How to Install a Surge Protector

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Circuit tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutter
Materials Required
  • Panel Guard Surge Protector device

Before You Begin

This is a project best left to a licensed electrician, who has the skill and experience to do the job, along with the knowledge of local electrical building code requirements. If you want this done once, and done right, hire an electrician. Click Home Advisor, a free referral service that connects homeowners with local prescreened contractors.

Below is what's involved making the installation.

Turn off electricity to the circuit panel. Carefully read and understand all the installation steps before you begin to install a surge protection device. Do not touch electric circuits or devices when you are wet or standing on a wet surface. Use a circuit tester or AC voltmeter to be sure the electricity is "Off " before you touch wires or devices. Also, check your local electrical codes to find out if there are specific requirements for installing a surge protection device.

If there is not a main power shut "Off" (master switch) do not attempt the work. Call a licensed electrician.

These instructions for installing a Panel Guard Surge Protector device made by Intermatic, provide an overview of what's involved.

  • Step 1 : Select a mounting location

    Find a location for the device that allows for a convenient connection to the circuit panel while keeping the lead wires as short as possible. Use a circuit tester or AC voltmeter across two breaker outputs to confirm that there is 240 volts between them. If the voltage is 0, select a different breaker of equal amperage.

  • Step 2 : Select the mounting for the protector at the panel

    Turn the main breaker or shut off switch to the "Off" position. Use the circuit tester or AC voltmeter to be sure the circuits are turned off. Carefully remove the trim panel. Choose and remove the desired knockout through which the device wiring will enter into the breaker panel. Try to select a knockout that will allow you to use the shortest possible length of wire between the protector and the circuit breakers.

  • Step 3 : Install the device

    Install the device by inserting the wire and the threaded connector into the hole you knocked out in the breaker panel. Secure it with the locknuts provided.

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