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Thread: Power surges and insurance

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    Power surges and insurance

    So you take out insurance for your business premises and wahla ...you insured...as we know that is not the case...thats why they use and pay assessors so well...to figue out a way to enforce the small print...clause on page 604 (which you didnt get to while reading the document emailed to you after you signed and sealed the deal)....some might say but that is what insurance brokers are there for...from my experience more for the commission than than the service.

    I have some bad news for you...the old lightniting/surge protection in many cases has been revised...if your insurance company even entertains a lightning damage claim... then the assessor will first check the weather on that day ...and just show face as a formality to make you think you have a chance...but in reality you pretty screwed...in many new cases...they dont even entertain your claim.

    So what is the big deal...it cant be that bad you have a small power surge and it takes out a few electronic items....R 10 k small change for repairs a couple day you pi$$ed off with the insurance and you back to paying the premium.

    What i have been experiencing lately are a few R 100 000 plus claims being rejected due to not being lightning damage ...a simple weather report and your beer money or massage at the local Thai ladies is out the window.

    some insurance companies wont even consider your claim if you go to all the trouble of installing surge protection...from my experience ...a waste of time and money unless done correctly.

    in most case it is a neutral conductor stolen for a sub station which in turn ...elevates the voltage to in excess of 600 volts (the most common cause of surge related incidents i am called out to investigate) which will blow the crap out of most electronic devices or just chip away at a device ...ever wondered why you hard drive just stops working...and even cause a fire...as i have seen in a few cases.

    I am busy with 2 incidents ...the estimated cost to repair R270 000 (double story office blocks)

    A note...in this day and age ...everything has an electronic PC board.

    What what would i recommend to try prevent this from happening...

    Fitted inside the meter box or next to the incoming supply...

    A trip connect ( a device used to monitor incoming voltage)
    surge arrester (correctly rated and installed)
    a contactor (which drops out if the voltage drops below 180 v or above 250 v ...this parameter can be set for more sensitive equipment)

    Surge protection at the main DB.

    The majority of damage done to electrical installations is caused by power surges from the municipality ( i dare you to try claim from them...if you have managed to claim please let us know ...i have folder full of claims) neutral conductors being stolen...excessive volt drop and surges...in one area in Durban i have recorded voltages as low as 170 volts...notified the council they send an electrician out he uses a duspol test and informs you that there is power

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    Hi Ians, I agree wholeheartedly, but at that point I guess you have eliminated the risk and that begs the question why pay a premium to cover an event that can't materialize? Or can it still?

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Is there a way to protect the property cost effectively at the main db board?
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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    Surge arrestors definitely reduce the risks and I have seen it on an installation where the neutral was stolen in the sub.WE have class 1 and 2 combined units at the main DB and at the Sub DB class 2
    Supply is 1200Amp and sub DB at 500Amp, The majority of the equipment is electronic and has class 3 installed.

    The generator does not have surge arrestors in its panel and every time the neutral link is stolen the generator charger or changeover relay fails due to excessive voltage.

    We have now fitted a relay monitoring the voltage and feed a shunt on the incoming CB if the voltage goes out of spec .

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCE View Post
    Surge arrestors definitely reduce the risks and I have seen it on an installation where the neutral was stolen in the sub.WE have class 1 and 2 combined units at the main DB and at the Sub DB class 2
    Supply is 1200Amp and sub DB at 500Amp, The majority of the equipment is electronic and has class 3 installed.

    The generator does not have surge arrestors in its panel and every time the neutral link is stolen the generator charger or changeover relay fails due to excessive voltage.

    We have now fitted a relay monitoring the voltage and feed a shunt on the incoming CB if the voltage goes out of spec .
    ...I mean for the man in the street to protect the house.
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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    The same applies for the man in the street
    Fit Class 1 + 2 surge arrestors and a relay to monitor voltage - Use the relay to drop out a contactor

    Good Quality Surge Arrestors will go a long way in protecting you

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    The simple answer ...no...that is why you need insurance ...one which isnt full of small print and clauses excluding "power surges"...some areas are affected more than others... there are lightning stat charts available...like anything its a numbers game...and insurance companies have the stats to prove it ...hence the exclusion of power surge cover in many cases.

    You can attempt to reduce the risk... by installing "lightning protection"at various levels...MOV's ...trip connects and other products available on the market...however the voltage supply in SA (the ones i have tested...using a fluke 435) are so unreliable...in some cases you would think a generators was feeding the building...in certain areas in and around Durban you cannot even install a trip connect with the voltage set to the widest span (170-260 volts) unless you are happy to sit without power 2-3-sometimes even 4 or more times a day...while you wait the delay period to reset.

    I am not saying "lightning protection" doesnt work for power surges...just make sure you still have insurance cover for the day the surges gets past everything you have installed...trust me when i tell you it does...as we have just learnt the expensive way... in one case the insurance company have decided to pay a small percentage (25%)...they at least sent and assessor to verify we had taken steps to protect the installation... for the other building the customer was just told... power surge damage is excluded in the policy.

    Neutral and cable theft is as common in SA as hijacking/murder and all the other criminal activities...all i am saying is check your cover.

    Make sure the person who installs the protective devices understands what they are doing...it is easy to go to the wholesaler and pick up a "lightning protection device" and fit it anywhere in the installation...will it do the job...it might.

    Understand what it is you are trying to protect and rather focus on installing the correct devices where they are best suited for the application.

    Dont be fooled by thinking surges only enter the property via the electricity supply.

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    You can buy these units online...it is a good start to protecting your home/shop/factory.

    Single phase (for the home)

    https://surgeprotection.co.za/produc...t-single-phase

    3 phase (I have some of these units installed on site since 2009)

    https://surgeprotection.co.za/produc...p-programmable

    used with the trip connect.

    https://surgeprotection.co.za/produc...boards-3-phase


    I have also used surgetek products...however they dont have a trip connect unit...but their surge protection devices work and they have a person with a lot of experience in this field.

    http://www.surgetek.co.za/

    At the end of the day it all boils down to what it is you need to protect and how much you are prepared to spend... or just make sure your insurance company covers.

    I went to the dentist and notice he had spent a couple of hundred thousand rand on a fancy new X ray machine... i asked him how much he had spent on a clean stable protected power supply...zero.. nada not a cent... "i have insurance" ....good luck with that.

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    This is a complete single phase unit.


    https://surgeprotection.co.za/produc...ripconnect-100

    As you can see if you start scrolling though the catalog ...it is not cheap.

    Clearline use to have cover for the device you connected...ie a computer ...you could "register" the unit and if the computer was damaged due to a surge... you could claim X amount (not sure of the amount but it was worth while) ...i am not sure if they still offer the cover ...will check and get back to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ians View Post
    This is a complete single phase unit.


    https://surgeprotection.co.za/produc...ripconnect-100

    As you can see if you start scrolling though the catalog ...it is not cheap.

    Clearline use to have cover for the device you connected...ie a computer ...you could "register" the unit and if the computer was damaged due to a surge... you could claim X amount (not sure of the amount but it was worth while) ...i am not sure if they still offer the cover ...will check and get back to you.
    Very nice - R2k isn't bad considering the protection that it offers.

    As an aside - but along similar lines. I have a nice big UPS on my PC. It works really well and it kicks in every time I forget to buy electricity :-)
    but... I have found a really interesting thing with the UPS - When the compressor starts the UPS kicks in. The compressor is of course on a different circuit in the garage and the PC is in the office. I never realized that those motors create such a huge spike that goes all over the house. I really wonder whether equipment doesn't get damaged due to those sort of spikes. Let's say by chance the compressor and the vacuum cleaner are turned on simultaneously - won't the effect be really really bad?
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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