Lightning Protection Orlando
It’s lightning season, and many of us in Florida have experienced the disaster of a lightning strike on or near our home. In a millisecond, every appliance in the house is turned into “toast”, including the fridge, TV’s, computers, washer, and dryer. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is #1 in the U.S. for lightning insurance claims, with an average of $10,436 of damage per claim. Fortunately, damage from lightning strikes can be prevented with installation of a whole house surge protection system, and it’s much less expensive than you might think.
How Does a Whole House Surge Protector Work?
A whole house surge protector works by diverting a powerful surge current away from your home’s wiring and into the ground. The device is a home’s first line of defense against big power surges coming from lightning strikes or overvoltage from the power line. The whole house surge protector is installed at the main electrical panel or electric meter.
When lightning strikes, the device is activated to open a “low impedance” channel that allows the current to flow to the ground. It acts like a pressure valve, diverting power to the ground wire only when a power surge exceeds a certain voltage. When the current entering the electrical panel is normal, the power continues to flow to the home’s circuits. Normally, you won’t notice the surge protector is there, but when hit with a power surge, you will be glad it is.
The component most commonly used in whole house surge protectors to redirect a current is called an MOV, or metal oxide varistor. The MOV connects to both the hot power line and the grounding line in order to redirect the current if needed. A whole house surge protector also includes a thermal fuse to prevent it from catching fire in the case that the voltage is too high for too long.
Unlike point-of-use surge protectors that you plug into the wall, a whole house surge protector is designed to withstand multiple hits and can last for years. Most power surges, including those from lightning last than a second, which is enough time to destroy all the appliances in a house, but not enough time to damage the surge protection system. If a series of surges occur that do damage the device and burn the fuse, an indicator light will come on to let you know that the surge protector is no longer working.
DITEK Surge Protection
At Palmer Electric, we use a high-quality surge protection system from DITEK for homes and businesses. Our device protects your home from surges of up to 50,000 kiloamps (kA), well above the 10,000 kA recommended minimum. We carry devices suitable for use with both 120/240V and 240/480V systems. Most importantly, they are UL approved and come with a 10 year warranty.
Point-of-Use Surge Protectors
It’s still important to use a point-of-use surge protector for sensitive electronics like your computer and TV. This is a device that looks like a power strip, but is slightly more expensive because it contains a mechanism to protect anything plugged into it from power surges.
A whole house surge protector is only activated when the current exceeds a certain amount. Meanwhile, a point-of-use surge protector protects your electronics from low voltage surges. These two types of surge protectors work together to protect your home’s appliances.
However, you should not use on a refrigerator, washing machine or dryer. These appliances have internal mechanisms that regulate temperature and that can be disrupted with a point-of-use surge protector. The whole house surge protector is designed to protect these larger appliances.
Lightning and Surge Protection
Palmer Electric has served Central Florida continuously since 1951. We provide professional surge protection installation in Orlando, FL. We will ensure that your home is properly grounded and the system is correctly installed, so that you and your appliances are protected during the next lightning storm. We also service Osceola, Seminole, Volusia, Brevard and Lake County for whole house surge protection. Contact us to set up an appointment, or call us at (407) 646-8700 for more information about surge protection installation.