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  • whole house surge protector, were to put it?

    So I am in a bit of a dispute with an electrician. I say the surge protector goes as close as possible to the main breaker. So the first 2 slots on each side will be used/unused. (2 will be empty the other 2 will be for the surge protector)
    The electrician says it does not matter were it goes.

    who is right?

  • #2
    Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

    The internet knows.

    Your profile says apprentice, which trade? Unless you are just getting started I would think
    this is something that has been discussed in your training or in your study material.

    Look up the installation instructions on the make/model surge protector you are looking to
    install IF they did not come with it.

    Where do you put a GFI? Any place you please or BEFORE the things you want to protect.

    A little history on the MOV.




    MOV have a limited life span, they do not last forever. I have worked places where we had to replace MOVs in control panels throughout the facility due to age. They are often overlooked and thought to have an unlimited life span. Some people think they are good as long as they have not burnt up or shorted out, not true. They can also fail after being exposed to repeated lower level spikes. My point is if you install one of these in your home they do not last forever.

    The clamping voltage for most MOVs used in power strips and whole house sruge protectors is 130, their response time is measured in milliseconds.
    Last edited by Bob D.; 03-02-2013, 07:45 AM.
    ---------------
    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
    ---------------
    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
    ---------
    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
    ---------
    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

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    • #3
      Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

      my thinking would be the closer to the front of the use or at the beginning of the system the better off one would be, but that is more of a mechanical thinking, but it may still hold true

      yes if it could go on the top two/first slots of the breaker box, (never saw a breaker type surge protector tho), I would think it would be better, but even if it was on the bottom two slots, my guess is there would be no difference in the operation of it, as the buss is still large and connected to all the breakers,

      now if you had a sub panel and second sub panel off of the first sub panel and one choose to put the surge protector in the second sub panel yes it would protect the entire system, but I doubt if it would do as good as if in the main box, as there are other components it has to travel through before it gets to the surge protector, and wires of various resistance, thus possibly changing some of the values of the surge and having more opportunity to infiltrate other components along the way,

      but it is like a presser tank on a well or an expansion tank on hot water heater, in a way, normally the practice is to put the tank near the well or the heater, but if you have good piping with out major restriction the tank can go any where on the line and work,

      IN electricity things happen so fast, (close to the speed of light), that if there is a surge my guess it is everywhere in what we would call instantly, and if the surge protector can not respond instantly things are fried regardless of where the safety valve is,

      it is kinda like back in the day of lighting spark gaps, two wires that had a gap and the distance of the gap was adjusted for over voltage arcing, unless the items on the line were hardened or able to take the arcing voltage, they were fried regardless if it arced or not, but if it was a close hit (lighting) normally things were fired regardless as the units could not drain enough off the line to keep the voltage at a "safe level" as the voltage to jump an air gap is
      is related to the distance between them, and is 30,000 Volts/centimeter in dry sea-level air.
      so the voltage of an air gap would let ever thing get up to the spark voltage before draining any of it off, the new MOV are basically a veryable unit with a set clamping design, as the video says, and the voltage level is much closer to line votages that it dumps at,

      the GFCI works a little differently as it measures the power going in and coming out and compares the power on the wires, so it has to be before what ever you want protected, (it is like putting an amperage clamp on the black and white wire and comparing them and if any difference occurs it cuts the circuit,

      the surge protector is like a relief valve, any thing over a given setting it dumps the excess pressure out of the system,
      Last edited by BHD; 03-02-2013, 11:48 AM.
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      • #4
        Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

        Speedy Peety ,will be along to settle this soon ! I remember putting it right after the Main breaker .
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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        • #5
          Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

          Install it per article 285 of the National electric code, your local codes (city) and the instructions of the listed device.

          The whole house suppressor (known as a TVSS) can be placed anywhere on the load side of the main breaker. The important thing is to minimize the length of the conductors. Only one wire can be terminated in one place unless listed as such.

          Rob, A TVSS is not a MOV (metal oxide varistor). Unlike a MOV, a TVSS will monitor the AC waveform and switch when it is out of regulation.

          These whole house suppressors are not the panacea that you might think. It is actually better to protect things like your tv/electronics right next to it. (and TVs are often fried through the cable and not the power) These devices will not protect everything against a direct or even nearby lightning strike.

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          • #6
            Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

            The only thing that saves you is "replacement cost" insurance. Nothing will stop the awesome power of nature.
            ~~

            ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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            • #7
              Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?


              my thinking would be the closer to the front of the use or at the beginning
              of the system the better off one would be, but that is more of a mechanical
              thinking, but it may still hold true

              yes if it could go on the top
              two/first slots of the breaker box, (never saw a breaker type surge protector
              tho), I would think it would be better, but even if it was on the bottom two
              slots, my guess is there would be no difference in the operation of it, as the
              buss is still large and connected to all the breakers,
              to do any good you need to clamp the surge voltage to ground before it gets on the bus, so at the meter socket or right before the main breaker to me is the best place. My surge supressor is in the meter socket and is part of the Generlink transfer switch for my generator.
              Last edited by Bob D.; 03-02-2013, 05:49 PM.
              ---------------
              Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
              ---------------
              “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
              ---------
              "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
              ---------
              sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                I'm no electrician. Wouldn't a 1 to 1 transformer with capacitive damping be the best bet? It would also go before the main panel.
                ~~

                ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                  Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                  to do any good you need to clamp the surge voltage to ground before it gets on the bus, so at the meter socket or right before the main breaker to me is the best place. My surge supressor is in the meter socket and is part of the Generlink transfer switch for my generator.
                  Surge arresters apply to (in most cases) just the supply side (line side) of the meter (280.22). Transient voltage surge supressor devices apply to just the load side (285.21).

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                  • #10
                    Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                    Sometimes they are used to get cleaner and more stable power on a branch circuit (for computers or such) but it's not a practical solution for a house. Aside from being extremely expensive, it would only moderately negate transients.

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                    • #11
                      Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                      ok so I figured I could install it myself, turn off main first. Since I have the new homeline panel I found a breaker type of surge protector. It snaps in on both lines and has a neutral conductor which I went to the neutral bar.

                      after reading the manual it does say as close to the main as possible, I have it on the top right of the panel. Now what about the top left of the panel? to bad I don't have a square d panel. I have seen the exact same surge breaker type and an interlock kit so I can get a generator connected. have to turn off main slide up the locking mechanism and turn on the generator breaker.

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                      • #12
                        Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                        Originally posted by intertan View Post
                        ok so I figured I could install it myself, turn off main first. Since I have the new homeline panel I found a breaker type of surge protector. It snaps in on both lines and has a neutral conductor which I went to the neutral bar.

                        after reading the manual it does say as close to the main as possible, I have it on the top right of the panel. Now what about the top left of the panel? to bad I don't have a square d panel. I have seen the exact same surge breaker type and an interlock kit so I can get a generator connected. have to turn off main slide up the locking mechanism and turn on the generator breaker.
                        Try electrician talk. Great group and Lotso Hockey Players ! GO BRUINS N SHARKS
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                        • #13
                          Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                          Originally posted by johncameron View Post
                          Surge arresters apply to (in most cases) just the supply side (line side) of the meter (280.22). Transient voltage surge supressor devices apply to just the load side (285.21).
                          correct in general most installers place them just beneath the main breaker but the buss design in your panels and the breakers you install are parallel circuits
                          so if your whole house suppressor connects to both legs then it does not matter where in the panel you place it.
                          but an arrestor on the other hand needs to be placed before the main
                          shooting the s*** is a lot more fun when you use hollow points (much more splatter)

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                          • #14
                            Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                            Originally posted by intertan View Post
                            So I am in a bit of a dispute with an electrician. I say the surge protector goes as close as possible to the main breaker. ... The electrician says it does not matter were it goes.
                            You are thinking electricity works like water. For example, a surge enters the left side of a wire. Where does the resulting voltage first appear? At the left side? Of course not. Voltage first appears at the far end - the right side. Last place that surge creates a voltage is the near end - the left side.

                            However, the concept that apply to a breaker box mean even that is irrelevant. Far more important is the wire length and routing from the protector to earth ground. If the bare copper ground wire goes up over the foundation and down to an earthing electrode, then protetion is compromised. Wire is too long. Sharp bends over the foundation. Wire not separated from other grounding wires. More important is rerouting the ground wire through the foundation and down to earthing electrodes.

                            More myths are generated by claims without numbers. MOVs have a limited life expectancy when undersized. Effective MOV protectors are properly sized so that a maybe 20,000 amps direct lightning strike leaves the protector functional and unharmed. That protector is only as effective as its earth ground. MOVs attached to wall receptacles have virtually no earth ground. And do not claim to protect from typically destructive surges.

                            But again, that is only understood by learning concepts such as why that earth ground wire must be so short (ie 'less than 10 feet'). And why surges first appear at the far end of a wire.

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                            • #15
                              Re: whole house surge protector, were to put it?

                              welcome Westom. Please come around often. Tool
                              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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