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How to Choose Surge Protection for Your Home
(Part 2)

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Shopping Tips

Here are some shopping tips to use when purchasing your surge protection system...

Service Entrance Surge Protection

Service entrance surge protection devices will either be a TVSS or a secondary surge arrester. It is not possible to compare the capabilities of a TVSS to a secondary surge arrester because they are tested differently. State Farm is not recommending one type over another. We will offer suggested specs for both.

Point-of-Use Surge Protectors

Surge Protectors must be properly grounded

Without proper grounding a surge protection device's ability to protect is greatly diminished or impeded. Do not connect a plug-in type point-of-use surge protection device to an electrical outlet by using a two-prong extension cord. The surge protection device's ability to protect against power surges will be diminished. And many surge protection device warranties will not cover any damage if this is done.

Planning of Electrical Circuits

If you are building a new home or remodeling, properly organizing the electrical circuits can reduce exposure of power surges to sensitive equipment. Don't place wall outlets that are going to be used for computers, TVs, microwaves, and stereos on the same circuits powering large appliances with motors, such as refrigerators or freezers.

Costs of surge protection

Service entrance surge protection at the main electrical panel or electric meter requires installation by a qualified electrician. Installing it at the electric meter also requires the approval of the utility company. Service entrance surge protection (for the electrical system only) can also be accomplished with plug-on devices that snap into the electrical panel just like a circuit breaker.

Costs for service entrance surge protection can start at $80 (material and labor) for the plug-on type devices inside the electrical panel. For those mounted on the outside of the main electrical panel or installed at the electrical meter, the range is $150 to $500 (material and labor).

Costs can range from $20 to over $100 for better quality point-of-use type surge protection devices that plug into electrical outlets.

Surge protection outlets, which require the services of a qualified electrician, cost around $40 (material only) as compared with a typical electrical outlet that costs around $2 to $4 (material only).


Why hasn't damage from power surges been a problem before now? Power surges have always existed. Appliances and products going into our homes, however, have changed.

Sensitive electronic circuitry is appearing in more and more appliances in the typical American home. Also, the amount of electronic equipment in the home is increasing -- DVD players, satellite TV, video games, stereo systems, and personal computers are becoming commonplace.

The electronic circuitry is getting more dense and compact, making the circuitry more vulnerable to damage from power surges. Equipment and appliances are becoming more interconnected with one another and more connections will be made with phone lines and coax cable lines. Electric utility companies are deregulating at a time when there will be more demand for electrical power. All this increases the chances of damage from power surges.

The cost and number of electronics and smart appliances in the home will continue to increase. Combining this with the potential increase in power surges means damage from power surges will cost us more in the future.

The cost is not borne solely by insurance companies. The consumer loses also. Most power surges do not originate from lightning strikes. Damage from power surges created by the utility company or generated within the home is either not covered or has coverage limitations in most insurance policies.
Even for damage caused by lightning, coverage is often limited (depending on type of insurance coverage) because of the depreciation on the piece of equipment and the deductible. Because of the potential financial loss to the homeowner, a good surge protection plan should be considered, no matter where you live in the country.

Understanding the problem and knowing what options are available to you puts you ahead in the protection of your property.

State Farm® believes the information contained in this article is reliable and accurate. We cannot, however, guarantee the performance of all items demonstrated or described in all situations. Always consult an experienced contractor or other expert to determine the best application of these ideas or products in your home.

Thanks to our friends at State Farm Insurance from allowing us to reprint this article.

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