, more protection is essential. To prevent damaged and destroyed property, a whole house surge protector could prove to be a smart investment.

Power Surge Causes

A surge occurs when voltage exceeds the normal flow of electricity. While lightning is certainly a possible and terrible culprit, these instances are uncommon. More often, surges are caused by an uptick in voltage within the home. This can occur simply through the cycling on and off of high-power devices such as HVAC systems, refrigerators, dryers and printers, or when power returns after a blackout.

Other potential causes are damaged power lines, old or faulty wiring, shorted circuits and tripped circuit breakers. These surges can damage or destroy electrical appliances and devices in the home slowly over time, or very suddenly. In rare instances, they can even start a fire. Installing a whole house surge protector can prevent both inexpensive nuisances as well as catastrophes.

Power Surge Protection

Whole house surge protectors are generally hard-wired to the service panel. If a surge occurs, it will immediately divert the voltage to the ground wire. A licensed electrician will need to inspect whether or not your house has proper grounding. The electrician will also recommend the amp rating and features your home system requires, and whether or not one surge protector is enough.

Sometimes a smaller separate system is also recommended for the phone and cable lines in order to protect televisions and modems. Note that even with this line of protection, up to 15 percent of the voltage can still leak through. Therefore, another layer of protection is recommended, in the form of plug-in suppressors between individual appliances and wall outlets.


When considering the overall value and peace of mind, whole house surge protectors are relatively inexpensive – generally around a few hundred dollars – and only take a couple of hours for a licensed electrician to install. It’s a small price to pay for something that protects not only thousands of dollars in electronics and appliances, but also adds to the safety, functioning and well-being of your home.


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