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The Difference between a Lightning Arrester & Surge Arrester
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

There are multiple things to be confused about when it comes to electricity, especially when it comes to components that have similar functions. But of all the confusing things we would expect you to point at, the most tiresome bit is the terminology that gets most Cincinnati area homeowners in a knot. What’s a lightning arrester? What’s a surge arrester? Is there even any difference they technically sound the same? It’s honestly a sticky topic, but it’s one we’ll be helping you understand today!

What’s the Confusion?

The biggest issue in this field is that there are actually very few appliances and terms all in play here, and many people, electricians included, misuse these terms or attempt to use them interchangeably to convey the message but in the mix get caught using the wrong lingo and therefore being incorrect. Most notable for this topic is the confusion with “surge arrester,” which is usually very commonly confused with “surge suppressor” which is sort of understandable considering the degree of variance between the two pieces of equipment. These two items both serve to protect your home electrical network, wiring, and appliances. But they do not do it in the same manner.

A surge suppressor works to mitigate transient voltages and power surges within your home by sending the unused electrical power directly into the attached grounding wire. This in turn ends up reducing the chances of shorting expensive equipment saving you from a direct major loss. These are typically installed directly into the network in a whole-home protection system, or can be found in simpler tools like an outlet-expanding surge protector.

A surge arrestor, on the other hand, works to mitigate specific types of surges and would be useless against all others. It’s easiest to think of an arrestor (and this goes for a lightning arrestor as well) as an external problem protection solution.

So what’s the Difference Between a Lightning & Surge Arrester?

In the simplest of words without using technical jargon:

One is responsible for protecting your home from inside, and the other one tends to protect the house from outside.

If lighting strikes, the lightning arrester, installed, would ensure the lightening takes an immediate detour towards the earthing node making sure the volatile uncontrollable electricity keeps away from your home and appliances. By directing it instead to safe ground would mean the lightening got neutralized and therefore is balanced as soon as it hits the ground.

The surge arrester would be responsible for performing a similar task, but it would instead intercept the surge caused by the strike and send excess electricity into the grounding wire or a capacitor of the caliber that can store said amount of excess energy to harness later.

Midwest Equipment; vfd;vfds;circuit breakers,din rail circuit breakers, mini breakers, contactors, overloads,fuses,fuseholders, terminal blocks, power supplies, din mount power supplies Exhibit A: Surge Arrester
Midwest Equipment; vfd;vfds;circuit breakers,din rail circuit breakers, mini breakers, contactors, overloads,fuses,fuseholders, terminal blocks, power supplies, din mount power supplies Exhibit B: Lightning Arrester

Do I Need a Surge Arrester, Lightning Arrester, or a Surge Protector?

Deciding this solely depends on the point that what kind of home protection equipment suits your needs best. It comes down to what you have to protect.

However, that said, it’s always best to consult a trained and certified electrician! Each home is unique, and so are your electrical needs.

Looking for electrical protection equipment in the Cincinnati area? Contact Midwest equipment Electrical online today.


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