Whole house surge protectors

So I’m not well equipped to evaluate my needs when it comes to a whole house surge protector.

But I’m wondering for those that have installed them, what were you looking for?

How would you choose between these two?



I have the EATON one. Installed it two years ago after my Leviton one gave up after 15 years of use.


I have the Eaton unit. However, the specs on the Siemens unit are slightly better:

Clamping voltage:
L-L: 900V (Siemens) vs 1000V (Eaton)
L-G: 600V for both
L-N: 600V for both
N-G: 600V (Siemens) vs 800V (Eaton)

Surge capacity:
140KA (Siemens) vs 108KA (Eaton)

They are both Type 2 SPDs with outdoor rated enclosures.

Neither one is going to protect from a direct lightning hit. The Eaton unit has apparently protected my house when indirect surges have taken out my neighbor's TVs, TiVOs, and things like that. And I have lost stuff to storms in pre-surge protector times.

That being said, I have multiple surge protection units - the Eaton at the main outdoor panel, an in-wall Leviton unit at the main indoor panel, Intermatic units at the A/C compressor and at the air-handler, Leviton in-wall units for all major appliances (both fridges, all TVs, microwave, etc. etc.), and a Chamberlain plug-in surge protector for the garage door opener.

We get a lot of lightning storms along the Gulf Coast. I lost some stuff to lightning a long time ago and this was a reaction to that :crazy_face:


This might be what I’m looking for.

Installing at my main breaker panel in the basement is ideal.

The Eaton unit can also be installed in-wall/indoors, with a flush-mount kit. The specs on it are better than the Leviton unit. Here's a link to the flush mount kit:

1 Like

Does that require an electrician or, if you can install a light switch, you can install one of those surge protectors?

I’ve installed Type 2 SPDs, with the main breaker off (or relevant breaker off). I would use an electrician for a Type 1 SPD.


I’ll have to consider these for the mini-split system with indoor air handlers and outdoor compressor units!

1 Like

Thank you. I just watched Scott Caron from This Old House install one and it looked pretty simple (as long as all of the power is off). He didn't say which type it was.


I installed the siemens unit myself a few months ago. It's not difficult but you need to feel comfortable wrong in a live panel moving breakers around. The instructions were very good.


I really recommend the Siemens FS140. It has 3 stages protection and you don't need a high amperage breaker like the Eaton.
3 stages protection is quite important when it comes to IOT since we want to protect small surges and not just high current surges.


I would suggest the FS140 as well:

  1. Higher Amp rating, although I'm not sure this is an actual indication of ability to protect.
  2. Indicators of protection status. For a large surge, these protectors are sacrificial.

My guess is that either one will protect about the same amount. I'm not convinced the ratings are an indication of one performing better than the other. Things like how fast or how high or how long the surge is could make one better than the other. However you will never know what you are going to get in the way of the surge.

In either case you should install it as close to the main breaker as possible. The longer the wire, the more of the initial fast spike will get through.

As for the high or low amperage breaker requirement. Specifying a lower amperage breaker just means they figure the breaker being a slow device will not react until after the surge is over.... perhaps, but I would personally feel better with a larger breaker.

One also has to consider the likely hood of a disastrous surge. I've lived here for 30+ years and have never lost anything to a lighting surge.
My parents would get a damaging surge maybe once every 4 to 5 years.

Installation. If someone is relatively good with tools I think they can install one of these. I would recommend getting a good flashlight and opening the main breaker before starting. It would make all wiring below the main breaker safe to touch. Triple check the wiring before returning the main breaker to on.


I also have the eaton. the electrician who installed it for me recommended it because it's the only one that indicates when it's no longer capable of protecting you.

Welcome to Hubitat!

FWIW, I have the Eaton too. However, the Siemens unit also indicates when it is no longer protecting. As does every other unit from my post further up in this thread.


How does this work? I couldn’t find a description of it.

I purchased an Intermatic IG2240-IMSK. Kind of expensive, but it has replaceable modules.


It too indicates protection status.


1 Like

I like that design.

1 Like

I should take a pic. Its a bit smaller than it appears in the pics on the Intermatic site. I've got it mounted on the wall, and the conduit run to my main panel, but I need to take power down to the main to move some things around and squeeze the double 30 into the panel at the top....its just a pain to do! :slight_smile:

1 Like

I think the 3 stages are referring to the indicators.

1 Like

After reading the other posts and doing some internet research I believe the best decision would be to get the one that is easiest to install in you equipment. All the companies are more than capable of producing a good product. I think from a protection it doesn't matter.

Having said that, I personally would not choose the Intermatic. I don't like any more connections in my protection path than is absolutely necessary.

1 Like

Download the Hubitat app