Residential Surge Protection

Residential Surge Protection

Created by: Glen Zhu | Updated Date: December 04th, 2023

Surge Protection for Residential, Whole House and Home

Lightning and surge protection for residences are essential nowadays. Single-family houses are digitized, and featured with widespread integration of smart systems.

Staying in a consistently comfortable room with a delighted temperature, or having a 24-hour housekeeper to help monitor and control the whole house, these are the power of digital systems that make it real but danger is lurking. Surges could enter the house from outside via electric cables and damage our sensitive electric equipment.

Our houses will become increasingly smart and independent. Future buildings will be power generating plants, producing and storing electricity for their use or feeding it into the grid. Today, many single-family houses have already used environment-friendly sources of solar energy to generate electricity for different purposes.

The value of high-end home appliances and property plays an essential role in maintaining the safety of the entire home as an investment for the future or retirement.

This means our houses are no longer a dwelling but a complex living system which must be reliable. To ensure this system functions well, the first matter is how to prevent lightning strikes and power surges. That’s why residential lightning and surge protection is compulsory.

Single-family houses without external lightning protection

Figure 1 – Surge protection for a single-family house with an isolated lightning protection system of an antenna

An antenna is installed with an isolated lightning protection system instead of earthing directly, which can help mitigate ground loops and interference. Directly grounding an antenna can sometimes result in ground potential differences that may induce unwanted currents and interference in connected equipment. Now the risk of damage to sensitive electronic devices is reduced by installing an isolated lightning protection system.

Single-family house with external lightning protection

An earthing system is the foundation of the residential lightning protection, ensuring safe operation of the entire service life of the residence. Comprehensive lightning protection equipped with lighting rods, down conductors, and a grounding system can stand huge direct strikes, preventing damage from outside (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Surge protection for a single-family house with external lightning protection

The system promises the equipotential bonding, the lightning currents would be discharged into the ground safely. The likelihood of side flashes is cut down with the help of the well-designed grounding system.

Lightning strikes not only conduct impulse currents but can cause surges. Whether a single-family house with an external lightning system or not, the potential of the earth electrode rises and surges are injected into the single-family house.

This cannot be prevented by earthing the antenna mast according to the standard and establishing equipotential bonding for the coaxial shields. Therefore, residential surge protection devices must be installed.

Surge protection for single-family houses

Power Supply

The power supply to single-family houses is a critical aspect of modern living, providing the essential energy needed to operate appliances, lighting, heating, cooling, and various electronic devices. A stable and reliable power supply is of paramount importance for the functionality and comfort of households.

SPDs for Low-voltage power supply are the first step to protect our high-quality electronic devices from power surges.

At the entrance of the building, Type 1+2 AC SPD FLP12.5 series are mounted which protects the electrical installations in the immediate vicinity. Suitable surge protection devices depend on the system configuration.

Type 2 surge protectors are installed in sub-distribution boards against surges caused by inductive coupling, remote lightning strikes, and switching over-voltages. It must be installed downstream of the meter. Thus, the smart meter and smart meter gateway are not protected.


With the maturity of E-charging technology, electrical cars are seen in more and more residence. E-charging process should take the safety of electricity into account. Surge protectors are recommended to protect the charging vehicles from lightning damage.

The protective devices must be installed as close as possible to the organ of the electrical installation according to IEC 60364 443/-534. It is the common practice to install the Type 1 SPD upstream of the meter which meets the normal requirements. The data and communication lines are also protected to ensure the permanent effective protection current.

The SPD not only protects the whole house installation but also the charging devices for electrical mobility. This means both charging posts and electrical vehicles are protected during the charging process.

Protection concept for a wall box in a single-family house with cable length < 10 meters

Figure 3 – Surge protection for a wall box in a single-family house with cable length < 10 meters

The condition is cable length between the main distribution box and the wall box is less than 10 meters. Type 1+2 surge protector is sufficient. No additional surge protection is required.

But what to do when the cable length between the main distribution box and the wall box is over 10 meters?

Protection concept for a wall box in a single-family house with cable length > 10 meters

Figure 4 – Surge protection for a wall box in a single-family house with cable length > 10 meters

This means wall boxes and vehicles are located outside the protected range. Additional surge protection is required to prevent the damage caused by over-voltages. The 10-meter rule also applies to data and communication lines.

Type 2 AC SPD SLP40-275/1+1 is installed directly in the wall box or an insulating enclosure directly from the charging.

PV system

Modern houses make full use of solar energy to generate electricity to cover the daily energy demand. PV modules are installed on the roof to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity.

The electricity could be used to power a heat pump for heating and cooling purposes, if equipped with battery storage, excess electricity generated during the day can be stored in these batteries for use during periods of low sunlight or at night.

PV systems are also protected by surge protective measures to ensure the working of electricity generation and feeding.

Type 2 DC SPD is mounted directly upstream of the inverter.

If there is more than 10 meters of cable between the PV system and inverter, additional AC surge protector is recommended in the roof area.

Satellite TV

Satellite TV works by transmitting television signals from a ground-based station to a satellite in orbit, which then retransmits the signals back to Earth.

Commonly, a lightning rod is placed on the roof, its functions are carried out by a mast on which there is a TV antenna. The free-standing lightning rod helps withstand direct strikes, but there still is the possibility of partial lightning current flowing through the TV signal transmission network.

In this case, the equipment (e.g., TV) may be damaged even if it is protected from the power supply side. Moreover, this situation could cause fire or even an explosion of the equipment, which results in much greater losses and the health risks of residents.

To eliminate these risks, it is necessary to install a special protective device into the TV signal transmission circuit.

Data and Telecommunication

Today and in the future, digital networked technologies determine the quality of life and social connection in our single houses and communities. The communication network becomes more intelligent and complicated, a single-family house is like a small hub of the network as Figure 5.

Figure 5 – The communication network in a single-family house

A telecommunication system is a set of interconnected devices and networks designed to transmit, receive, and exchange information over long distances.

Copper or radio waves offer pathways through which signals are transmitted. Our smartphones, computers, and other smart appliances enable users to send and receive information.

The network can be wired (e.g., Ethernet cables, fiber optics) or wireless (e.g., Wi-Fi, cellular networks). Data networks include local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs).

Knowing the components and operation of the data and telecommunication connection, it is easy to understand the necessity of residential surge protection. Any small surge-induced faults in the telecommunication system could cause the breakdown of connection and data loss, even the loss of high-value property in single houses.

SPDs for Data and Telecom

The most evident feature of telecommunication is to achieve data transmission and information interaction. Modern single-family houses have a stricter requirement for a safe and reliable network.

The internet is extremely sensitive to various disturbances and over-voltages due to the complex and interconnected nature of its infrastructure. It is a vast network of interconnected devices, servers, and routers.

Once a disturbance occurs in a part of the network can potentially propagate and affect others. Fluctuations in voltage are harmful to electronic components for data transmission.

Singal and data surge protection devices offer a complete solution to reduce damage, downtime, and power disruption.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) system allows electrical power and data to be transmitted over a single Ethernet cable. PoE is frequently used in IP cameras, VoIP telephones, or Wi-Fi Access points for household devices.

Additionally, PoE can be employed for smart LED lighting and other smart home devices, allowing remote centralized control and power management.

PoE surge protectors provide integrated protection for both data and power lines within a single device.

This means that both the Ethernet data signals and the electrical power are safeguarded against voltage spikes and surges, offering comprehensive protection for PoE-enabled devices.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps are the common devices that are used for both heating and cooling purposes in a house. Heat pumps don’t generate energy but move heat from one location to another, using a refrigeration cycle to provide heating or cooling.

It can extract heat from the air, ground, or water source and transfer it to another location, effectively acting as both a heater and an air conditioner.

The electricity used by a heat pump is primarily for running the compressor and fans.

The compressor pressurizes and circulates the refrigerant through the system, facilitating the heat exchange process. Fans contribute to the efficiency of the heat exchange process by enhancing the transfer of heat.

Since it is powered by electricity, power surges could cause faults in compressors and fans when lightning.

To protect the power supply of the heat pump, it is advised to install a Type 3 surge protection device.

TLP-255 is installed near sensitive equipment to handle the specific voltage of the heat pump.

KNX System

With the concept of “smart home”, our single houses are getting automatic. KNX is a standardized protocol for home and building automation. It has become a popular choice for those looking to implement smart and integrated solutions in residential and commercial buildings.

KNX enables centralized control of various building functions, such as lighting, heating, ventilation, security systems, and audiovisual equipment. This centralization allows for more efficient management of energy usage and enhances overall convenience.

KNX systems involve the use of various electronic devices, sensors, and actuators, which are sensitive to voltage variations.

Electrical disturbances such as lightning strikes, power surges, or switching operations in the power grid can introduce transient over-voltages into the electrical system. Whole house surge protection helps mitigate the impact of these disturbances.

LED lights and intercoms

The need for the safety of houses, modern homes are equipped with smart LED lights and intercoms.

Not only do direct lightning strikes lead to damage, but often it is indirect lightning that causes over-voltages exceeding the immunity of sensitive LED luminaires many times over.

Overvoltage damage usually occurs in the form of partial or complete failure of the LED modules, destruction of the LED drivers, loss of brightness, or failure of the entire control electronics. Even if the luminaire continues to function, surges usually have a negative influence on its service life.

Surge protection of LED lights is considered by the power supply side in distribution boxes, additional protection for power strips would guarantee an effective surge protection for all LED lights.

Intercommunications (intercoms) are often used in homes to facilitate communication between different rooms or between the inside and outside of the house. Intercoms enhance security by allowing verification before granting access.

Intercom systems usually consist of microphones and speakers, allowing users to talk and listen simultaneously. They are usually powered by batteries or connected to a power supply, power surges and lightning strikes can occur because of their sensitivity to electricity. The surge protector has been installed in the main distribution box.

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