Surge Protection Installation Guide

Posted on: October 24, 2016
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Electrician

How Houston Residents Follow This Surge Protection Installation Guide To Keep Their Homes Safety

One of the best features of surge protection installation is knowing the whole house is protected. You might have plug-in surge protectors on some of your electronics, but you probably don’t have them for appliances with electronic circuit boards. Those electronics are sitting ducks for power surges generated by lightning strikes (even if the strike is miles from your home). Most newer appliances, cable boxes, exercise machines and that new Bose Wave are all at risk. And it’s not just lightning. Damaging power surges on the grid are common even when there isn’t lightning around. It doesn’t take much of a power surge to wipe out delicate electronics. It often costs as much to replace a circuit board as it does to buy a new device.

A typical pool may have several pieces of expensive equipment attached to a circuit breaker box that could be damaged through a surge of power. The Intermatic Surge Protection Device (SPD), can be installed easily to protect these pieces of equipment. This guide shows you how to install an Intermatic Surge Protection Device to the load side of a service panel.

Indeed, a whole house surge protection installation is often more affordable than placing single protectors on every outlet. Take this video as guide on how to install a surge protector to your home.

Correct Installation of Hard-Wired Surge Protective Device

It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Pay particular attention to fuse or breaker requirements and lead lengths.

It is also important that the electrical distribution system be grounded and bonded per the National Electrical Code®. Failure to do so may result in damage to the surge protective device (SPD).

The performance of parallel-connected transient voltage SPDs is affected by the connecting leads. Both the wire size and length used to connect the SPD will influence its performance.

Connecting Leads:
Transients have fast-rising wave-fronts. Typically the rate of rise of the current (di/dt) associated with surges can be 100 amps per microsecond or faster. The self-inductance (L) of the connecting wiring is significant (0.1 uH per foot) and can hinder suppression of high voltages during passage of the wavefront.

The voltage drop (V = L di/dt) across the connecting leads is added to the voltage across the suppression elements thus degrading the SPD’s performance by increasing the residual voltage.

Install fig

Figure 1. SPD performance is a function of the connecting lead length.

Self-inductance of wiring is proportional both to its length and to the logarithm of its thickness. Halving the length of connecting wires halves the inductance, but the thickness would have to be increased tenfold to achieve the same effect. Stranded wires have greater effective thickness than equivalent sized solid conductors because of skin effect on the total surface area.

Thick, short, stranded connecting wires will give the best SPD performance. However, short length is much more important than large wire size.

install fig 2

Figure 2. Example of Installation Procedure

Example of Manufacturer’s Installation Procedure:

Locate the SPD as close as possible to the panel to be protected.

Drill and punch a hole in the SPD housing in a position to minimize the length of the connecting wires from the lugs of the SPD to the circuit breaker in the adjacent panel (or fused disconnect lugs).

Where possible, use a close-nippled connection with wires going directly to the first breaker at the top of a panel. This ensures optimum protection of all loads connected to the panel.

Use AWG #10 stranded wire or larger (which is readily available and easily installed) to connect between the SPD and the breaker panel. Avoid sharp bends and excess length in the wiring. Neat and tidy installations are not necessarily the most effective ones. Short direct connections are best.

SPDs should be connected through an appropriately rated circuit breaker not into the main lugs of the panel. Where circuit breakers are unavailable or impractical, a fused disconnect switch should be used to connect to the lines and facilitate servicing of the SPD.

Learn how to protect your home and electronics with the proper surge protector.

Surge protectors act like an electrical sponge, absorbing dangerous excess voltage, preventing most of it from reaching your sensitive equipment. Like a sponge, surge protectors have a limited capacity to absorb. Once the capacity is reached, the unit is no longer protecting your equipment and should be replaced. The provision of an appropriate surge protection installation is essential for any critical electrical or electronic equipment to ensure continued operation and to ensure the expected lifetime of the equipment is protected. The optimal location for surge protection installation is at the point where your electrical service enters your home. Our residential electricians specialize in making sure that a whole house surge protection installation is safe, effective and lasts for years to come. Call (713) 812-7070 us for your home service and repair needs.

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