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Are Whole-Home Surge Protectors Worth the Investment?

Serving Families Throughout Clackamas
electrician working on service panel

We have significantly more sensitive electronic devices in our homes compared to previous generations. These devices, from computers to gaming consoles, are susceptible to electrical surges. Even some of our modern home appliances, such as smart thermostats and refrigerators, can be damaged by an electrical surge. So, what can you do to protect your home and devices from surges?

You may know that you can install point-of-contact surge protectors. In fact, you likely have one of these in your home office right now, protecting your computer. However, these only work where you've plugged them in, and they may not be enough to protect all your home's electronics effectively. Consequently, many people are turning to whole-home surge protectors. But, is this type of surge protection a good choice for you?

Below we answer a few frequently asked questions about surge protection for your home to help you determine if installing a whole-house surge protector is in your best interest.

How Do Whole-House Surge Protectors Work?

Electrical surges can happen for several reasons, including bad weather, problems with your local power grid, and even a short in your own electrical system. Without a surge protector, when the surge comes, it can fry the electrical components in your devices. And, it is not just computers, tablets, and televisions we are concerned about. Electrical surges can damage just about anything plugged in and even cause all of your lightbulbs to burn out. A big enough surge can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Whole-home surge protectors work to prevent these surges from damaging your home. These devices are installed at your electrical panel and, from there, block dangerous electrical surges from entering your home. Essentially, the surge protector senses the current of electricity coming into your home. When it senses a spike or otherwise irregular current, it diverts the current to a ground wire, keeping it out of your home and protecting your appliances and devices.

Why Aren't Power Strip Surge Protectors Enough?

strip surge protector​Small power strip surge protectors do a good job of protecting the device they are plugged into. However, they are a one-time use product for protecting your equipment from surges. When a surge comes through, they protect your device, but then they themselves usually need to be replaced.

Additionally, they only protect the items plugged directly into them. To protect your entire home, you must buy surge protectors for every outlet. And then, they would still leave hard-wired appliances and lighting vulnerable. This becomes cost prohibitive and actually costs more than installing a whole-home surge protector on your electrical panel.

Can I Install a Whole-House Surge Protector Myself?

No, we always recommend that you work with a licensed electrician to install a whole-home surge protector. Because the surge protector must be hard-wired into your home's electrical panel, there is a risk of electrical shock. Additionally, improperly installed surge protectors can be hazardous. If you are considering getting a whole-home surge protector, reach out to A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical for help. Our electricians can help you select the correct surge protector for your needs and provide safe, reliable installation.

Do Whole-House Surge Protectors Need Maintenance?

Generally, your whole-home surge protector doesn't require any more maintenance than your regular electrical system. Because it is installed directly into your electrical panel, it should be inspected during your yearly home electrical inspection. When it comes to replacing your surge protector, some people recommend replacing them every three to five years. However, we recommend you speak with your electrician to confirm that it needs to be replaced before buying a new one.

Want to learn more about whole-home surge protection? Give us a call at (503) 694-3396 or send us a message online.