Yes, A Clothes Dryer Surge Protector

You could install your electric dryer on a surge protector with a voltage capacity of 120, but you would not be providing sufficient protection. As it stands, most clothes dryers are 240 volts and most surge protector components (MOVs) can only withstand 120VAC surges. The standard American home uses 120-volt systems, so most surge protectors are made for the 120 volt capacity, meaning there isn’t an outlet surge protector made to carry the burden of protecting a dryer rated for 240VAC. Does your washer/dryer need surge protector units to protect it? The answer is yes. The only problem is the lack of devices made for these specific appliances. However, there is another option for preventing a clothes dryer surge: whole house surge protectors.

A whole house surge protector connects to either your home breaker box or at the meter. If you want to connect one at the meter side, you will have to call your power company and set a time for them to come out and connect you. This surge protection service is usually provided with a small fee attached, typically about $5 per month. Well worth it if you want to protect your dryer. As you won’t readily find a 240volt surge protector, a house surge protector is the way to go.

Whole House Surge ProtectionElectrical surges are unpredictable so they can strike anytime. This means that you can’t prevent power surges to clothes dryer units either. They happen when transient voltage peaks above normal levels (120 volts). The duration of the peak may last as short as half an AC cycle or they can last for several seconds above twice the normal level. When they pass through your lines and enter your electronic equipment, some components are too sensitive to withstand the surge. When this happens, the electrical surge can permanently short your system. While you can protect some equipment with a standard wall surge protector, some high-energy appliances like air conditioners and clothes dryers require powerful protection provided only by surge protector whole house installation, as surges that would be sufficient enough to damage these large machines would most likely originate externally.

It’s easy to understand the benefit of using a washer / dryer surge protector. An external surge would be powerful enough to melt the insulation within the wiring of your electrical lines and leave your equipment vulnerable. Whole surge protection would prevent this and add a secondary layer of protection to devices already installed on point-of-use surge protectors. At the point of entry the surge is “clamped” by the whole house power surge protector and diverts the excessive current to a grounding area where the surge dissipates.

panamax whole house surge protectorAs for a whole house surge protector review, the best device for your money will have multiple surge protection components within it. One component would be a MOV. MOVs (metal oxide varistors) defend against low voltage surges. This is important as even the smallest surge can damage your equipment’s microprocessors. Another feature to look for is an LED indicator. This lets you know that your device is protecting you as it should. When the light goes off, you should replace your surge protection device.

When it comes to using a surge protector, washer dryer units would definitely benefit. Here are some manufacturers of note to look for in your search:

Intermatic Whole House Surge Protector
Leviton Whole House Surge Protector
Surgebreaker Plus Whole House Surge Protection

Look to any of these companies for surge protectors for the whole house and help yourself find proper dryer surge protection.

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  1. MattM says

    I enjoyed this article, but am still not convinced. You mention that most “MOVs” can only handle 120v. This is not true. I spent time in the UK and the British industry figured out a way to surge protect 240v long ago. Is it that the industry here in the US is too lazy to pick up the phone or is it that they think we’re naieve enough to not realize that the rest of the world exists, surge protectors in hand, on 240(thus creating an need for expensive whole home circut breakers)?!!

  2. admin says

    You’re right, Matt. 240V surge protection devices are prevalent outside of the U.S., because that is the standard in other countries. In the U.S., however, lines with that capacity are reserved for heavy-duty appliances.

    Typical plug-in devices in the U.S. are built for 120v wiring as that is the standard for residential construction. Washers and dryers are connected to individual 240v circuits whereas other household circuits, lighting for example, are split between two hot wires of 120V.

    The MOVs in the surge protectors for these lines blow when voltage hits a critical mass in excess of the MOVs designed capacities, about 25% above normal current levels sustained for a small period of time.

    So when I say devices are made to withstand 120VAC surges, I’m referring to the standard alternating current of a U.S. home.

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