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The Reliable

The Importance of Whole Home Surge Protection

A whole-house surge protector will prevent your expensive electronics and appliances from being damaged or ruined by lightning strikes and other electrical surges.

We'll go over:

  • Why power surges harm electronics and appliances

  • How whole-house surge protectors work

  • Benefits of whole-home surge protection

  • Cost of a whole-house surge protector

Want to protect your appliances with whole-home surge protection? Call Reliable Heating & Air at (770) 594-9969 or schedule an appointment.

Our expert electricians will give you the best whole-house surge protector options to make sure your expensive electronics and appliances don't get destroyed from power surges.

Why power surges harm electronics and appliances

A power surge is a temporary spike in voltage that can damage or destroy electronics in your home.

Most electronics in your home are designed to operate at one of two voltages:

  • 120V: Many electronics (TVs, computers, microwaves, refrigerators, washers, etc.) and gas appliances that have some electronic components (dryers, ranges, water heaters, furnaces, etc.) require 120V circuits.

  • 240V: Electronic appliances (air conditioners, dryers, ranges, water heaters, etc.) require 240V circuits.

When these electronics and appliances get a power surge of more voltage than they're designed to handle, the delicate wiring of electrical components inside them get fried—often to the point that you need to replace the unit or system entirely.

Power surges can come from two sources:

  • Internal: The most common cause of power surges (accounting for 60-80% of them) happen internally when appliances or large electronics with motors switch on or off. This diverts electricity from smaller systems when the larger system turns on, and to smaller systems when the larger system shuts off. You may not even notice the surges, but over time they damage the components of the smaller units receiving the surges.

  • External: The most well-known external source of power surges is lightning, but surges can also come from utility grid switching. The utility company will occasionally switch grids to fix issues (like a fallen tree limb), which can cause surges of power when the electricity is disconnected and then reconnected to your home.

How whole house surge protectors work

Whole-house surge protectors are installed inside or next to your electrical panel and divert excess voltage from power surges safely into the ground instead of into your electrical panel.

Voltage from a power surge will take what's called "the path of least resistance", which essentially means it will take the simplest route through your electrical system. The electrical panel surge protector ensures that the simplest route is through the surge protector instead of your home's electrical system.

Without a whole-home surge protector, the surge could make its way through your panel and into appliances hardwired into it, which could fry the appliance's electrical components and leave you vulnerable to a costly replacement. This recently happened to some Cobb County homeowners.

Benefits of whole-home surge protection

Installing whole-house surge protection will help protect:

  • HVAC systems (air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, etc.)

  • Appliances (refrigerators, ranges, washers and dryers, water heaters, etc.)

  • Large electronics (TVs, computers, stereos, gaming systems, etc.)

  • Circuit wiring and outlets

  • Light sockets (and the light fixtures wired into them)

Supplement with plug-in surge protectors

Whole-home surge protectors will stop the majority of large power surges, but excess voltage (up to 15% of the surge) can still get past it. That's why it's important to supplement a whole-home surge protector with plug-in outlet surge protectors, so your 120V appliances and electronics are covered in case of any excess voltage.

That said, you have to be careful about which plug-in "surge protectors" you buy—some are so low quality that they're little better than power strips that provide multiple outlets.

A good plug-in surge protector will:

  • Have a clamping voltage of 400 volts or less. The clamping voltage measures how many volts it takes before redirecting voltage to the ground. The lower the clamping voltage, the better the surge protector.

  • Absorb at least 1,000-2,000 joules of energy. The higher the joule rating, the more surges it can withstand without having to be replaced.

  • Be UL rated. This means it's been tested by Underwriters Laboratory, which ensures the item meets certain standards and will effectively protect your electronics.

Cost of a whole house surge protector

The average cost of a whole-house surge protector installation in Atlanta is $500-$750.

This may sound steep, but here's the average cost to replace appliances and electronics that often get damaged by power surges:

  • Air conditioner: $8,500

  • Furnace: $4,500

  • Water heater: $3,000

  • Wall oven: $3,000

  • Refrigerator: $2,000

  • Freestanding range: $900

  • Computer: $1,000

  • TV (50-55 inches): $500

  • Gaming console: $500

A good quality whole-home surge protector usually lasts at least 2-5 years, but could last up to 10 years depending on how many power surges it protects your home from.

Given that many homes can have multiple appliances and surges can damage many at once, the comparatively reasonable cost to install whole-home surge protection is worth it.

Need whole home surge protection? Call Reliable Heating & Air.

Call us today at (770) 594-9969 or schedule an appointment for a free in-home estimate.

For more than 40 years, we've been offering the most reliable whole-house surge protector installations in the greater Atlanta area. Our electricians will take a look at everything you'd like to protect, then give you the best whole-house surge protection recommendations for your home.