Member Needs Help – Surge Protection

Mike,

We've got a personal problem you may be able to help with. My significant other girlfriend had her house (an older home) hit by lightning, frying her phone, answering machine and negatively affecting her computer (to what extent, no one really knows yet). So now she's into Surge protection.

She went out yesterday and bought a BELKIN "SurgeMaster" surge protector that protects to the tune of around 2655 joules. It has 6 outlets, 1 phone line "in" and 2 "outs." This protection device has an indicator light that is supposed to shine when grounding is present. Instead, the light flickers briefly and then goes off.

The guarantee on the product implies that the consumer is entitled to up to $250K in damage insurance if the device is used on a grounded circuit.

My questions are these:

  1. What is a safe amount of protection (in joules) for your home appliances and how does anyone know for sure (given the variations possible when you're dealing with lightning) what a safe amount of protection would be?

  2. Would this "Surgemaster" device provide a reliable means to test grounding, and if it is reading correctly, does that mean the outlet is not grounded?

  3. Finally, if someone does have to come out and run ground for the outlet, isn't it possible to install surge protection at the service to protect the electrical equipment?

Mike Holt’s Comment: Please only answer this questions if you truly understand surge protection.

Copyright © 2003 Mike Holt Enterprises,Inc.
1-888-NEC-CODE (1-888-632-2633)