Question

What are your recommendations for a whole house surge protector? I want to be sure I protect my Geothermal system.

Asked by Jennifer
Hayward, WI

Whole house surge protection and UPS surge/battery back up protection. I am looking to protect against lightning and most importantly brown outs and lulls in the power coming into the home. I also have a Geo Thermal unit and I want to be sure I protect the Geo Thermal system. 

Answer

Michael Holcomb

Answered by Michael Holcomb

Byron Center, MI

Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (Headquarters)

December 5, 2012

Jennifer,

You have presented two different questions concerning two different devices. I will explain each separately.

Surge protection

A surge protector (or surge suppressor) is a device designed to protect electrical components from voltage spikes. A surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied by either blocking or by shunting to ground any excessive voltages above a specific threshold.

 
 

Whole-house surge suppressor devices are often installed in the main electrical service panel, to protect equipment in a household from voltage spike hazards. 

  • Assuming your ground source heat pump is wired from the main electrical panel a single surge suppressor protecting the main service entrance should protect everything connected to it.
  • If you have a backup generator with its own main disconnect panel you would need to install another surge suppressor on that panel too.
  • This is a job for a licensed and insured electrical contractor.

A professional can help you select a suppressor that will meet the voltage limits and response times needed to protect your home’s electrical devices.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

UPS surge/battery backup devices are used to prevent surges to vulnerable electronic equipment and provide electrical power for a short time after a power shortage.

 
 

UPS surge/battery backup protection is not normally provided for the entire home due to the expense involved. You can purchase small UPS surge/battery backup devices for specific electrical components in the home to ensure an even, safe electrical supply to vulnerable equipment. 

  • These devices provide adequate electrical power to allow you to protect computers from losing sensitive data during operation and a power outage.
  • They don’t allow you to operate for a long period of time but you can complete a save and shut down safely until power is restored.

Based on your question I would suggest a whole house surge suppressor and independent UPS surge/battery backup for any equipment that would be harmful or inconvenient to have shut down due to a power outage.

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