An electrician has offered to supply and install a surge protector at the power panel as a costed option in a proposal for other, unrelated work. We have lived in this house for 25 years and have not experienced power surge damage to date.
Would you advise accepting the risk and saving $300 or paying the money to mitigate the risk of damage?
As it is not a code requirement, it is up to the homeowner whether they want to spend money and protect connected appliances and devices.
$300 is a fair price for a decent surge protector. Power Surges aren't always caused by lightning, your appliances do also create surges when they start like an A/C unit. I would definetly recommend having one. If you decide not getting one installed, check your home insurance policy to make sure you would be covered in the event you experience a power surge in your home.
You can look at it like road side assistance insurance, it's not mandatory, but you are so happy when it is there to save you. Although there is no monthly charge for the surge suppressor. If you are more interested in saving a few bucks, you can always buy a few power bar suppressors that can do the basic electronics, but the day your dishwasher or stove controls are fried, you'd wish you put it in for the whole house.
Not only would this provide protection for your electronics and devices, but it will also protect the many electrical systems through out the house. It is very cheap insurance should a time come where lightning or any other form of surge does occur.
If you decide to purchase the surge protector, ensure you check on the warranty for the connected devices, as well as checking the energy rating of the surge protector to see how much energy it can absorb before it fails.
Its also important that the surge protector has a LED light indicator light to show its in good working condition.
Hope this helps.
Money well spent. Ray brings up a great point, surge suppressors are made from sacrificial thyrisistors so you never know when you get a surge or how large it is, the LED lets you know when the thyrisisters are spent and it's time to replace, if it needs replacing, you just saved your electronics from being fried.
You can get surge supressors that protect your communications (cableview) and telephone system as well.
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