Sycom: A New Surge Protector Player In The Game?

As far as surge protectors go, manufacturer Sycom is relatively new to the game. Nonetheless, the Sycom surge protector is used more and more in high tech facilities and by public utilities across the country for whole house surge protection. Established in 1994, the North American company based in Clearwater, Florida specialized in home surge protectors, but their move into the industrial world has given them a wide spectrum of surge protection devices for every application. From whole house surge protectors to single-application units, Sycom will even build custom devices for clients with special requirements. There are over 100 surge protection companies in the U.S. alone, but Sycom is fast becoming a recognized authority in the field.

Most recognized for their whole house surge protectors, Sycom has moved heavily into manufacturing industrial surge protectors for big businesses. Power companies, especially, employ Sycom surge technology on their meters to protect residential homes from power surges created on the external lines of the house. Since most damaging spikes occur from events caused outside the home, for example, lightning strikes, it can be beneficial to install Sycom surge protection for the whole house at the meter to lessen any chance of internal damage.

Most electronics in your home are capable of handling every day surges that occur within the home. These events on the “subscriber side” of the power lines are naturally occurring surges that take place when appliances like a microwave is turned on. It can happen when any large appliance that requires a lot of juice to get it going comes on by drawing power to it. Many companies won’t relate this information but surges under 230 volts won’t affect your electronics in any way and they can most likely sustain dips as low as 85 volts with the same endurance.

In other words, the chance of an appliance within your home causing a substantial enough surge to damage equipment is very unlikely.

Why then do you need point-of-use surge protectors installed in your home? As a secondary line of defense, mostly. Internal surges can and do happen numerous times daily and these attacks on your equipment, however slight, can degrade them over time. After so many degradations, equipment will malfunction and eventually fail. Having surge protection between the point of use, meaning between the appliance and the power outlet is a double insurance along with the Sycom surge protection device already installed at the meter.

The appliance in your home the uses the most energy starting up is by far, the air conditioner. On startup it can create a cycle of voltage drops by two to three volts. You may witness the brownout by seeing lights flicker for a few seconds. The same when it shuts off, it creates a surge, but of very few volts; not enough of an increase to hurt anything within the home. So installing a surge protector whole house unit is by far the best choice.

Which one is the best whole home surge protector? Well, it can’t be said that Sycom surge protectors are the best, but they sure have been the top choice for several businesses and utility companies across the United States. When it comes to surge protectors for the whole house, how many amps are necessary? At the circuit breaker, you won’t create a trip under 200A. Your main circuit carries this much on a continuous rating. Translated, 200 amps equal roughly .2 kA (kilo amps). To totally disable your breaker you would have to exceed 22kA or 22,000 Amps. That’s a lot of juice.

Putting it into perspective, a lightning strike can be at a minimum 10,000 amps strong. That’s enough to knock out any home that lacks surge protection. However, a house surge protector isn’t full proof as lightning strikes can exceed 200,000 amps. These kind of attacks are unlikely unless you live in an area prone to storms, so you are pretty much guaranteed to have full protection from harmful surges.

That’s not to say that there is no protection against lightning strikes. Everything, including strikes from lightning, are relative. Of course if your house takes a direct hit from a bolt your surge protection device won’t do much to divert it, but should that blast hit the earth your equipment stands a chance. Blasts carried through the ground and entering your lines can easily be absorb by your unit. This of course can vary according to the distance of the strike relative to your power lines.

It’s important to understand that while a power surge in your house can cause damage, a whole house surge protector isn’t full proof. It’s not just that it can be overloaded by a lightning strike, even with a lightning surge protector rating on the unit. We’ve already mentioned that an event of that magnitude is unlikely in most areas. It’s more that it can’t protect you from radio signals and electromagnetic interference. This, second to the damage caused by lightning, is severely crippling to network connections and equipment attached to coaxial lines, such as modems and cable television or satellite dishes.

That’s another reason why it’s important to install point of use surge protection. Line noise can be damaging to plasma televisions and can interrupt data transfers on computer networks or Ethernet connections. System level protection is just as important as whole house surge protection. I’m not going to go into how to install a whole house surge protector, but when you decide it’s time to do that, be sure to include a battery backup unit like one found on an Uninterruptible Power Supply, if you have appliances like those already mentioned.

You can obviously find inexpensive products that include coaxial cable surge protection but the combined efforts of a whole house surge protector and battery backup is perfect for home offices with computer equipment where you don’t want to lose power suddenly and ultimately lose potential work. This will also protect other equipment like HDTVs that require cooling fans to shut down properly. It all depends on how valuable your equipment is to you as to what kind of surge protection you require. Learn more about the Sycom surge protector and see if it’s right for your needs.

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  1. Jessie Schoppe says

    When I bought the surge protector I was told I had to register with you. I don’t seem to be able to find the right location to do that. What must I do?

  2. confused says

    I purchased the sycom resedential surge protectoe,but it didn’t come w/any graphical install instructions. I hired an electrician and he said the surge protector would be useless cuz my electrical panel has a main& that the main would trip doing the job of the surge protector.
    I’m completely confused because I’ve seen the sycom surge protector installed on shows like “holmes on homes” so is my electrician dumb? Or are there specific applications for this surge protector that wouldn’t call for it to be installed…like having a main?
    Thanks in advance for any help

  3. Joe Mama says

    Do not hire any electrician that believes a service panel breaker has any chance of stopping a line surge of any kind from damaging electrical devices. Overcurrents (which breakers and fuses protect against) and transient surges are fundamentally different phenomenon and any electrician who does not understand the difference should not be allowed to call himself an electrician. The point of a surge supressor’s solid state technology is to basically dump any electrical fluctuation which could cause damage harmlessly off the system while allowing power continuity to remain. For sensitive electronics as well as the increasingly sensitive motors and controls in modern appliances service level surge protection is a great solution to the problem of utility related power surges.

  4. DaveEC says

    I just had one of these Sycom 120/240-T2 for my home installed. The ‘instructions’ for it just has installation instructions and warranty info. All it has on it is a single green LED. It is attached to a 20A DPST breaker. No other info like operation or what happens if it gets hit. How do I know if it does it’s job? What do I do if the green light is on or off and/or if the breaker is tripped? I can’t even find this info on their website. thx… Dave

  5. admin says

    Dave, thanks for the questions. The green light will go out when it stops working. Otherwise, it’s doing its job. Sadly, you don’t know it’s “doing its job” until it’s not.

    Breakers trip from high loads of current on the line, not surges, which are temporary over-voltages, so surges can pass through your breaker; however, if the breaker is tripped from an over-current, it shuts off the power to that line and the WHSP will stop functioning until the breaker is reset. Make sense?

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