Basics on Surge Arrestors, Surge Suppressors and Lightning Protection

At Orange Electric, our primary concern when assisting you with any area of commercial or residential electrical service is safety. Whether we’re hooking up home wiring during a remodel, performing electronic repair on one of several appliances or even just performing routine maintenance, we’ll take steps to ensure you and anyone else in the structure is fully safe while also receiving high-quality power solutions.

In addition, there are a number of protective appliances we can assist you with if you’re concerned about certain parts of your home and electricity. Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions out there about these appliances, plus several confusion areas regarding their terms – in today’s blog, we’ll set the record straight and help you identify a few important appliances you may desire in your home or commercial building.

surge protector

Surge Arrester Vs. Surge Suppressor

Electrical surges are one prominent area you’ll want to stay protected from, both for the quality of your appliances and for the safety of building occupants. Sadly, though, even many electricians out there misuse or interchange some of the terms here, namely surge arresters versus surge suppressors. These are not the same thing – here’s what each does:

  • Surge suppressor: A surge suppressor is a device that blocks power surges and other voltage shocks. It does so by routing any excess power into the outlet or circuit grounding wire. Instead of a surge of electricity hitting your appliances and either damaging or destroying them, the surge is grounded and does no damage.
  • Surge arrestor: Surge arrestors are protectors against specific types of surges, such as a power grid surge for instance. They’re more of an external protector, where surge suppressors are more of an internal one.

Lightning Vs. Surge Arrester

After reading the above, you might be thinking that lighting arrestors are really just a form of surge arrestor – and you aren’t wrong. The difference, however, is that a lighting arrestor is there to detour electricity from a lightning strike away from the home and appliances, instead moving it toward safe ground where it can do no damage.

A surge arrestor, on the other hand, will intercept the surge from a lightning strike and send the energy into the grounding wire or another grounding area. Both devices, however, are used for this purpose and can be effective.

Which Do I Need?

Do you need a surge suppressor, surge arrestor, lightning arrestor or some other protective device in your home or building? These perform similar tasks, as we’ve noted. In general, it’s best to consult a professional electrician, who can assess your budget and protection needs and recommend the right appliance to help protect your structure.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our other electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.