Lightning Protection System for a Home Circuit Breaker Panel

Hello,
Anyone have any good advice on having a lightning protection system installed on a home circuit breaker panel?
Is it worth the money and how good does it really work?
Thanks for any advice,
Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You never know how good a lightning protector is UNTIL you really need it. You can get the "puck" units for your panel. MY suggestion is to install surge protectors on all electronic appliances (computers, stereos, tv's, etc) along with the hard wired "panel puck". You can never go overboard on lightning protection, for your home. The main point here is to have a good ground system (less than 25 ohms) in the house, water pipe, ground rod, and Ufer ground.
the mango wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A protector that will somehow stop or block what three miles of sky did not is a myth. Effective protectors are: as in http://www.telebyteusa.com/primer/ch6.htm

A protector is a connection to protection. A protector that does not have that essential earthing wire AND that avoids discussion of earthing really does not provide effective protection. Earthing defines the protection.
To make a 'whole house' protector effective, building earth should meet and exceed post 1990 earthing requirements. Without something to shunt into, a protector provides insufficient protection. Furthermore, that same earthing must be used by all incoming utilities. Even if utilities are underground, they still require single point earth ground. Otherwise destructive surges may enter a building to find earth, destructively, via household appliances.
If using plug-in protectors, then install one for every appliance - dishwasher, washing machine, clock radio, smoke detector, bathroom GFCIs, etc. Or install a 'whole house' protector for superior protection that is also tens of times less money per protected appliance. But again, which one makes the 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth.
Earthing determines a protector's effectiveness. 'Whole house' protector already inside telephone interface box and ground block on cable must also make a 'less than 10 foot' connection to the same earth ground. Again, otherwise the transient may find earth destructively via household appliances. Notice that effective protection does as Ben Franklin also demonstrated in 1752. Like lightning rods, the protector is only as effective as its earthing.
the mango wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A protector that will somehow stop or block what three miles of sky did not is a myth. Effective protectors are: as in http://www.telebyteusa.com/primer/ch6.htm

A protector is a connection to protection. A protector that does not have that essential earthing wire AND that avoids discussion of earthing really does not provide effective protection. Earthing defines the protection.
To make a 'whole house' protector effective, building earth should meet and exceed post 1990 earthing requirements. Without something to shunt into, a protector provides insufficient protection. Furthermore, that same earthing must be used by all incoming utilities. Even if utilities are underground, they still require single point earth ground. Otherwise destructive surges may enter a building to find earth, destructively, via household appliances.
If using plug-in protectors, then install one for every appliance - dishwasher, washing machine, clock radio, smoke detector, bathroom GFCIs, etc. Or install a 'whole house' protector for superior protection that is also tens of times less money per protected appliance. But again, which one makes the 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth.
Earthing determines a protector's effectiveness. 'Whole house' protector already inside telephone interface box and ground block on cable must also make a 'less than 10 foot' connection to the same earth ground. Again, otherwise the transient may find earth destructively via household appliances. Notice that effective protection does as Ben Franklin also demonstrated in 1752. Like lightning rods, the protector is only as effective as its earthing.
the mango wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A protector that will somehow stop or block what three miles of sky did not is a myth. Effective protectors are: as in http://www.telebyteusa.com/primer/ch6.htm

A protector is a connection to protection. A protector that does not have that essential earthing wire AND that avoids discussion of earthing really does not provide effective protection. Earthing defines the protection.
To make a 'whole house' protector effective, building earth should meet and exceed post 1990 earthing requirements. Without something to shunt into, a protector provides insufficient protection. Furthermore, that same earthing must be used by all incoming utilities. Even if utilities are underground, they still require single point earth ground. Otherwise destructive surges may enter a building to find earth, destructively, via household appliances.
If using plug-in protectors, then install one for every appliance - dishwasher, washing machine, clock radio, smoke detector, bathroom GFCIs, etc. Or install a 'whole house' protector for superior protection that is also tens of times less money per protected appliance. But again, which one makes the 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth.
Earthing determines a protector's effectiveness. 'Whole house' protector already inside telephone interface box and ground block on cable must also make a 'less than 10 foot' connection to the same earth ground. Again, otherwise the transient may find earth destructively via household appliances. Notice that effective protection does as Ben Franklin also demonstrated in 1752. Like lightning rods, the protector is only as effective as its earthing.
the mango wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A protector that will somehow stop or block what three miles of sky did not is a myth. Effective protectors are: as in http://www.telebyteusa.com/primer/ch6.htm

A protector is a connection to protection. A protector that does not have that essential earthing wire AND that avoids discussion of earthing really does not provide effective protection. Earthing defines the protection.
To make a 'whole house' protector effective, building earth should meet and exceed post 1990 earthing requirements. Without something to shunt into, a protector provides insufficient protection. Furthermore, that same earthing must be used by all incoming utilities. Even if utilities are underground, they still require single point earth ground. Otherwise destructive surges may enter a building to find earth, destructively, via household appliances.
If using plug-in protectors, then install one for every appliance - dishwasher, washing machine, clock radio, smoke detector, bathroom GFCIs, etc. Or install a 'whole house' protector for superior protection that is also tens of times less money per protected appliance. But again, which one makes the 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth.
Earthing determines a protector's effectiveness. 'Whole house' protector already inside telephone interface box and ground block on cable must also make a 'less than 10 foot' connection to the same earth ground. Again, otherwise the transient may find earth destructively via household appliances. Notice that effective protection does as Ben Franklin also demonstrated in 1752. Like lightning rods, the protector is only as effective as its earthing.
the mango wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
w_tom wrote:

Obviously stupid advice - w_ is really saying don't use plug-in protectors.
The best paper I have seen on surge protection is at http://www.mikeholt.com/files/PDF/LightningGuide_FINALpublishedversion_May051.pdf - this a paper w_tom originally provided a link to - the title is "How to protect your house and its contents from lightning: IEEE guide for surge protection of equipment connected to AC power and communication circuits" - it was published by the IEEE in 2005 - the IEEE is the dominant organization of electrical and electronic engineers in the US - the 5 authors have broad experience with surge suppression
A second reference is http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/practiceguides/surgesfnl.pdf - this is the "NIST recommended practice guide: Surges Happen!: how to protect the appliances in your home" - it is published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the US government agency formerly called the National Bureau of Standards - it was published in 2001 - it was written - Francois Martzloff - the NIST guru on surges and lightning
Both guides were intended for wide distribution to the general public to explain surges and how to protect against them. The IEEE guide was targeted at people who have some (not much) technical background. Read one (or both) to understand surges and protection. They provide info on what to look for in a service panel surge protector.
Both also say plug-in surge suppressors are effective.
Note that if a device, like a computer, has connections other than power, like a phone line, that has to be connected through the surge suppressor also. This type of suppressor is called a surge reference equalizer (SRE) by the IEEE (also described by the NIST). The idea is that all wires connected to the device (power, phone, CATV, LAN, ...) are clamped to the common ground at the SRE. The voltage on all wires passing through the SRE to the protected device are held to a voltage safe to the device.
The primary action of a plug-in surge suppressor is clamping, not earthing. w_tom does not recognize clamping as valid, and as a result apparently can't read and understand these guides.
bud--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If a room is carefully reconstructed to be equivalent to a faraday cage, and if humans do not routinely compromise that protection design, then a plug-in protector (that costs so much more money) may protect one device. Bud routinely follows me around to post half truths. He routinely forgets to post some additional facts. For example, a kid with an Xbox would violate protection to a TV. What does Bud's own citation (which I provided him) note? Two TVs may end up at 8000 volts. Are two TVs at 8000+ volts effectively protected every time? As long as every electrically conductive material is not violating the protection system, then that plug-in protector may work. And then we look at items such as concrete, some wall paints, and Xbox. These violate the protection system. To make the plug-in protector effective, you must connect it using an engineering analysis and teach the kid how to connect his Xbox.
Or you can install an effective protection system that even the Xbox cannot violate.
IOW the plug-in protector is big bucks for every appliance to hopefully protect an adjacent appliance. Meanwhile anything that would be effectve at that appliance is already inside the appliance - which Bud routinely forgets to mention. So where do we better put less money for superior protection? Do we buy 100 plug-in protectors for every appliance? Of course not. We install and earth a protector that will not be compromised by a kid with an Xbox. We buy a protector that is not sold by manufacturers that Bud represents. We buy one protector so that even two TVs do not end up at 8000 volts. This is called the 'whole house' protector.
Ineffective protectors are easily identified. 1) No dedicated earthing wire and 2) manufacturer avoids discussing earthing. Notice what lightning seeks and what Bud avoids discussing? Earth ground. Therefore manufacturers with responsible trade names sell 'whole house' protectors in Home Depot, Lowes, and electrical supply houses. Some if not all names will be obvious to anyone who has worked with residential electricity: Siemens, Square D, Intermatic, Cutler-Hamer, Leviton, and GE are but some of the manufacturers of effective 'whole house' protectors. Spend tens of times less money per protected appliance for protection that will not be compromised by a kid with an Xbox. Bud would have you believe this is not necessary - the plug-in protector will somehow do everything.
Meanwhile, what does a plug-in protector also require to be effective? 'Whole house' protector. Lightning still must be provided a path to earth. No path to earth and lightning will find destructive paths even through plug-in protector. Many decades ago, damage to adjacent and powered off computers was traced through an adjacent protector. Plug-in protector shunted a surge into powered off computer, through network, out another computer to earth ground via phone line. Notice how lightning does damage. It finds a destructive path to earth. We even traced that path by replacing every damaged IC to make all computers functional.
Anything that a plug-in protector will do is already inside the appliance. Internal protection that assumes you have earthed a 'whole house' protector. Assumes you have earthed the transient before it even enters the house. Then any trivial transient that still enters a building is made irrelevant by protection already inside every (maybe 100) appliances.
Protection is about earthing such transients just as Ben Franklin demonstrated on church steeples in 1752. An earthed transient will not seek destructive paths via church steeple or household electronics. 'Whole house' protection concept is what protects every telephone COs, 911 response center, commercial radio stations, and everything else that can never suffer lightning damage. Remember, that $multi-million computer is connected to overhead wires everywhere in town and its computer must never fail. Telco also don't waste good money on plug-in protectors. They also earth transients with a 'whole house' type protector on every wire of every incoming cable AND with an earth ground connection that is short as possible. Earthing provides the protection.
You want reliable protection. Would you spend up to $100 for a protector that might or might not work? Plug-in protectors are not effective. Effective protection at the appliance is already inside an appliance. Internal protection that is effective IF you earth destructive transients before such transients can enter the building. One reliable protector for everything or hundreds of plug-in protectors that might do something useful? Do you have money to burn - or just want reliable protection? The protector is only as effective as its earth ground which explains why plug-in protectors don't even claim such protection in their numerical specifications. Don't take my word for it. Notice they don't even list protection each type of transient. Instead, they hope you will believe half truths posted by Bud.
Bud's job is to follow me around and confuse you with half truths. Buy and earth one 'whole house' to have superior protection. Any money wasted on plug-in protector is better spent to enhance earthing - to make protection better. Even your own phone company earths a 'whole house' protector where their wire enters your building - because a 'whole house' protector is so effective and so inexpensive.
Bud-- wrote:

http://www.mikeholt.com/files/PDF/LightningGuide_FINALpublishedversion_May051.pdf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
w_tom wrote:

The IEEE and NIST guides say nothing about Faraday cages or special precautions.

'Half truths' that come from the IEEE and NIST

As described plainly in the IEEE guide, the primary action of a plug-in surge suppressor is clamping, not earthing. As I said in my previous post, w_tom does not recognize clamping as valid, and as a result apparently can't read and understand these guides.

In 1999 Francois Martzloff, who was the NIST guru on surges, wrote a guide for customer service reps for rural electrical coops. Included was: "Whole house protection consists of a protective device at the service entrance complemented by TVSSs [plug-in surge suppressors] for sensitive appliances [electronic equipment] within the house."
The IEEE and NIST guides and Martzloff recognize plug-in surge suppressors as effective.
Never seen: any link from w_tom that says plug-in surge suppressors are not effective.
bud--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bud-- wrote:

He has seen plug-in protectors defined as ineffective for reason after reason. For example, Bud pretends these pictures don't exist: http://www.westwhitelandfire.com/Articles/Surge%20Protectors.pdf

http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/programs/gen_saf/surgeprotectorfire.htm
http://www.rbs2.com/fire.htm
http://www.hanford.gov/rl/?pageU6&parentU4
Just another reason why 'whole house' protectors sold by responsible manufacturers such as Leviton, Cutler-Hammer, Square D, GE, Siemens, and Intermatic as the superior and effective solution.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
w_tom wrote:

For what "definintion"; what "reason after reason"?
People working in surge protection are aware that UL revised 1449 to include protection for overheating MOVs. Maybe you should keep up. Were all these surge suppressors even listed under the original UL 1449?
The IEEE and NIST say plug-in surge suppressors are effective.
I have still not seen a link from you that said plug-in surge suppressors are not effective.
bud--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The power co here has a surge protector that attaches onto the incoming wires at the meter. I had it installed for several years until I decided it wasn't worth an extra 6 bucks a month. It was for anything behind the meter and had a huge dollar replacement guarantee for anything fried.
message

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.