Internal and external power surges can pose a threat to your home year-round. While lightning is often thought to be the cause of power surges, 80% of temporary power surges originate from inside the home – caused by motor-driven appliances like air conditioners, dishwashers, blow dryers, vacuum cleaners and refrigerators. Surges can even be caused by smaller electronics like laser printers or coffee makers. Thankfully, there are a variety of surge protection devices (SPD’s) on the market to protect your valuable home electronics from both internal and external surges.
Power strip SPD’s are the simplest and cheapest form of protection. They are widely available, reasonably priced and provide good protection from temporary, internal power spikes. Most come with six to eight outlets, enough for the average home office or den. Your phone, data and cable TV lines can also carry a voltage spike into your home, so make sure to find surge protectors with coax plugs and telephone line plugs to accommodate these electronics.
Look for power strips with the UL 1449 label, which guarantees it meets tested and approved standards. Surge protectors also carry a “joule” and/or a “surge-current” rating; the higher the rating of these two categories, the higher the quality of internal surge-stopping components. Also look for a low “clamping voltage” which indicates the voltage that the protector will allow to your equipment before it diverts it to ground.
Corn Belt has the following point-of-use products available for purchase:
- Single AC travelcube outlet with tel/modem protection: $10 each
- 6 AC outlet with coaxial and tel/modem protection: $25 each
- 8 AC outlet with coaxial, tel/modem and ethernet protection: $40 each
Whole House Protection
While power strips are effective at stopping most in-house surges, they can be overwhelmed by surges that enter your home through the power line as a result of lightning; whole house protection is recommended for these more severe surges. Corn Belt can install a meter-mounted surge protector on the exterior of your home for a low monthly fee plus a $25 installation fee.
- 200 amp meter-mounted surge protector: $6.95/month + $25 installation fee
- 400 amp meter-mounted surge protector: $8.95/month + $25 installation fee
- 3-phase meter-mounted surge protector: $14.95/month + $25 installation fee
Internally, a panel-mounted device installed near your circuit breaker box forms a second layer of defense. Commonly called a circuit panel or service entrance surge protector or a surge suppression device (TVSS), it will substantially reduce harmful surges entering your building and protect electrical equipment such as ranges, water heaters, washers and dryers, dishwashers and motors. A qualified electrician can ensure proper installation.