Is Whole House Surge Protection Worth It?

Whole home surge protection Easton pa

If you’re asking yourself, “Is whole house surge protection worth it?” The truth is, there are many benefits of surge protection. In this article, we will dive into what surge protection is and why it’s important.

When weighing the pros and cons of whole house surge protectors versus traditional surge protectors, many people focus on the big, scary lightning strikes. These do happen, and should be protected against, but they’re not the full story.


Before we discuss the benefits of adding surge protection to your home, we need you to understand what a power surge is.  Basically a power surge is a dramatic power spike that typically lasts a millisecond, but delivers, at its worst, tens of thousands of volts that can fry almost everything in its path.  Most people think of lightning when they think of power surges.  And although lightning-induced surges are the most powerful, they are not the most common.  Most power surges happen from downed power lines, energy fluctuations at a local factory, or even from energy sucking devices within the home like hair dryers, air conditioners or vacuums.

Picture this:  Lightning strikes a utility pole sending a tidal wave of power through your house.  It fries the motherboard in your refrigerator, your dishwasher, a PC and an X-box.  It kills 6 dimmer switches and all of the GFCI switches in your house.  In less than a millisecond, this has caused thousands of dollars of damage.  What’s worse…sometimes the damage effects of a power surge aren’t immediate, then a year later, the microwave stops working for no reason (another $800).

whole house surge protector


Before delving into the advantages and disadvantages, let’s first understand what a whole house surge protector is. In appearance, it may not be visually captivating as it resembles a gray box mounted on the wall near your home’s electrical panel. However, its functionality is quite impressive. When it detects any irregularity in voltage, ranging from a lightning strike to even a minor surge of excess voltage, this device swiftly activates. Its purpose is to redirect the surplus voltage into the ground, preventing it from reaching your home’s electronics and safeguarding them against damaging voltage spikes. Unlike power strip surge protectors that can be used immediately after purchase, whole house surge protectors typically necessitate the expertise of a licensed electrician for proper installation.


Now, let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of whole house surge protectors:

  1. Advantage: Enhanced Surge Protection

According to NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), up to 80 percent of surges originate from within a building. These small surges can result from various factors such as loose wires, faulty appliances, static electricity, load switching, or even the operation of common devices like hair dryers or AC units. Over time, these seemingly minor surges can cause damage to electronics and shorten their lifespan.

While less common, high-surge events like lightning strikes or power surges from the utility can cause immediate and significant damage to electronics, as well as pose a fire risk to your home. Most power strip surge protectors offer low-level surge protection, effective for frequent small surges but inadequate during high-surge situations. Whole house surge protectors, however, provide effective protection against both types of surges.

If you live in an area prone to severe storms or frequent grid outages, investing in a whole house surge protector ensures comprehensive protection for all electronics and occupants in your home. However, it’s important to note that whole house surge protectors come at a higher cost, leading us to the next consideration.

  1. Disadvantage: Higher Cost

As mentioned earlier, surge protectors offer protection at the device level, while whole house surge protectors safeguard all connected electronics in your home.

If your primary concern is protecting specific devices, such as your computer or television, a surge protector is likely sufficient and cost-effective. Power strip surge protectors require no installation fees and can be purchased for an average price range of $15 to $50 per device. It’s worth investing in high-quality power strips to ensure reliable protection.

However, in today’s interconnected world, you may need multiple power strip surge protectors for various areas of your home, such as your home office, entertainment center, and bedroom. This can quickly add up to a significant cost, prompting the consideration of investing more in a whole house surge protector. The cost of purchasing and installing a whole house surge protector typically ranges from $200 to $700.

Moreover, power strip surge protectors cannot protect electronics that are directly wired to your electrical panel, such as HVAC systems, electric stoves, ovens, range hoods, washers, and dryers. These appliances can be the most expensive in your home, totaling a significant value. To protect these high-value electronics, whole house surge protection is necessary, as a single high-surge event can potentially destroy tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics.

  1. Advantage: Enhanced Peace of Mind

The final aspect to consider when evaluating the pros and cons of whole house surge protectors versus traditional surge protectors goes beyond financial considerations. It pertains to the human and emotional level. Some individuals are naturally more concerned about risks, while others are more tolerant of them.

Consider your own risk tolerance and the peace of mind you desire. Are you someone who prefers the reassurance of being insured against significant risks? These are personal questions that only you can answer.

In summary, whole house surge protectors provide superior surge protection, especially in areas prone to frequent surges or severe storms. However, they come with a higher cost compared to power strip surge protectors. The decision ultimately depends on your specific needs, the value of the electronics you want to protect, and your risk tolerance level.


If you’re still contemplating whether surge protection is a worthwhile investment, we invite you to reach out to GB Electric today. Our experts are ready to engage in a conversation with you, highlighting the vital importance of surge protection for your home.

Should you have any remaining inquiries about how surge protectors function or if you’d like to explore the various available models, GB Electric is your trusted source for all your electrical needs. We take pride in providing the most reliable electrical services in the Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton PA, and surrounding areas. Contact us now to schedule an appointment and benefit from our expertise!

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