Friday, February 18, 2011

Surge Protectors a Good Investment


Some times it absolutely amazes me with all the emphasis that is put into Fire Prevention why there is no were in the National Electrical Code or Fire code for that matter a Requirement that when an Electrical service is Replaced or installed new that a main panel Surge/Lightning arrestor is not required.
I have personally case after case I can show were I installed these devices on Customers services and prevented serious damage to equipment and most importantly help stop a fire when lightning striked near
My customer’s residence they had no damage other than the Surge Arrestor blown apart but a house directly across the street or next store caught fire.
Surge and lightning Arrestors have been around for many years and have become more popular with all the home electronics but the simple plug in surge protection strips are only part of the system required to prevent damaging surges and lightning from causing damage.
The Whole Panel Protector as they are commonly called are connected at the main breaker panel of the house or building and have 3 -4 wires depending on design and cost $30- $250 plus installation.
Depending on sophistication and amount of surge they can with stand.
Some even protect the incoming wiring of Phone Lines and cable TV, which are also very frequently attacked by lightning. You can have the most sophisticated surge protector on your computer but if the Cable modem or Phone Line is not protected the computer can be destroyed.
This is why many times you hear people say I had my computer on a surge strip and it got hit but did they have the modem protected is the question not being asked.
To properly protect a residence or business from surges and lighting it takes multiple steps proven by research to
Prevent the problem.

1- The grounding system of the structure has to be properly 1 point designed and sized.
2- A whole panel surge arrestor should be installed at the main panel to take the main heavy hit. And whole panel protector should be used at every sub panel in bigger installations.
3- Surge protection strips should be used at all vulnerable electronic items i.e. Computers, Microwaves, TV’s, stereos etc.
4- Any cable or phone line coming into the house has to be properly 1 point grounded to the electrical service ground and surge protectors attached to phone, cable and satellite lines.
5- Any other wire coming into the structure such as from a garage etc especially if it is over head.

Following this list of steps helps to prevent damage during storms and helps to prevent fires.
But you never see this stressed in a Fire Prevention class.
With all the Fires that are contributed to electrical conditions you would think there would be more emphasis on this subject but there is very little covered. Yes we tell people to unplug electrical items and not use a corded phone during a thunder storm but what about when they are not home.
Surges can happen at any time any where. So why is the NFPA The Insurance Industry and especially Electricians not promoting the use of surge and lightning protectors. Millions of dollars and many lives could be saved .
I know Surge protectors work and try hard to get customers to use them.why isn’t every one else.

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