Whole-house surge supressors


I'm in thunderstorm alley here in Northeast Kansas. We moved two years ago about 10 miles outside the city and last year during storm season we had a lot of "ghost" activity with our X10 modules. Lightning activity caused lights to turn on in the middle of the night and re-set many of my Lamplinc/Switchlinc modules back to factory defaults, and even fried a couple of the cheapy X10 wall switches I had.

We had our first good storm of the year last week and three Lamplinc modules on the same circuit all did their re-set thing. I don't want to spend my spring and summer reprogramming things every week this year so I'm looking at putting in a whole-house surge suppressor as a possible solution.

I've looked at these products at Smarthome:


Any feedback on these? Has anyone installed these for similar issues and had the problems disappear as a result?

I'm open to other products and vendors, the Smarthome links are just my starting point.

Thanks for any responses,

I have the Panamax version. I didn't have problems prior to installing (we just moved in), but I installed it as "cheap insurance" for all the stuff I planned on installing. No problems since installing - but I have no idea if it's doing it's job or not... I just assume it is (both lights are still on).
I looked into this when I last moved. After speaking with two electricians, they both just recommended the $50 one that goes in the panel. I referenced these units but they did not seem to see any need for it.

The most popular one we sell the the Leviton one. Works pretty well and provides a areasonable amount of protection.
I have a similar leviton unit (51120-PTC) . . . but it adds phone and cable protection as well . . . highy recommend it . . .

Pete C

I love my country, but fear my government.
Thanks for all the responses so far guys, seems mostly positive.

Martin, sent you an email.

Hey Pete, is that PTC model 2-way compliant? I have cable modem service and HDTV and occasionally purchase a movie through the PPV service on my cable box. I like the idea of having phone and cable protected too, though...

I also live in NE Kansas and just wanted to point out that KCP&L will install whole house surge suppressor at the line for like $5 a month. That includes a pretty nice warranty package if anything is damaged.

If there was a $100 solution that was easy to install I would say go for it, but if you have to pay an electrician and the such, I am sure the payoff would be too long to justify not just using the power companies.

While we are talking about the power company, they will also give you a FREE $300 termostat for free, installed to help lower your bills. I am not taking this option because I want to interface to my little HA app, but for most people, it would be a good deal.

Definitly log onto KCP&L's web site and check out their options. Their reporting features are pretty nice too.

several other whole house surge protector (TVSS) devices including mine which I bought from APC and installed myself were discussed on this thread. Its important to keep the lead lengths as short as possible on these things... Interestingly, square D makes one that installs as and looks just like a QO style double breaker.
ver0776 said:
I also live in NE Kansas and just wanted to point out that KCP&L will install whole house surge suppressor at the line for like $5 a month. That includes a pretty nice warranty package if anything is damaged.
Be sure to read the fine print on the warranty. I don't think you can count on a whole house unit as your only line of defense.

I put mine in primarily to protect hard-wired automation switches and major appliances while still using quality point-of-use surge devices for audio/video equipment, computers, and automation controllers. Monster makes some decent units for A/V stuff and Price Wheeler has a "Brick Wall" series mode protector that I use in front of Computer UPS units. For low voltage serial lines and such, be sure to use products based on avalanche diodes rather than MOVs.