By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A voltage strike can cause a tremendous amount of damage, not to mention inconvenience, to sensitive home electronics. Appliances, computers, televisions and countless other home electronics are sensitive to voltage spikes caused by lightning and other power surges traveling over power lines. You can protect your valuable equipment by adding a surge-protection device to the circuit breaker. When a surge occurs, the device responds within nanoseconds, grounding the destructive energy. When wired into your system, it absorbs excess voltage and allows only normal voltage to pass through to your equipment.
An electrician charges $274 to install a 24-hour surge-protection device with main breaker panel capacities up to 400 amps. This includes labor and material. The device is installed next to the breaker panel and requires two dedicated 15-amp circuit breakers. If you have experience working on electrical projects, you can buy the device and breakers for $95 and install them, saving 65 percent. Even considering the savings, 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.
When you’re connecting a home computer system to a surge protector make sure all the components are included. If you don’t a power surge can pass through the unprotected device and get to all the other ones. Look to the manufacturer’s information for a diagram about how and where to connect them to a surge protector.
Tip: Whenever you do any electrical work, turn the main circuit breaker off, but remember even though it's off, there is still power inside the main panel.
CNET has this advice 9 Things You Should Know About Surge Protectors.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to install a surge protector you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2018
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.