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Thread: Q about grounding

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  1. #1
    DIY Member alleycat's Avatar
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    Default Q about grounding

    In our continuing effort to solve our power woes (our electronics keep getting zapped during storms) we finally got an electrician out who discovered that the pole at the street, which has a transformer, should have a line going from the box at the bottom into the ground but does not. This is interesting to me since we called the power company out last week and they told us everything was fine and we are expecting a bill from them for their service. The electrician will call the power company and get them to address this. He also will get us an estimate for a whole-house surge protector. So my question is whether this failure to have a ground wire at the pole was the likely culprit for our frequent power surges. As background, the house is 2.5 years old and we have always had power outages but recently started having things get fried (garage door openers, boiler Taco box, etc.)
    Thanks for any input--

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    You might want to compare the cost you are getting from the electrician to the cost you can buy one for and do it yourself.

    If you search that famous auction site for QO surge (check search title and description) you will find units that plug into a Square D QO main panel like a 2-pole breaker. I suspect that you can get one for less than $55 including shipping. It will take you about 10 minutes to install it in a panel.

    I have not searched for other brands but the price should be similar.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The things to check on surge suppressors are: response time (under 1ns is good); clamping voltage; amount of joules it can absorb; and some sort of indicator that it is still working (outside of the box so you can see it). It is also nice if they can suppress some line noise as well as the phone line and cable entries. The suppressor I bought for my home entertainment system can absort nearly 4000 joules to give you an indication. www.smarthome.com has some you can review to get an idea of what is out there; then you can search around for others and pricing.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    I have a definite bias against the famous auction site, but that is another story.

    BUT, over the last 18 months, there has been a major scandal involving counterfeit Square D breakers. Major national distributors were involved, unintentionally or not. You would have to assume that ANY Sqaure D on an internet site is counterfeit. Problem was, not only are they counterfeit, but of course they are lousy quality, and catch fire!

  5. #5
    DIY Member alleycat's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the info on the suppressors - I will definitely do some homework - does anyone have input on whether the lack of ground on the pole was causing us to get hit so often?

  6. #6
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alleycat
    Thanks all for the info on the suppressors - I will definitely do some homework - does anyone have input on whether the lack of ground on the pole was causing us to get hit so often?
    It's not at all likely. This has nothing to do with the power quality on the secondary side of the transformer.

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