The Difference Between a Lightning Arrester & Surge Arrester

Posted on: February 16, 2018

There are many, many things to be confused about when it comes to electricity. But of all the confusing things you could point at, it’s the terminology that gets most Tampa area homeowners. What’s a lightning arrester? What’s a surge arrester? Is there even a difference!? It’s honestly a sticky topic, but it’s one we’ll be helping you understand today!

Looking for electrical protection equipment in the Tampa and Clearwater areas? Contact Hoffman Electrical online.

What’s the Confusion?

The big issue here is that there are actually a few appliances and terms all in play here, and many people, electricians included, misuse terms or attempt to use them interchangeably. Most noteworthy for this topic is the confusion with “surge arrester,” which is typically confused with “surge suppressor.” 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 excess power directly into the attached outlet or circuit grounding wire, reducing the risks of shorting expensive equipment. 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. It’s easiest to think of an arrestor (and this goes for a lightning arrestor as well) as a form of protection from external problems, such as those caused by lighting or power grid complications.

Okay, So What’s the Difference Between a Lightning & Surge Arrester?

When all is said and done, the difference is as simple as this: one protects your home from inside, one protects the home from outside.

Should lighting strike your home, the lightning arrester, installed externally, would attempt to immediately detour the electricity away from your home and appliances and direct it instead to safe ground.

The surge arrester would perform a similar function, but it would instead intercept the surge caused by the strike and send excess energy into the grounding wire or another acceptable and predetermined grounding application.

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

When deciding what kind of home protection equipment suits your needs best, it all comes down to what you have to protect. Each tool can roughly perform the same task, and in most homes any one of these tools will safeguard you and your appliances just fine.

However, that said, it’s always best to consult a trained and certified electrician! Each home is unique, and so are your electrical needs. That means, should you require a more precise or complex solution than “any one will do,” you’ll have the benefit of a specialist who can direct you to the ideal installation.

Surge & Lightning Protection Services in Tampa, FL

Need some help getting the ideal electrical protection system for your home? Contact Hoffman Electrical online now! Our certified and trained electricians have been serving Florida homeowners for years, and we would love the chance to help you get the right protection for your electrical needs.