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What is a Whole House Surge Protector?

Graphic with copy - what is a whole house surge protector with a picture of a surge protector.

Does the concept of a whole house surge protector have you scratching your head? Perhaps you've envisioned a super-sized power strip? Or maybe a large magical box capable of absorbing lightning bolts? Whatever your misconceptions about whole house surge protectors, we've got the 4-1-1 you need to help you protect your home and all its valuable appliances from those inevitable and frequent power surges.

What is a whole house surge protector?

Simply put, a whole house surge protector protects all the appliances in your home from voltage spikes, limiting excess electrical current by blocking its flow or shorting it to ground, much like a pressure relief valve. This includes surges occurring not only from lightning, but the 60-80 percent of surges that occur from within your home - typically from major appliances cycling on and off. With all of today's electronics, you simply can't afford not to protect your home with a whole house surge protector.

Where is it installed?

Whole house surge protectors are typically hard-wired to your electrical box. Proper installation is essential. A whole house surge protector must be properly grounded, since without proper ground even the best surge protector will be unable to perform its job.

Can a homeowner install it themselves or should a professional install it?

Whole house surge protector installation by a professional typically takes about two hours. Unless you are highly skilled in electrical, it is strongly recommended to hire a professional electrician to install these devices. The electrical wiring on your service panel may be confusing, improperly installed, or house defects that could pose a danger to DIY installers not in-the-know. In addition, without proper grounding, your whole home surge protector will not function properly. For the safety of your home, your appliances, and your family, consult a professional for whole house surge protector installation.

What kinds of events does it protect your electronics from?

  • Fried circuit boards on the highly sensitive electronics of all home appliances - washers, dryers, stoves, fridges, dishwashers, computers and smart devices, TVs, LED light bulbs, and so much more...
  • Mini-bursts of excess energy from major appliances cycling on and off, which contribute to as much as 80 percent of the power surges in your home, slowly degrading your appliances and shortening their lifespans.
  • Overvoltage from downed utility lines and other homes in your vicinity effecting the flow of current into your home and resulting in damaging voltage fluctuations.
  • Direct lightning strikes.

Which electronics are most susceptible to power surges?

Many components in today's sophisticated electronic devices are sensitive to power surges. However, electronics and appliances containing microprocessors -- an integral part of most of today's appliances and technology -- are particularly sensitive to surges. Since microprocessors only function properly when they have the right voltage, a power surge can easily damage these fragile devices, affecting everything from central heating and air to kitchen appliances and entertainment technology.

Which homes are eligible for a whole house surge protector?

Due to the prevalence of sophisticated electronics in today's homes, every home should consider installing a whole house surge protector. In fact, everyone from the National Fire Protection Association to the Institute for Business and Home Safety recommends them. And while insurance companies don't give discounts for surge protectors, they can easily pay for themselves in the event of a single power surge. Give your home the protection it needs with the help of Mr. Electric®. Contact Mr. Electric today for the fast, safe installation of this inexpensive and easy to use safety device for all of your essential electronics.

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