Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ section is a resource for surge protection related questions and is always expanding. If you have a question, either general or specific to our products, please submit it through our inquiry form. We will reply quickly and add your question and our response to this section.

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What are the costs associated with Surge Protection Device installation?

FAQ – Cost will vary when installing SPDs. The number of SPD units being installed,  and type of panel (branch panel, central distribution panel, motor control centre, or main distribution panel) will affect the cost. Is there available breaker space? Does a new breaker need to be purchased? Is a disconnect a more viable option and does it need to be purchased and installed? These are all variables that need to be taken into consideration when looking at the cost of the installation. Do you have an onsite electrician or do you need to contract it out?  An average charge out rate for an Electrical Contractor in Canada is $150/hour. This rate may vary based on your geographical location. For the installation of a single SPD, you should expect a 4hr minimum from the contractor. Other charges you may see from your contractor can include travel time and consumables.

What size breaker do I need for my Surge Protection Device ?

FAQ – Every manufacturer for Surge Protection Devices will have their own recommendation for the size of overcurrent protection required. This is due to the UL certifications every SPD requires. For SPDs to be certified by UL they must fail safely, and how they ensure this is through the overcurrent protection device ahead of the SPD. Some manufacturers can only have a 15A or 30A breaker ahead of their SPD for it to fail safely, while other manufacturers can have 100A -150A, and some can even be direct bus connected. In general, the higher the breaker size the better. Even though we are dealing with voltage surges, there is still current associated with the surge activity. You do not want a small breaker that can trip quickly taking the SPD offline prematurely while the surge is still happening, as this will allow the surge to enter your facility and cause damage. Refer to the SPD manufacturer’s installation manual for their overcurrent protection device sizing.

If a surge protector fails, will my facility shut down?

FAQ – When most surge protectors are installed, they are installed in parallel. This is done so that when the surge protector does its intended purpose of absorbing a surge, the facility can continue to run without any unexpected downtime. However, we recommend when installing surge protection, you wire in the dry relay contacts into your building maintenance system or SCADA. If this option is not available in your facility, add it to your monthly health and safety checklist to ensure your facility is not without protection.

How do I know if my Surge Protection Device has failed?

FAQ – Each brand of surge protection devices has their own indication if their unit is functioning. Some have audible alarms and most have LED indicating lights. If any of the phase LEDs or all LEDs are extinguished, the unit is no longer working and needs to be replaced. Some brands have different levels of indication – green means it is functioning as intended, yellow or orange means the unit has started to degrade and a replacement should be ordered, and red indicates it is no longer working and needs to be replaced. Others have dry relay contacts that change state when they fail. We recommend when installing an SPD that they are wired in to the building maintenance system or SCADA. If these options are not available in your facility, add it to your monthly health and safety checklist to ensure your facility is not without protection. Refer to the installation and operation manual to confirm what type of indication your unit has.

What is the expected downtime I should anticipate when installing a Surge Protection Device?

FAQ – When installing an SPD the expected downtime will vary based on a number of factors – the type of panel it is being wired into, if it needs to be recessed into a wall, if a building maintenance system needs to be hooked up, or if specialty cable needs to be used. If it is a simple surface mount panel where breaker space is available, it can be installed in an hour. However, if it is a distribution panel where a disconnect needs to be tapped off the bus, downtime could be upwards of 4 hours.

Can I install an SPD myself?

FAQ – A surge protection device is wired directly into an electrical panel. A licensed and insured electrician should always install the SPD.

Do I need different sizes of SPDs throughout my facility?

FAQ – When creating a layered SPD design, different sizes will be used throughout the facility. Factors that influence sizing are potential exposure to high voltages surges from the hydro being provided to your building, or lightning strikes. Areas with rooftop HVAC, solar panels , pole lighting and other devices external to the facility can carry a surge into the building. When we are in a facility we examine the loads on the panels to see if they have the potential to cause damaging surges. 80% of surges are generated internally to a facility by its own equipment.  Sizing downstream also depends on if there is an upstream SPD to absorb the largest external surges, therefore a smaller SPD can be used downstream. This is similar to fuse coordination. The other key factor is the amperage of the panel. If it is a 1600A distribution panel the bus is much larger than a 600A distribution panel, impacting the SPD sizing. No SPD design is exactly the same, and each building is unique with unique lads so each design should be different.

Should I use a Lightning Arrestor or a Surge Protection Device?

FAQ – A lightning arrestor is installed on the exterior of buildings to divert energy from lightning strikes to the ground system. They are only used for lightning. A surge protection device is installed inside the building and is designed to absorb energy and send the extra energy to ground.

I had a surge event and my surge protector did not work. What next?

FAQ – If you have experienced a surge event and you’ve lost downstream equipment or are having failures in your facility with VFD, LED lighting or other sensitive electronics and the manufacturer states that it is due to surge activity, you will need to verify that the surge protection device was installed correctly. Refer to this article on installation practices. Correct Installation of Surge Protection. Ensure the grounding in your building is secure. When a surge event occurs, a surge protection device absorbs the surge and what it cannot absorb gets shunted to ground. If you have a weak ground system, the surge then gets let through to the downstream equipment. If your breaker or overcurrent device tripped and took the surge protector offline, look into the recommended sizing to see if it can be upsized. If the above-mentioned are not a factor, reach out to the SPD manufacturer for more technical assistance.

What is the maintenance cost associated with a Surge Protection Device?

FAQ – Surge protection is a maintenance free device. Once it is installed there are no additional costs. You will still want to ensure the device is operational, either by monitoring through your building maintenance system or performing a monthly health and safety checklist.

What is the cost of working with Innosys?

FAQ – Working with Innosys Power is completely free. Every service we provide is complementary to our customers and yours. We will provide free onsite training to your maintenance electricians, contractors, engineers, sales team members and decision makers. Each session will be catered to your specific needs and technical aptitude. We can also provide continuing education credits through the Engineering Institute of Canada. We perform free site audits for any and every type of facility. We will identify where you are vulnerable to surge activity and propose a solution that is best suited to you and your budget. If you are designing a new building or upgrading an existing facility, we offer single line diagram analysis and prepare a solution that includes part numbers, overcurrent protection sizing and full written specifications. Even after the sale of our products, we will come to your site and do a pre- and post-installation inspection to ensure your investment in surge protection will work as intended.

We have dedicated technical assistance across Canada. Please go to the contact page on our website to find your local representative. or call toll free to 1-800-835-8265 for assistance.

Where are your products built?

The Total Protection Solutions brand of surge protection devices are manufactured in North America.

Can you install Surge Protection Devices anywhere on my panel?

A common misconception is that you need to put surge protection at the top of your panel for it to work effectively. However, when a surge occurs it takes place in a matter of nanoseconds, thus the whole bus sees the surge at the same time. As per our article on installation practices we want the SPD to be installed as close to the neutral bar as possible to minimize the lead lengths and maximize the effectiveness of the surge protection device.

Do MOVs degrade?

Yes, MOVs are not infinite life products, as their zinc oxide formulations exhibit degradation and can reach catastrophic failure due to extended exposure to line voltage transients. MOVs degrade gradually when they are subjected to surge currents above their rated capacity. The end-of-life is commonly specified when the measured varistor voltage (Vn) has changed by more than 10 percent. If an MOV experiences sequential surge events, each causing an additional 10 percent reduction of Vn, the MOV may soon reach a Vn level below the peak recurring value for the applied Vrms. When this state is reached, the MOV draws in excess of 1 mA of current during each half-cycle of the sine wave voltage, a condition tantamount to thermal runaway. In nearly all cases, the value of Vn decreases with exposure to surge currents. The degradation manifests itself as an increase in idle current at the maximum normal operating voltage in the system. Excessive idle current during normal, steady-state operation will cause heating in the varistor. Because the varistor has a negative temperature coefficient, the current will increase as the varistor becomes hotter. Thermal runaway may occur, with consequent failure of the varistor.

We work with great companies

What do our clients say?

“We usually had one failure per month, which would cost us the price of the processor and $1,500 in downtime. We installed one of the Innosys Power units in front of the processor and we haven’t had any failures since. Innosys Power’s ‘Total Protection Solutions’ does the job in protecting our equipment. We plan to install more units over the next few months.”

Dave HallMaintenance Supervisor, Quebecor World Concord

“The lifetime savings for these units could reasonably exceed $100,000 as well as extending the life of the controllers. We plan to use the maintenance savings to address our arena lighting and similar issues on our splash pads. We will save $2,400 per splash pad repair and reduce our lighting and ballast replacement costs.”

Bruce AbramMaster Electrician, City of London

“I would estimate that the Innosys Power filters have paid for themselves in less than a year. With the 30 year warranty on the units, we will enjoy savings for many years to come. We plan to continue using the power filters to protect new equipment coming into the plant. This is the one project that is helping the bottom line. Thank you.”

Jonathan BurkholderFacilities Maintenance Manager, Denver Cold Storage

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