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Thread: Help installing whole house surge suppressor

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    Default Help installing whole house surge suppressor

    Hey all just had a quick question and wondering if anyone could help. I would like to install a whole house surge suppressor for my home. My question is this, I do not have a grounding bar at the electrical panel just a neutral bar. Is it ok to connect the neutral and ground from the surge suppressor to the nuetral bar? Would this diminish the protection that this device offers? Thanks for any help or suggestions.

  2. #2
    DIY Member bsperr's Avatar
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    I would think that's ok. If you don't have a ground bar in your panel, I would guess that's becauce you're main bonding jumper is in that panel and you don't have to keep your neutral and grounding conductors isolated. Do the grounding conductors for all of the other circuits connect to the neutral bus bar? Do have a disconnect on the outside of your house or in your meter pan?
    Last edited by bsperr; 08-13-2010 at 09:26 AM.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Do you have 3-prong outlets in the house, or only two? Are there both neutral and ground wires connected to the same bus bar? On a sub-panel, they need to be separate, but on the main panel, they are bonded together, so, I don't think it will be a problem. Most of the whole house surge suppressors require dedicated breakers (ideally, one 220vac one to ensure you get both legs of the supply).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
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    Well forgive my ignorance I will try to answer as best as I can I am by no mean a pro electrician but have had to become familiar with wiring stuff. I don't think we have a disconnect per se, I know on newer panels there is a main circuit breaker that can be turned on or off. My box just has two huge bus bar fuses coming from the meter into the electrical box that can be pulled out to disconnect power. As far as all the grounds connecting to the neutral bar that I am not sure of. An electrician had to come over and fix few a few outlets here and there and he mentioned the house had no ground since it was older. I have had to replace a few switches around the house and there is no ground wire in the wall just the black and white wires. Not sure if this answers the questions or not. The reason I even wanted to install this was because the electrician mentioned since I had no ground a surge could damage appliances and electronics.

  5. #5
    DIY Member bsperr's Avatar
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    I was thinking you had a grounding conductor in your setup, so most of what I said doesn't apply. You may want to contact the manufacturer of the surge protector you're considering to find out for sure.

  6. #6
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    What if I install a grounding rod and connect it to the surge suppressor would this suffice or just create more problems? I was looking at a leviton model and was told by their tech support that it had to be grounded.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If there is no ground coming from the input power cable run, a surge suppressor won't perform its job well - it needs a path to discharge or redirect the surge currents. Putting it on the neutral might not be a good idea, and the device's operation may be impacted. Functionally, I don't think a ground stake would cut it from a safety or operational viewpoint, but will defer to those that know for sure.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    Electrical Contractor Bobelectric's Avatar
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    At this point.you might want to get a pro to install.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member Wrex's Avatar
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    On modern panels the neutral from the pole transformer center tap and the ground wire (connected to a grounding rod on your property) are bonded (joined together) in the main panel. It's normal to see the ground wires and neutrals on the same bus bar at the main panel only. Any sub panels must keep the ground and neutral wires separate.

    Whole house suppressors are connected to both power phases and to ground.

    Based on what you're saying you'll need an electrician to sort out this rats nest. The panel sounds ancient and should be replaced.

    I'm surprised an insurance company would insure a fuse box in this day and age.
    Last edited by Wrex; 09-05-2010 at 10:29 AM.
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