Power Quality Fence

Different types of equipment require different types of protection. By constructing the proper barrier around your home equipment you can begin to develop a quality protection package.

Just as you install protective barriers around your home such as fences and locks to keep intruders out, or insulation to keep the cold or heat out, you must also build power quality fences around your home electrical equipment.

As with your home barriers, everything must be locked. It would be silly to put a dead bolt on your front door and then leave the windows wide open as you left on a vacation. When you got home the door would be securely locked and all of your possessions would be long gone. The same is true of your electrical equipment. Every avenue to the outside world must be protected - power, phone, cable, data and control lines must all be protected, or your equipment will be vulnerable to damage. The level of protection and where you install it varies with the type of equipment.

The main power entrance, the point where your power, cable and phone lines enter the house is where the protection should begin. By installing a high energy surge protection device at this location, you can knock down the first wave of high voltage surges entering your home from the outside world. Some local agencies require a similar device on the electrical service. Look for a round or triangular can sticking out of the side of your electric meter box. It would be one or two inches around.

You can have a lightning arrestor installed by an electrician on the service entrance, outside your home. Do not confuse this device with a lightning rod. Lightning rods are installed on your house to protect the house from physical damage in case of a direct hit. They won't protect your electrical equipment. The lightning arrestor is a device that helps divert damaging surges away from your electrical system and out through your ground rod. Without a lightning arrestor on your electrical system, the small plug-in surge suppressors installed at the outlet will not provide effective protection.

The cable TV line will probably enter your home at this location as well. (By the way, it's best to have all of your utilities enter your home at one point. By doing this, you can tie all of their ground connections together to form a single grounding system.) This is required by the National Electric Code in article 250, but it's often overlooked by cable installers. Unless all of your equipment ties into a single ground, protection against surges will not be as effective.