Beautiful colonial style house at sunset

What is a Whole House Surge Protector?

Your home is filled with electronic devices. Blenders, televisions, microwaves, computers, you name it. Guarding those devices from a surge in a storm is important—but what are your options? And what is the difference between a surge protector and a whole house surge protector?

A lightning strike from miles away can send a dangerous surge of electricity into your home, causing irreparable damage to appliances and electronics that are plugged in to outlets. So, what can you do?

You’ve probably heard of a surge protector. They are strips of outlets that help guard appliances and electronics from a surge in a storm. The idea of a whole house surge protector certainly conjures up some curious imagery. If we told you it was a giant trailer-sized surge protector that had to be airlifted in, would you believe us?

Well, don’t!

It’s actually a small device. So small it can fit in your breaker box. But what do they actually do? Do they really give whole house coverage? There’s debate over the efficiency of a whole house surge protector and whether it actually diverts a surge from reaching the outlets in your home where thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics and appliances are plugged in.

In theory, when excessive voltage passes through the device, which is professionally installed in your breaker box, the surge is instantly diverted to a ground wire instead of reaching the electronics and appliances you have plugged in. This would save you from purchasing dozens of point-of-use surge protectors that plug in to the wall for every room in your home. Sounds good, right?

The problem is, these devices are often designed to let in surges that don’t reach a certain voltage—surges that can still do damage. A whole house surge protector often won’t kick in until high-enough voltage enters the device.

Bottom line: whole house surge protectors are good for helping to protect your home from a power surge, but they are not a cure-all. Used in conjunction with point-of-use surge protectors, you’ll certainly lower the risk of a surge affecting appliances and electronics—but it’s never guaranteed.  We recommend using both a whole house surge protector as well as a point-of-use protector to ensure that you’re home, and all of your gadgets, are safe and secure from Mother Nature’s fury.

Want to learn more about guarding your home from a surge? Click here to learn how to protect your gadgets from power fluctuations.