How to Install a Whole-House Surge Protector?

A whole-house surge protector is a device that protects your home from power surges and lightning strikes. 

It’s an essential piece of equipment to have for any homeowner because it can help prevent damage to electrical appliances, such as dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, and more.

The most common type of surge protector plugs into the wall behind the electric panel or directly into a circuit breaker box near the service panel. 

The other option is called “in-line protection,” which involves installing a power strip between two pieces of equipment to plug into the same outlet on the power strip. Still, only one appliance will be affected if there is a problem with either part of the electronics.

Surge Protector: What is it?

Surge protectors are devices that can keep your electrical items safe from power surges. When a surge or spike above the designated level is detected, it redirects electricity to metal oxide varistors inside the device to protect against sudden spikes in electric voltage. It minimizes damages caused by these unexpected events. 

You may have seen them before: they look like little black boxes with several outlets on each side- some models even come preinstalled right into your wall! They offer you peace of mind knowing that all those expensive electronic items plugged into them will be kept safe from harm.

How Does a Whole House Surge Protector Work?

Whole house surge protectors work much the same way but are built to withstand many power surges for many years. The best whole house surge protector also protects all appliances and devices from the electrical panel. It’s wired too! 

Whole house surge protection is intelligent because they keep your sensitive electronics, valuable appliances safe from damage caused by an electrical storm or other cause for a sudden change in voltage flow.

Installing Whole House Surge Protector

Many manufacturers recommend hiring a professional electrician to install your whole house surge protector. This is for a good reason, as accessing the main power panel box for your house can be dangerous. 

Even when the main power switch is off, there are still live wires in the box that could cause electrocution and even death. However, despite these risks, you may want to take on this task yourself if it’s not too much trouble or expense because of any number of reasons:

  • Saving money by installing everything at once instead of doing individual systems one by one.
  • Wanting more control over how things get wired up.
  • Having an interest in electrical work (which admittedly has its dangers like all other trades).

But whoever installs it will need access to where electricity.

You will feel better about your home and family when you install a whole-house surge protector. Here’s how to do it!

Here’s a list of tools needed to install a primary panel surge protector.

How to Mount the Surge Protector on the Main Panel Box

Step 1. Turning off the main power

As a safety precaution, before you start on your home improvement project, make sure to turn the main power switch outside of the electric panel box off. 

This will stop all electricity from flowing and prevent any dangerous accidents like electrocution or fires. Once you’ve made sure that it is safe by using a voltage detector, check if there are breakers in front of each breaker slot for turning them back on safely when needed later.

Do not touch the live wires! Take this time to make sure that your surge protector is set up correctly if you’re going to do it yourself. If you don’t feel confident about doing so, call an electrician for a consultation before making any connections.

Step 2. Mounting the surge protector

You can easily create a hole for your surge protector’s wires by gently knocking the side of it with your fist. Once you make an opening, insert one end of the wire and guide them to their destination on the front side to connect everything. 

Securely screw up any holes left behind using a drill or screwdriver before turning back around, so you’re ready for installation!

Mounting your surge protector outside the panel will give you easy access to it and allow for maximum protection of all plugged devices. Safety is a priority, so make sure to read through installation instructions before installing anything!

Finish Installing a Whole House Surge Protector

A whole-house surge protector has four wires for you to connect within the panel box.

  • Green wire = Ground
  • White wire = Neutral
  • 2 Black wires = Complete the circuit

Step 3. Strip the surge protector wires

You need to place the wire end into a part of the stripper that reads 14 AWG. This way, you won’t scar up your cable with too small a strip gauge and reduce the effectiveness of the surge protector.

  • Connect the green wire to the ground bus bar on the right
  • Connect the neutral white wire to the neutral bus bar on the right (among the other white wires)
  • Connect the two black wires to a dipole circuit breaker and mount it close to the main power wires

Step 4. Replace the panel cover and test

Once you’ve connected your wires, replace the panel cover carefully (make sure not to flip any breakers). Replace the four main screws of the panel and then any other screws. 

Please make sure there are no gaps or spaces between them while replacing these few parts. Afterward, it’s safe for you to turn on your main breaker again! 

Flip that dipole switch after connecting two black wire leads from its circuit board with a screwdriver. Check if lights or digital displays show as instructed in the owner’s manual now; surge protector will work appropriately before power can flow through safely without risk of damage anymore.

What are the benefits of a whole-house surge protector?

Lightning is a severe problem for many electronics, but it isn’t the only thing that can cause power surges. 

The list includes anything generating electricity like microwaves and other appliances with an electronic circuit board in them – even if they’re not plugged into any outlets! Talk to your electrician about how you might prevent this from happening at home or on-site by installing surge protectors where needed.

Damaging power surges on the grid are common even when there isn’t lightning around. It doesn’t take much of a surge to wipe out delicate electronics, and it often costs as much to replace an electronic circuit board as it does buy a new device – which is why everyone should have whole-house surge protectors installed. 

Those who live in rural areas are particularly vulnerable, especially if you happen to be situated near the end of your property’s power line (which means that any electrical disturbance has nowhere else but into your house).

Your friends will be able to help you out if something goes wrong with your house, but it’s essential that they can get inside without any issue. 

That is why installing a whole-house surge protector like the Square D No. SDSB1175C ($300) or hiring an electrician for $175 makes sense to protect all electronics and appliances throughout your home from potential damage due to power surges caused by storms, faulty wiring, or downed lines outside (in some cases). 

However, options are available for those who want control over their project; DIY installation costs around $200-$250 depending on what tools you already have at hand and how many wires need protection, so keep this option in mind before choosing!

What you need to know is that surge protection can save your appliances from damage. Damage most often occurs during a power outage, but whole house surge protection prevents this problem before it even starts. 

Furthermore, the chances are high that your insurance will not cover the cost of damages incurred due to surges in electricity. They usually come with an extra price tag – which would be worth paying only for peace of mind!

About Blake Sutton

Blake has worked as an electrician for over 10 years, receiving his Journeyman Electrician license in 1998. Looking to take his professional electrical career further, in 2008 he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of Texas in Austin. Blake now works full time as an electrical engineer, specializing in power systems.