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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   

Quantity

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

 

                                                                                                   Total

 

    

Equipment requiring multi-outlet suppressor with a telephone connector

Quantity

Modem

 

Telephone answering machine

 

                                                                                                  Total

 

   

Equipment requiring multi-outlet suppressor with a video connector

Quantity

Big screen TV

 

VCR

 

Color TV with cable/antenna connectors

 

                                                                                                  Total

 

  

Equipment requiring a specialty suppressor

Quantity

Satellite dish

 

                                                                                                  Total