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Surge Suppressors

A panel surge protector installed inside your home at the electrical panel protects:

  • Electrical wiring
  • Pool pump
  • Well pump 
  • Electronic equipment
  • Water heater
  • Major appliances
  • Heat/air conditioning
  • Ceiling fans
  • Trash compactor
  • Security systems

Individual surge suppressors protect sensitive electronics. While no surge suppressor is strong enough to withstand a direct lightning strike, suppressors are effective in protecting against most common surges.

Selecting and installing surge protection

  • Before heading out to the store to purchase surge suppressors, take inventory of your home equipment to determine what you need. (See checklist below.)
  • At the store, check that the product is UL-listed* as a surge protector, meaning the device has been tested by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent testing laboratory that checks electrical equipment for safety, shock hazard and fire hazard. Plug-in surge suppressors that are UL-listed are marked with the following information:
    • UL in circle symbol
    • The notation “Listed – 1449”
    • The assigned control numbers (varies by manufacturer)
    • The words “Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor”
    • Also check the suppressor clamping voltage. This indicates how much voltage a suppressor will “let through” to the product you want to protect. The lowest UL-listed rating is 330 volts.
  • Select a product with the necessary number of outlets.
  • Check to see if the product has additional features that are needed for specific uses:
    • Indicator light – Indicates if suppressor is working. Most effective when suppressor is installed where it can be easily seen.
    • Audible alarm – Indicates if suppressor is not working. Especially effective if suppressor will be hidden by furniture or equipment when plugged in.
    • TV cable or antenna connector – Provides protection for video equipment.
    • Telephone connector – Provides protection for answering machines and modems.
    • Noise reduction – Helps eliminate snow and static that appear on TVs and radios.
    • Fuses, circuit breakers – Protect against a current overload by cutting off power to the protected equipment.
    • Diagnostic indicator – Alerts you to outlets that are not properly wired.

When installing a plug-in suppressor, it is important to know if the outlet is properly wired and grounded. Suppressors with a diagnostic indicator alert you if there is a wiring problem in the outlet. Surge suppressors can provide effective protection only when installed in a properly wired outlet.

Home Equipment Inventory Checklist

Before heading out to the store to purchase surge suppressors, take inventory of your home equipment to determine what you need. (Printable version of checklist)


Equipment requiring a single or multi-outlet plug-in suppressor   


Black & white TV/radio


Color TV without cable/antenna connectors


Stereo amplifier/receiver


Media player


Tape player


Record player/radio


Computer equipment - CPU (disk driver), printer, monitor, mouse and other equipment


Garage door opener


Home security command unit


Refrigerator/freezer with microprocessors


Microwave oven





Equipment requiring multi-outlet suppressor with a telephone connector




Telephone answering machine





Equipment requiring multi-outlet suppressor with a video connector


Big screen TV




Color TV with cable/antenna connectors





Equipment requiring a specialty suppressor


Satellite dish