The term “transient surge” refers to a sudden spike in electrical power that can surge through wiring and short circuit any electrical device connected to the electrical service panel. The most common source of transient surge is lighting. Lighting does not have to strike the home itself. A strike on a nearby transformer can spike the voltage throughout the neighborhood and destroy equipment in every home on the block. Because technology has so evolved that virtually every electronic device in today’s home contains a printed circuit board like the type found in computers, professionally installed whole house surge suppression is the only reliable safeguard against catastrophic equipment failure. Whole house surge suppressors also safeguard against fluctuations of power in rural areas known as “dirty power.” These fluctuations occur due to long distances between small communities and service providers, and they will wreck havoc on systems, kitchen appliances, stereos, and of course, computers. Many people are unaware of these hazards and rely on retail power strips alone to protect the most sensitive electrical equipment.
This is a trust misplaced, because virtually every subsystem coming from service provider is therefore a potential threat that requires whole house surge suppression to proactively guard against.
It is important to understand that as homes have grown larger and more customized over the last 40 years that the wiring systems used to power them have also become more complex. Many homeowners are surprised when they learn that electrical panels themselves now contain printed circuit boards just like computers. If the voltage spike of a transient power surge reaches a panel, the power spike will short circuit the panel and send the surge to every electrical component and system connected to its network.
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To minimize the likelihood of such catastrophic damage, it is wise to invest in a sophisticated whole house surge suppressor engineered to block lightning induced transience and dirty power spikes. A standard size whole house surge suppressor has been proven to consistently block spikes of up to 300,000 A and is only 50% the size of equivalent devices.
While there are many whole house surge suppression devices available on the open market, they are very difficult for the self-trained electrician– and almost impossible for the novice– to correctly install. When homeowners work with a professional, certified team of electrical contractors, they receive the best commercial grade whole house surge suppression technology delivered directly to their residential service panel and home automation network. Electrical design consultants routinely perform panel repair and upgrades, and can very quickly assess the nature and size of any home’s electrical network and calculate the necessary level of protection it requires. This data is then used to determine the appropriate size of the whole house surge suppressor.
Please realize that when we say “size” of the service panel we are not really referring to the physical dimensions of the panel itself. Rather, size in this sense refers more to the ratio of power delivered to the home versus the number of devices drawing power through the panel. The more devices, the higher the risk of catastrophic home power failure and thousands of dollars in equipment replacement costs. For example, most people in larger homes now have up to four televisions and one wall-sized plasma TV. Electrical design teams routinely enter such dwellings and are amazed to find that the plasma TV is plugged directly into the wall– and therefore waiting to be the first device destroyed without effective whole house surge suppression to protect it.
Other systems like alarms, satellite dishes, and telephones, although physically outside the house, are equally vulnerable to transient surge and must also be factored into the equation when calculating the necessary level of surge suppression for the house as a whole.
Furthermore, it becomes not only necessary, but mission critical for any homeowner using home automation or home theater equipment to invest in this form of protection. Automation systems are in actuality sophisticated electrical subsystems operating within the home’s overall electrical system. Calculating the precise level of whole house surge suppression needed to ensure everything from equipment to home automation programming requires expert electricians with a proven track record in home automation installation, design, programming and equipment. Using a trained electrician is important so your systems work properly.