whole house surge protectors

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This is after reading and talking to others, I'm thinking about this. I'm not very educated on electricity so I wonder 2 things right away. What brands are good for whole house protection and how do I know how much protection I need? Can I just go by the amperage in the circuit panel (main circuit breaker) ? One person gave me a brand called Eaton and told me depending on model (Ultra being the best and most expensive) from maybe $250 to $500 but said it could be more if I don't have a spare circuit breaker to wire into. Suggestions welcome.
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On 10/5/2012 12:32 PM, Doug wrote:

The power company around here will install one on your electric meter base. I'm not sure of a monthly charge or protection guarantee but you may check if your local power company has such a program. ^_^
TDD
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On 10/5/2012 1:32 PM, Doug wrote:

I prefer to protect individual circuits that have electronic devices such as computers and TV's. I heard a neighbor had a whole house unit and when it blew, it took an electrician and half a day to get power back.
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If it took an electrician and half a day to get power back, what do you think would have happened if they instead relied on plug-in surge protectors for just the TV? A surge of that magnitude could have wrecked all kinds of stuff in the house, even that protected by plug-in type. If it took out a properly installed whole house surge protecter, then it must have been one hell of a surge, eg some kind of very close lightning strike.
A whole house surge protector is the first line of defense against destructive surges, protects everything in the house, and deals with the surge when it first enters the house. As recommended by the IEEE, a tiered protections strategy works best, which means having sensitive electronics, particularly those that are connected not only to power but also to cable, phone lines, etc, protected by additonal plug-in type protectors. The whole house protector will deal with any huge surge that comes in via the power line. The plug-ins will limit the voltage differential between power and cable, phone, etc.
Eaton is a reputable major manufacturer of electrical eqpt. Intermatic is another I would recommend. I would get one rated for at least 20K Amps per phase. A whole house protector should run $100-150. You typically need an additional double pole breaker, ~$20, and as that friend pointed out, if you don't have an empty slot that will increase the cost. It should take an hour to install, assuming everything else is in order.
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On Fri, 5 Oct 2012 11:42:49 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Good explanation.
Some protectors (instructions) also say you can use an existing 30a breaker if the terminals will support 2 conductors.
I still do not understand how a whole house protector took out the whole house unless it was in the meter can..
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On Fri, 5 Oct 2012 11:42:49 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

I appreciate this help. Since I'm stupid on this subject so this will help me. Feel free to add to it but thanks again.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

There are a number on Amazon for under $100. You do not need an additional circuit breaker (usually).
They are dirt-simple to install. If your hand fits a screwdriver, you should be good to go, assuming you have or can borrow a screwdriver.
I have one on each of my two electrical panels. They cost $55 & $75. I got one at Home Depot and forgot where I got the other.
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How do you install it without an additional circuit breaker? gfretw indicated that you could do that if an existing breaker has terminals that are listed for and allow double tapping, but in my experience that is not a breaker that you typically find in a home panel.

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On Fri, 5 Oct 2012 14:12:30 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

You can wire them to the same lugs that hold the main wires coming in, or you can get a lug kit that is used when you add a secondary box.
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Don't wire these to the main lugs. There won't be anything to stop the fire if they short.
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On Sat, 06 Oct 2012 00:26:42 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Wiring diagram here http://www.smarthome.com/manuals/48390.pdf
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Certainly you follow the installation instructions and that one must have internal over current protection but there are plenty that don't and say they must be behind a breaker.
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On 10/5/2012 10:41 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Most service panel protectors must be connected after the service breaker. I would rather not connect ahead of that.
--------------------------------- The protectors that a utility will provide (usually lease) connect between the meter and the meter base.
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I think that's called secondary protection.
Greg
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Interesting, I didn't know that connectors like the ILSCO KUPLER IPC 4/0-#6 that taps into the service conductors existed or were allowed. Some questions:
I've never used a lug kit. I take it that goes on the panel some place that does not take up a breaker slot and is typically used to then feed a subpanel? So, in this case they use it to feed the SS.
If you use the Kupler approach and tap the service conductors before the main breaker, you then have the SS connected directly without any breaker. The instructions say this is OK, but does it depend on where the SS is physically mounted? Say I mount it next to the panel, as is frequently done. Then I have it and the wires running between that Kupler and the SS with no breaker protection, no disconnect, including no main breaker. Is that allowed? I sure would not do that in my house when there are other ways to do it.
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Interesting, I didn't know that connectors like the ILSCO KUPLER IPC 4/0-#6 that taps into the service conductors existed or were allowed. Some questions:
I've never used a lug kit. I take it that goes on the panel some place that does not take up a breaker slot and is typically used to then feed a subpanel? So, in this case they use it to feed the SS.
If you use the Kupler approach and tap the service conductors before the main breaker, you then have the SS connected directly without any breaker. The instructions say this is OK, but does it depend on where the SS is physically mounted? Say I mount it next to the panel, as is frequently done. Then I have it and the wires running between that Kupler and the SS with no breaker protection, no disconnect, including no main breaker. Is that allowed? I sure would not do that in my house when there are other ways to do it.
*I agree with Trader4. I don't like having anything connected in a home that cannot be shut off without pulling the electric meter.
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On Fri, 5 Oct 2012 14:12:30 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Square D and some Cuttler Hammers allow 2 conductors
The SqD QO on the left allows 2 conductors, the other 2 don't. Note the plate and the 2 slots, one on each side.
http://gfretwell.com/electrical/breakers.jpg
The numbers are the temperature rating of the termination, for another discussion.
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On 10/5/2012 4:12 PM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

There are some surge arresters that snap in like a standard circuit breaker into a spare 2 pole slot with a ground wire that needs to be connected to the ground bar. I don't remember the brand but I remember seeing a cut sheet on it at the electrical supply house one day. O_o
TDD
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On 10/5/2012 10:38 PM, The Daring Dufas wrote:

Several manufacturers make surge protectors that plug-in like a circuit breaker - SquareD comes to mind. (They only can be used in panels made by that manufacturer.)
They can only be used at the service panel, because the neutral and ground are bonded in the service panel. (At a subpanel the protector connects to hot-hot-neutral-ground.)
Separate protectors are available with higher surge amp ratings. But the plug-onto-the-busbar ones are sure convenient.
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wrote:

But how do we know what type of screw driver? There are the tapered ones that can be used as a chisel and digger, and there are the cute cross ones for chopping ice.

Most are in the $200 range. How do they differ from the lower priced ones? Or don't they, aside from price.
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