How Much Does It Cost to Install a Whole-Home Surge Protector in Denver?

February 07, 2018

The cost to have a whole-home surge protector professionally installed in the Denver area usually ranges from $300 to $750 (this price includes the professional supplying the surge protector for you).

That’s somewhat of a wide range so let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect the cost:

  1. Whether you have a subpanel or not

  2. The surge protector itself

  3. The warranty offered with the surge protector

  4. The contractor you choose

We’ll explain how these 4 factors affect the price of your surge protector installation.

Need a whole-home surge protector install quote? Just contact us.

Factor #1: Whether you have a subpanel or not

Bottom line: If your home has a subpanel, you might need to install an additional surge protector on this panel—which will increase the cost of the overall installation.

So, every home has a “main” electrical panel. It’s that rectangular metal box on the wall (usually located in the garage, storage room or basement).

main electrical panel

What your home’s main electrical panel looks like (usually, the main panel will have a metal door to protect the circuit breakers inside).

The main electrical panel is what receives electrical power from the utility company and then distributes that power to all the circuits in your home.

But some homes also have what’s called a “subpanel”. These subpanels work and look exactly like the main electrical panel (sometimes slightly smaller in size) but instead of receiving power directly from the grid, they receive power from your main panel.

Two reasons your home might have a subpanel installed include:

  1. You have circuits/appliances that are far from the main panel (workshops, guest houses, etc.)

  2. All the breaker slots in your main panel are filled up (and you need to add a new circuit)

Unfortunately, most subpanels will need a separate surge protector in order to protect the circuits it serves (especially if the subpanel powers electrical appliances).

Factor #2: The surge protector itself

Surge protectors are sort of like cars—the overall price completely depends on the type/brand of car as well as the features it offers.

Whole-home surge protectors are priced according to their:

  • Brand

  • VPR

  • MCOV

  • Maximum Surge Current Capacity

(Yeah, we know those probably look like gibberish so we’ll explain more below.)

Brand

Bottom line: The more reputable the brand of your surge protector, the higher the cost of the unit.

Some well-know, reputable brands that offer whole-home surge protectors include:

  • Schneider Electric

  • Eaton/Cutler Hammer

  • Leviton

  • Siemens

  • Belkin

“VPR” (Voltage Protective Rating)

Bottom line: The lower the VPR of a whole-home surge protector, the higher the cost of the unit.

The Voltage Protective Rating of a whole-home surge protector is also referred to as the “clamping voltage”. This basically measures how high a power surge has to be before the surge protector “clamps down” and absorbs the extra voltage.

MCOV (Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage)

Bottom line: The higher a whole-home surge protector’s MCOV, the higher the cost of the unit.

The Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage tells you how much voltage the surge protector can handle in a continuous, steady overload condition (vs just a momentary surge) and still remain operational.

The MCOV is an important rating to consider because if you choose a surge protector with too low of a MCOV, it can quickly overheat and cause a fire (not to mention fail prematurely).

We suggest that you choose a surge protector with an MOV that’s at least 15% higher than your home’s nominal voltage. Since most homes in the US have a nominal voltage of around 120V, we’d suggest choosing a unit witha MCOV of at least 138V.

Note: You should ask an electrician what MCOV your home needs as the nominal voltage can vary from house to house (and even day to day).

Maximum Surge Current Capacity

Bottom line: The higher a whole-home surge protector’s Maximum Surge Current Capacity, the higher the cost of the unit.

The Maximum Surge Current Capacity of a whole-home surge protector is measured in kA (one thousand amps). This basically tells you how large a surge the unit can survive. After the unit absorbs a surge higher than its kA amperage, the unit will need to be replaced.

A whole-home surge protector usually has a Maximum Surge Current Capacity anywhere from 20kA (the minimum that the IEEE recommends your surge protector has) to over 108kA.

Our recommendation is to find a surge protector withat least a 20kA Maximum Surge Current Capacity.

Factor #3: The warranty offered with the surge protector

Bottom line: The more extensive the warranty, the more expensive the overall cost of the surge protector installation.

Some manufacturers offer a warranty for a certain number of years (i.e. 2–5 years) and some will offer “limited lifetime” warranties—which basically means it will cover the cost of any damaged appliances under certain circumstances for the lifespan of the surge protector.

But here’s the thing to remember: most of the time, whole-home surge protector warranties aren’t as great as they sound. They usually contain so much fine-print limitations that even if your appliances are damaged while the surge protector was healthy and in use, you won’t see any money from the manufacturer.

For example: Typically, a manufacturer won’t cover damages to appliances when a whole-home surge protector is in place if:

  • You didn’t have an electrician install the surge protector

  • The appliance(s) that was damaged isn’t considered a residential appliance (i.e. not commonly found in homes)

  • You don’t have a receipt for the damaged appliance(s)

  • Damage occurred due to lightning strikes or any temporary over-voltage

  • If the claim was made more than 30 days after the damage was initially made

Our suggestion is not to invest too much in a warranty based on how much they guarantee to payback for damaged appliances. Instead, choose a surge protector with a warranty that protects against “workmanship defects” for at least 3 years.

This means the manufacturer will repair or replace the surge protector for free if it fails due to defects in workmanship within a certain time (at least 3 years).

Factor #4: The electrician you choose to install the surge protector

The bottom line: The higher the quality the electrician, the more expensive the overall cost of the surge protector installation.

Like any installation, you get what you pay for. That means, if you choose a contractor that has rock-bottom prices, you’re likely not going to get a solid installation. And when you’re dealing with the protection of your home’s electrical system, you don’t want to skimp.

Our suggestion is to choose an electrician based on whether they:

  • Are licensed and bonded in the state of Colorado

  • Have been in business at least 10 years

  • Have experience in installing whole-home surge protectors

  • Offer a written estimate before any work begins

  • Have a solid reputation (i.e. good reviews on Yelp, Google+ or BBB)

For more help on finding an electrician, check out our blog "How to Find the Best Electrician in Denver, CO".

Need a quote for a whole-home surge installation?

Just contact us.

We offer:

  • FREE estimates in writing

  • Same-day service

  • Fast and thorough installations

  • Financing

  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

Once you contact us, we’ll send over an experienced electrician who can offer a free and fair estimate on your whole-home surge protector install.

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