Looking to clarify some points re: installing a Leviton 51110 whole
house surge protector from Home Depot.
The surge protector has four leads - two black, one green, one white.
1. From what I understand the blacks need to go to adjacent 20 amp
breakers, doesn't matter which goes to which. There aren't two
adjacent 20's on my board so I gather 2 more need to be installed?
1b. - If 2 more breakers need to be installed, the available spots are
below the already installed breakers. Shouldn't they be as close as
possible to the top of the stack of breakers so any surge hits the
protector before hitting the rest of the breakers or not necessarily?
2. The instructions specify the white line going to the neutral bus,
the green going to the ground bus. However, the schematic seems to
show the green and white going to a common ground.
On my box, I've id'd "A" as the neutral bus - the one with the white
wires going to it, "B" as the ground bus. Is this correct?
Anyone have experience with this particular unit?
Thanks for all input.
- My breaker box:
You will need to install the new breakers. They do not have to be near the
top as the bus for the hot wires are thick enough not to make any
Breakers usually alternate from the left hot wire to the right hot wire as
you come down the line. That is why you should install two breakers next to
each other. The one on the top right looks to be two single breakers that
are connected by a connector so that if one trips, both sides will
disconnect. There are some single breakers that take up two slots and only
one switch. While this is a single breaker each screw is hooked to the
seperate incomming black hot wires. This is for running the 240 volt
The neutral and ground wires should be connected together in the breaker
box so it does not really make any differance as to where you connect the
white and green wires from the surge protector as far as to neutral and
ground. It just looks beter if the white is connected to neutral and green
to ground. May need to be that way just to satify the electrical code.
The one labled A is the neutral and your white wire should go there. the one
with the bare wires , your B , is the ground and the green wire should go
A surge protector works by "shorting" the two hots, shorting each hot to
neutral, and each of those to ground. It does this in a split second.
Anyway you have two hots coming in at the top of the panel. Note there
is NO MAIN CUT OFF SWITCH! Power will ALWAYS BE LIVE to this panel!!!!
It appears to be a "subpanel" and there should be another panel
elsewhere where you can cut off the power to that panel.
If you can't do that and do not understand this, then call an
Other than that, the two breakers on the upper right are adjacent
breakers (each goes to a separate hot). Those are "regular size
breakers". The smaller breakers are "space saving breakers". The breaker
on the lower left is a regular size breaker. (Space saving... 2 go to
one hot, then the next two go to the other hot.)
You can NOT place two wires in one breaker connection, so you need to
buy a new "full size" double breaker for that specific brand/model
panel. And that double breaker will need to be a certain amperage - like
20 amps or 50 amps or whatever. If this is not specified in the surge
protector instructions, call the manufacturer and ask what size breaker.
That new double breaker can be located anywhere in the panel.
Then connect one black wire to each connection on the double breaker,
white to the neutral bar, and green to the ground bar.
If you do not fully understand how your electric panel works, what the
two hots are above, how those connect to various breakers, why it is
always live, and why you can't connect two wires to one breaker, call an
There's a main breaker outside the house. I could install one of these
little square box protector units on that but if I put one on the
inside panel in the garage I'll be walking by it all the time and can
more readily observe the status lights.
You feel it should be a double breaker instead of two singles?
Just be sure to turn off the main power before doing any work! OK to
install it on the inside subpanel.
Then double breakers are usually used for a 240 volt appliance. They
have what is called an "internal common trip". Those would be for things
like a range, electric hot water heater, etc. And in that case, if one
"hot" was overloaded, you would want both to trip as is what happens.
But I would not think that would matter with this surge protector. It
would be important for safety to have a tie-bar between the two breakers
though (handle connecting both breakers). That would be to service it.
You would have to turn off both breakers. So safer.
I would just get a double breaker, as a retail store might not sell the
tie bar part. An "electricians supply" would.
Which is very strange indeed. I don't see any reason for that
and don't know of any other surge protector manufacturer with
that recomendation. I'd also note that with a 4,000 amp rating,
this isn't what I would use when for the same or less money
you can get one that is rated at 20,000 or 40,000 amps.
I guess since it has protection for phone and cable also,
that's worth something, but seperate protectors for phone
and cable are available for $10.
I have a slight preference for a postion near the feed - top in your
panel. But you want to minimize the length of wire from the protector to
the hot, neutral and ground connections. (And you don't want sharp bends
in the wires.) In your panel my preference would be to connect the
protector to the panel on the right toward the bottom of the busbars.
The neutral connection goes to the bar on the left side under the
busbars. Minimum length to the ground bar. I would put the breaker(s)
for the surge protector in the bottom right position (moving the breaker
that is there now).
The neutral is connected to "ground" at a service panel. That connection
may be at this panel, or probably at the service disconnect.
I would prefer to install the surge protection where the earthing
electrodes connect to the system. The earthing electrodes appear to
connect to the ground bus in the picture.
An electrician just installed the Leviton 51110 in my panel. He just conne
cted the 4 wires inside the panel and left the unit inside the panel. Of c
ourse, you cannot see the two lights without removing the panel cover. The
instructions don't say the 51110 has to be visible, but it does say that i
f one or both lights go out the unit must be replaced.
My question is: Is this a good installation with the 51110 inside the pane
l, not visible, or should the electrician installed in outside the panel so
the lights are visible?
If it's ok inside the panel, how do you know when the unit needs replacing?
Thanks for your help.
On 2/9/2014 6:54 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I am surprised the protector fits inside the service panel.
Leviton's instructions say to "mount the SPD unit securely". It isn't
mounted securely. And isn't mounted in any of the suggested ways. IMHO
it is a schlocky installation. If an inspector looked at it I don't
think they would be pleased. IMHO code violations are not following the
manufacturer's instructions and not installing in a "workmanlike
manner". The wires may be longer than necessary - an important point and
covered in Leviton's instructions.
If this is a service panel the neutral and ground are connected together
and a 3-wire protector could have been used. The 4th wire doesn't hurt
anything, but doesn't do anything useful.
============================I agree with trader's answer to BobV.
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