Whole house surge protection - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-13-2007, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I am planning on wall mounting my Samsung 4695 and using a panamax outlet for point of use surge protection and was going to install a "whole house" surge protector. Anyone have a reccomendation as to what product to get?

Also, in reading about the various whole house surge protectors, it looks like some show to connect it to each leg in the main break box but some show to use a 2-pole breaker. This wouldn't protect both legs if connected like this, right? You would need it connected to each hot leg in the main panel to protect your whole house, correct?

Thanks
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-13-2007, 05:26 PM
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I recommend IT (Innovative Technology) units, now owned by Eaton Corp. The best place to install the surge suppressor is on the main incoming breaker, but installation on two breakers can work as well. In this scenario, the circuit breaker may operate and open before the surge current can be completely shunted.

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-13-2007, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerfan_9 View Post

I am planning on wall mounting my Samsung 4695 and using a panamax outlet for point of use surge protection and was going to install a "whole house" surge protector. Anyone have a reccomendation as to what product to get?

I agree with AVDoogie - either the IT or Cutler-Hammer products are good. There is one of the C-H models that also incorporates options for phone and cable/sat line protection - it's worth the extra cost and effort.

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Also, in reading about the various whole house surge protectors, it looks like some show to connect it to each leg in the main break box but some show to use a 2-pole breaker. This wouldn't protect both legs if connected like this, right? You would need it connected to each hot leg in the main panel to protect your whole house, correct?

If you use a standard-size 2-pole breaker (not a 'twin', which is two breakers tied to the same lug), you are connected to both phases. Home panels alternate phases vertically, i.e., the top two circuits (numbered 1 & 2, left & right) are phase A; the next two down (3&4) are phase B, etc.

AVDoogie is correct to a point about the breaker connection being the second choice vs. directly connected to the panel mains; most home panel breakers have a maximum interrupt rating of 10 or 15kA. If you exceed this level, the breaker can fail, even though the TVSS is rated to handle it. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a code-legal method of connecting to the panel without a breaker.

I disagree, however, about the breaker opening. The duration of a transient is normally so short that it can't possibly generate enough heat to cause the breaker to trip, even if you are close to the maximum fault current.

The most important thing in installing a whole-house TVSS is to keep the leads from the panel to the TVSS as short as possible. Think centimeters or inches, not feet or meters. I like to use a knockout that is directly opposite the breakers feeding the TVSS - no more than 6-8" of total lead length. [FWIW, this is because the frequency of a transient (surge) is high enough that the inductive effects become the limiting factor in the device's performance.]
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 05:41 AM
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Panamax and Leviton also offers the same type of surge protection. I would look into either of their offerings.
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 09:08 AM
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You may want to check with your electric service provider. Some of them can provide surge protection at the meter.

http://www.cinergy.com/EnergyStore/S...op/default.asp
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Captain View Post

You may want to check with your electric service provider. Some of them can provide surge protection at the meter.

http://www.cinergy.com/EnergyStore/S...op/default.asp

The problem with this approach is that it doesn't allow you to tie the TVSS for your phone and cable/sat in at the same grounding point. This is critical for your A/V system, as you need to always maintain the grounding at the same potential between ALL of the connected lines that exit the house.
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MauneyM View Post

The problem with this approach is that it doesn't allow you to tie the TVSS for your phone and cable/sat in at the same grounding point. This is critical for your A/V system, as you need to always maintain the grounding at the same potential between ALL of the connected lines that exit the house.

But to meet code, your phone and sat/cable should be grounded to the house ground. Therefore, they should be at the same potential as the house ground (to which the A/V system is also connected).

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post #8 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MauneyM View Post

I disagree, however, about the breaker opening. The duration of a transient is normally so short that it can't possibly generate enough heat to cause the breaker to trip, even if you are close to the maximum fault current.

The most important thing in installing a whole-house TVSS is to keep the leads from the panel to the TVSS as short as possible. Think centimeters or inches, not feet or meters. I like to use a knockout that is directly opposite the breakers feeding the TVSS - no more than 6-8" of total lead length. [FWIW, this is because the frequency of a transient (surge) is high enough that the inductive effects become the limiting factor in the device's performance.]

Mauney,

The thermal element in the breaker is for long time tripping...in this case, the instantaneous element (magnetic) would operate in an overload situation. A typical 20 ampere breaker has a 10X rating...tripping at approximately 200A.

Lead length is indeed the biggest factor affecting the operation of the surge suppression equipment. Increasing the lead length effectively increases the let through voltage on the system. With leads of just a couple of feet, you have essentially taken the surge suppression out of the system. I have some documentation on this if you are interested.

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post #9 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MauneyM View Post

I agree with AVDoogie - either the IT or Cutler-Hammer products are good. There is one of the C-H models that also incorporates options for phone and cable/sat line protection - it's worth the extra cost and effort.
If you use a standard-size 2-pole breaker (not a 'twin', which is two breakers tied to the same lug), you are connected to both phases. Home panels alternate phases vertically, i.e., the top two circuits (numbered 1 & 2, left & right) are phase A; the next two down (3&4) are phase B, etc.]

does it matter where in the panel it is installed? i mean....should it be connected to a 2-pole breaker that is at the top of the panel near the lugs, or does this matter?

thanks for the help
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctviggen View Post

But to meet code, your phone and sat/cable should be grounded to the house ground. Therefore, they should be at the same potential as the house ground (to which the A/V system is also connected).

Sure, but in a transient situation, you have to look at the impedance of the ground connection. If you have a 20 kV transient lasting a only few microseconds, what looks like a really solid ground connection can suddenly have enough impedance to leave the device that took the hit at a potential of a few thousand volts. This is why it is crucial to have the TVSS protection tied to the same point, with lines as short as possible. This way, even if there is ground float from the transient, everything will float a similar amount and stay at the same relative potential.
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Doogie View Post

Mauney,

The thermal element in the breaker is for long time tripping...in this case, the instantaneous element (magnetic) would operate in an overload situation. A typical 20 ampere breaker has a 10X rating...tripping at approximately 200A.

True, but the mag (I) trip still isn't fast enough. You need several milliseconds to trip the breaker, and transients don't last that long (<10 microseconds); surges, by NEMA definition, last less than 1ms.

I've witnessed far too many factory TVSS tests connected to breakers; the only way the breaker trips is if one of the MOVs fails and the internal series fuse fails to take it out of the circuit. If this happens, the design will not pass UL1449, so this should never be an issue with a listed product. (BTW, this is the reason that some devices require connection through either a breaker or a current-limiting fuse.)

For that matter, if this occurs, the breaker tripping is the least of your worries, as you will be trying to figure out how to get rid of the smoke smell.....

Quote:
Lead length is indeed the biggest factor affecting the operation of the surge suppression equipment. Increasing the lead length effectively increases the let through voltage on the system. With leads of just a couple of feet, you have essentially taken the surge suppression out of the system.

Agreed.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerfan_9 View Post

does it matter where in the panel it is installed? i mean....should it be connected to a 2-pole breaker that is at the top of the panel near the lugs, or does this matter?

Well, it depends on what problem you are trying to solve. If the concern is outside transients coming in on the power line, then you want to be as close to the service entrance as possible. If the concern is transients caused by devices inside the house (load transients), then you want the connection to be as close as possible to the biggest source of surges/transient.

As already posted, keeping the lead length short is the most important thing, so a shorter lead length is almost always preferable, even if it means moving the TVSS all the way to the bottom of the panel.
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-28-2009, 10:28 PM
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I am an electronics tech with background from the Military and college as well. I have also sold my share of parts for most of your major appliances for "sears" as well. I have found out through personal experience that if in fact you get a direct hit from lightning than most likely, you will have fried equipment. However, on the better whole house surge protectors you have an insurance warranty which will cover the replacement cost of your appliances and equipment in that event.
I have seen alot of appliances these days that have the main control board fried due to power surges both on the power grid, and also due to internal power surges which occur when the house appliances cycle on and off. For instance your compressor motor, heating & cooling motors , garbage disposer, all create minor surges within your house hold as well.
That is why you need to have the external whole house surge protector hooked up to the where the power comes into the panel. You also need to have an internal surge protector with the appliances for the above mentioned reasons.
Elsewise, I have spoken to many thousands of people nationwide, who have suddenly experienced the lights going on and off and then they try to go and cook something on the new oven/range they just bought and find out that the control board for the range displays an "F1" or "F2" which on most of your ranges out there the code for a failed oven control board.
It is a far better thing to be prepared, unless you like to pay the repair visit from "Sears", which is easily a good 85.00 not to mention another 150.00-400.00 for replacement on the board.
You can check out this site for further info...
wholehousesurgeprotector.net
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