A surge protector is a device that diverts excess voltage that would otherwise flow into your home’s wiring. This protects your electronics from damage, including burnouts and electrical fires.
Surges can occur for a number of reasons, including lightning strikes or downed power lines. But the vast majority of them come from within your house. Often, these “switching” surges are created by major appliances like air-conditioners and heat pumps that cycle on and off.
The problem is that the wires that carry electricity in your house are not always designed to withstand a sudden, large spike of voltage. Rather, they can experience a gradual buildup of pressure over time. This pressure can cause the wires to wear out, resulting in damaged electrical equipment and costly repair bills.
In order to avoid this, you need to install a surge protector on the electrical panel in your home. This is typically done by a licensed electrician.
Step 1: Turn Off Your Main Breaker Box
Before you start a project like this, make sure that you have all of your circuit breakers turned off. This will help you ensure that you aren’t putting your life at risk by putting a live wire into the surge protector or the breaker box.
Remove any screws or other hardware that are blocking the opening in your breaker box. You can do this with a pair of pliers.
Next, strip the insulation from all of the wires coming out of the surge protector and insert them into the knockouts on the side of the surge protector (photo 1). Don’t forget to fully insert the cable clamp into the hole.
Once the wires are in place, you can mount the surge protector. The instructions that came with the surge protector should show you how to do this. You can also consult with the manufacturer if you don’t have any specific instructions.
Step 2: Thread the Wires into Your Pediment or Panel
Once you have stripped the ends of the wires, route the green (ground) and white (neutral) wires from the surge protector to the nearest screw terminals on your neutral bus. Keep the wires as short as possible, so they don’t take up too much space in your breaker panel.
Depending on the type of surge protector that you have, you may need to install an additional device, such as a thermal fuse. This can be a more involved installation, so it’s recommended that you leave this to the professionals.
Step 3: Connect the Wires to Your Pediment or Panel
The final step in installing a surge protector is to connect the wires to your pediment or panel. You will need to use a wire tester to make sure that the wires are not live, so you can safely insert them into your surge protector.
Once the wires are inserted into your pediment or panel, you can secure them using the screws that come with the surge protector. You can also use an extension cord if you’re short on time.