Whole house surge protectors to the rescue!

Do you have an old house and a new TV? Consider a simple upgrade to protect expensive electrical components.

I was at a home inspection in Red Wing. Many of the outlets were three-prong. (That means there were three wires to the outlet; Black, white and green. The green wire is “ground”, and is only used as an emergency off-ramp for stray electricity.)

Many, however, were only two-prong. No ground.

No worries. A lot of plugs only have two wires, such as vacuum cleaners, phone chargers and lamps. As a home inspector, I know that this is common, because it’s hard to snake new wires to some of the outlets.

But I did want the buyers to be informed, so I warned them not to use “cheater” plugs, especially for devices such as surge protectors.

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“Without a ground wire, surge protectors don’t work. An expensive TV or computer could get damaged as a result of a power surge or spike.”

Later, the realtor told me that I frightened the buyers. She then did a little homework on her own, and learned some comforting news.

But first some more UN-comforting news; You know the surge protectors that also are a multi-outlet strip? They don’t work very well. Most of them offer protection for very small surges. And they don’t last a forever.

And they don’t protect the things that don’t have regular outlets, like AC units and furnaces.

This is a whole house surge protector from Eaton. It costs about $110 at Lowe’s

As it turns out, there are whole house protectors that are affordable and easy to install, right in your circuit panel. Not by you – If you learned anything from this blog, you are not qualified to do any work in an electrical panel. They cost from $80 to around $150, and might be able help lower your insurance rates as well.