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Old 09-12-15, 08:45 AM   #1
doug30293
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Default It was a dark and stormy night...

As the storm approached I went around the house pulling plugs. It is a ritual here. I had just pulled the last electronic device when we got a close lightning strike.

I was standing next to an LED reading lamp when it doubled in brightness and went out. All the CFL's in the house survived.

New ritual: From now on I will make sure LED's are either off or disconnected from the wall.

I am going to replace the reading lamp bulb with another LED. The light they produce is easy on the eyes. Everything else will continue to be CFL until LED's become cheap enough to replace after each storm.

LED's should be rated in hours of life expectancy minus one good lightning strike. That's about one year in this part of the woods.

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Old 09-13-15, 11:36 PM   #2
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60 watt equivalent leds are 2.50 at my lowes now, cheap enough to be disposable. Anyone out there using a whole house surge protector? I'm seeing them at more and more supply houses, I'm guessing they're gaining in popularity.
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Old 09-15-15, 11:12 AM   #3
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I will check out Lowes next time we are over there. $2.50 is close enough to the price of CFL's to make it worth the swap.

I've had a whole house protector for about 15 years. It is probably worn out by now.

Telemechanique (I think it was them) did extensive research on surge protection about a decade ago. Their conclusion was that surge protection should be layered and distributed throughout a system.

An engineer at our local electrical cooperative agreed. They offer a service that includes a high level suppressor on the meter and several plugin units to place around the house. The price was reasonable but after the fight I had with the phone company over their worn out avalanche protectors I didn't feel comfortable with a monthly service that may not have been supported down the road.

We live on a large lake. The first year we were here we went through five or six phones, several modems, and a $600 fax machine. Cutting the phone line solved most of the problem.

The whole house protectors I've seen at the box stores are rather pitiful in terms of quality. Perhaps they are better now.

High end Trip-Lite computer surge protectors have been the best for me. I use one on my new electronic washing machine so it doesn't end up fried like my neighbor's machine.

The local appliance shop says the new washers and dryers are completely defenseless against lightning.
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Old 09-15-15, 12:44 PM   #4
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I have three Midnite Solar surge suppressors on my two solar arrays, and a different brand {I forgot what name now} on the outdoor part of my HVAC unit. I also have seperate surge protectors on my washing machine, all of our computer and entertainment system components and microwave oven. If I could find one to put on my stove and/or clothes dryer, I'd buy them in a heartbeat. Which reminds me, I need to pick up two more, I have a refrigerator and an upright freezer that could use them.

None of those surge protectors helped a year ago when there was a ground strike in my back yard. I still had to buy a new freezer and Enphase Envoy that were nuked, though.
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Old 09-16-15, 05:57 AM   #5
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I have a Leviton 51120-1 Panel Protector, shown here.
Had it installed two years ago. No idea if it saved me anything yet, but it gives me a little piece of mind. I'm trying to convince my parents to get one to protect their GSHP.
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Old 09-18-15, 01:45 AM   #6
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A friend had a new fridge and washing machine repaired, new circuit boards, according to repair man power surge was the culprit. Both are on surge protectors now.
I have been keeping my entertainment center on a ups with built in surge protection. In the past when I was home during a power failure I remember the power doing a quick on-off-on-off, it bugged me to see some of my favorite electronics pushed hard, hence the trip to the store for a ups. Regarding GSHP, something I have no experience with, I know water wells are often struck by lightning, it would seem gshp would be at similar risk.
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Old 09-07-16, 10:49 AM   #7
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I have installed a solar panel at the roof of my house. I have attached all my lights,fans and other electronic devices with it. I normally off all lights and devices if some storm comes here in my area.
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Old 09-07-16, 06:38 PM   #8
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I put one of these whole house on my main panel a year ago. We have been through several electrical storms since them and have been in two area wide power outages with the reulting start up surges. We have had no damage though my neighbors say they have not been so lucky so it does seem to be a worthwhile investment especially with all major appliance sporting circuit boards.

Leviton 120/240-Volt Residential Whole House Surge Protector-R02-51110-SRG - The Home Depot

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Old 09-07-16, 08:54 PM   #9
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Doug,

I strongly suggest checking your grounding system.

In any "electrical" storm, there are always going to be transient imbalances, sometimes in many thousands of volts, on the lines. Normally, a good ground rapidly (in micro to nano seconds) shunts these away to earth.

Get a mho meter - the inverse of an ohm meter. Check the conductivity of your ground system. Especially check the connection between your main circuit panel and real ground. You want millions of mhos (lots of conductivity). The units are Siemens/meter (or mhos). An ohm meter cannot measure this.

A single ground rod meets "code" - connected with solid core AWG 4 copper; the minimum. I always place 2 or even 3 ground rods a few feet apart and feet them with a continuous length of AWG 4 braided copper. The braid is FAR better at conducting very short transients (high frequency) that tend to use the surface effect as a conductor. The braid has a huge surface area compared to the equivalent size AWG single conductor.

Truth be known, I have used the copper braid from old RG-8 coax as a good grounding cable and it works very well. Strip off the outer insulation, pull out the inner foam insulator and conductor and you have a great tube of braided copper. It also solders very well (another way to get a higher mho value).

I spent a lot of time as a biomedical engineer in hospitals tracking down exactly these things (blown equipment, etc). Almost always bad grounds.

Only after that do I put in sacrificial MOSFETS (that is what "surge" protectors are).

Sometimes the ground wire "looks" good to the eye - but the mho meter doesn't lie . . . .

Let us know what you find.




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Old 09-07-16, 11:20 PM   #10
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Steve,
Where do you find one of these meters? I was looking at Fluke and found this....The Mho that become the siemens 1/R

You got me wondering now about my grounding......

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