Have you experienced a power surge recently? Maybe it was just a quick, isolated moment, but even a small surge through your wiring can have huge consequences on your electronics.

A power surge (also known as a “voltage surge” or “transient voltage”) might only last a millisecond but, at its most destructive, it can carry tens of thousands of volts, enough to cause serious harm to your home. Over time, these spikes in voltage can compromise the performance and shorten the lifespan of essential electronics and appliances. Longer, more intense surges can wipe out anything connected to your electrical system.

Whole-house surge protection devices (SPDs) can help safeguard your home from power surges of any size. They are connected to the highest point of an electrical panel (where the feed comes in) and located right next to the box for easy accessibility. You can also buy a modern electrical panel with surge protection already installed.

Surge protection devices come in two main forms — plug-in power strips used inside and whole-home devices installed at the electrical panel. It’s a good idea to combine both methods of surge protection, especially for your sensitive and expensive devices and appliances.

Should I Get Whole-Home Surge Protection?

If you currently don’t have a whole-house surge protector, there are several good reasons to invest in one:

Most Surges Are Generated Internally

While lightning is the most dangerous cause of a power surge, it’s not the most common. Most power surges originate inside the home when a large appliances switches on and off. Other common surges come from the electric utility company during power grid switching. Over time these power fluctuations have a cumulative effect on electronics, causing them to malfunction or even break down prematurely.

Technology Protection

Many of today’s electronics have microprocessors, whose sensitive components can be damaged by even low-voltage surges. Computers, televisions, HVAC systems, washing machines, and more are built with these sensitive components.

More and more households are also using energy-saving LED bulbs, which also contain small circuit boards that can be destroyed by a surge. Our electrical devices are getting smaller and more delicate. Smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices contain valuable information and should be protected. If it’s plugged into an unprotected circuit, at any moment a surge can damage or destroy it.

Electrical System Protection

By protecting your home from power surges that enter your electrical panel, you are protecting your entire electrical system from powerful surges. It also helps protection your phone and cable lines.

Instead of using plug-in, point-of-use surge protectors all over your home, the whole-home SPD safeguards every receptacle. Use plug-in surge strips for your most sensitive and expensive electronics and appliances.

System Options

Most homes in the United States have 120-volt electrical service, alternating current. When considering whole-home surge protection options, speak with a qualified electrician. Each electrical system should be thoroughly inspected before deciding on the right SPD.

There are many different SPDs available that use a variety of technologies, including:

Metal oxide varistor (MOV)
Transient voltage suppression (TVS)
Thyristor surge protection device (TSPD)
Gas discharge tube (GDT)
Selenium voltage suppressor
Carbon block spark gap overvoltage suppressor
Quarter-wave coaxial surge arrestor
Series mode (SM) surge suppressors

Since the methods have their strengths and weaknesses, many surge protectors employ multiple technologies. Speak with the knowledgeable electricians at OnTime Service for more information on the different types of SPDs and how much surge protection is needed.


Most whole-house surge protectors are very affordably priced, costing around $300. That’s not much when you consider the tens of thousands of dollars of damage a single surge could cause. The typical electrical surge insurance claim exceeds $10,000 (Angies List).

The Value of Whole-House Surge Protectors

Although whole-home surge protection won’t protect your electrical devices from damage caused by water, it will protect all of your appliances from getting damaged by electrical surges cause by lightning!

If lightning strikes your home or an area around it, a surge may go through your electrical system and anything that is plugged in may get damaged or destroyed.

After nearly every major storm, we receive calls from distressed customers who have had this happen to them. Nobody expects it to happen to them, until it does. And in fact, every home with an electrical system experiences small electrical spikes and surges every single day.

Don’t waste your hard-earned money on replacing expensive electronics and appliances. It could all be prevented with whole-house surge protection.

Whole-house surge protection devices are essential for homeowners who want to ensure their appliances and electronics are kept safe. For more information on whole-home surge protection, contact OnTime Service, faithfully serving the Birmingham area since 1975.


Contact OnTime Service at (205) 942-1405 to schedule your surge protection consultation.