After mounting my television on the wall, I would like to put a receptacle behind it so the power cord will be hidden. While planning this I was trying to figure how to get a surge protector to be hidden behind the TV as well, then I came across a surge protection receptacle.

Has anybody used these before? Are they worth the price? Will I get acceptable surge protection from one of these?

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They seem like a great idea if they actually work, I can't believe I have not seen these before.


An article from the Family Handyman says this about knowing when to replace the receptacle.

Some types of surge protection receptacles (available at electrical supply houses and online retailers) have a signal to alert you when they’re no longer providing surge protection and need to be replaced (surge suppressors do wear out).

So I guess that's one thing to look for before buying one.

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    I've never used one before but I'm a little skeptical. I couldn't find anywhere on the manufacturer's site (or amazon page) that describes warranty or reimbursement coverage. Granted that's those are typically very limited anyway. – Mike B Oct 28 '10 at 22:37
  • @Mike B: That was one of my concerns as well. – Tester101 Oct 29 '10 at 12:01
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    Comment on the Edit: Surge protectors often have a light to indicate when the protection has failed. However, these lights are not always reliable. Surge protectors can fail in a way the light doesn't detect. It is a good practice to replace surge protectors every few years. – myron-semack Oct 29 '10 at 12:46
  • Two informative links: djsociety.org/Surge_1.htm – myron-semack Oct 29 '10 at 14:25
  • And this one: howstuffworks.com/surge-protector.htm – myron-semack Oct 29 '10 at 14:25

One thing you could do is install a whole house surge protector in your breaker box. These typically come with a large $ warranty if something does get blown. They come in may forms, the easiest ones simply install into a single circuit slot in your breaker box. Others hard wire in and have a small box that mounts right next to your breaker box.

Depending on the make / model of your breaker box, there would be various choices.

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    I was thinking about installing one of these for awhile, but would they protect against surges created inside the house (Motors/compressors turning on/off)? – Tester101 Oct 29 '10 at 15:01
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    Good question. I believe it would as it would provide a path for the fault to be handled, regardless of where it occurred. – mohlsen Oct 29 '10 at 16:09
  • Motors should have snubbers on or near them. It is better to stop the spike near the source than to try to contain it everywhere else. – Kaz Feb 25 '13 at 18:52

The number that I look for is in a surge suppressor is the energy or Joules rating, with the higher the better. This one is rated for 720 J, which is middle-of-the-road. You can find surge strips from about 200J to 4000J.

The thing with any modern TV is that you're probably going to be using a co-ax input for cable TV, and potentially an ethernet input too. For that reason, I'd try to find something with protection for all three: power, co-ax and data. Even if it does mean compromising on the aesthetics of your installation.

(FWIW, I use Belkin protectors on my equipment and have never had problems... but I do live in a low-lightning part of the world).

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    +1 for Belkin. I love mine but I'm also in a low-lighting region. newegg.com/Product/…-12-107-141--Product – Mike B Oct 28 '10 at 22:40
  • As a note. I had the cable installation guy yell at me for running the cable line through a surge protector, because it degraded the signal. So when buying a surge protector for coaxial, make sure you get a good one that won't degrade the signal. – Tester101 Oct 29 '10 at 15:07
  • All inputs are protected at the device, do I really need double protection? – Tester101 Oct 29 '10 at 17:00
  • While your answer is good, it is more aimed at what type of surge protector to use, not are receptacle surge protectors good. – Tester101 Oct 29 '10 at 17:05
  • @Mike B: Great choice. I have the same one on my Vizio 42 inch LCD tv and I use the coax protection. I have had no issues and feel like I am protecting my investment wisely. – Engineer2021 Oct 29 '10 at 20:39

One problem you need to consider is that nearly all consumer grade surge suppressors rely on the properties of a varistor (voltage dependent resistor), which will self destruct when presented with anything beyond a fairly minor surge or spike. Unfortunately, there is rarely an indicator to tell you this has occurred. Surges and spikes could happen at any time, so unless you have a reason to suspect it has occurred you will be oblivious to it. Consequently, many people are using surge suppressors which have done their job and no longer offer any protection whatsoever.

Things are different when you get into good commercial/industrial grade gear but that gets very bulky and very expensive.

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    So what's the answer here, don't use surge protection? or buy only high grade devices? – Tester101 Oct 29 '10 at 12:09
  • @Tester101, there's no easy answer to that. Personally, at home I no longer use them. At work I use industrial grade protection. If I lived in an area prone to surges and/or spikes I would rewire the house to place all the sensitive stuff on one circuit, get a large industrial protector and use it to protect that circuit. – John Gardeniers Oct 29 '10 at 21:06

If you only want to surge protect your TV, this might make sense. But since you're going to be connecting that TV to various video sources, either they need to be surge protected too, or you need to surge protect the connections.

If you're worried about aesthetics, what are you doing with your video cables? If they show, why care about your power? And if they don't show (in-wall cable run), can't you run your power cable through there too? Then you can surge protect the TV using a normal UPS along with the rest of your entertainment stack.

  • The wires are going to be run in the wall, terminating at modular wall plates on each end (something like this home-technology-store.com/structured-wiring/…). So running the TV power cord through the wall doesn't make sense. – Tester101 Oct 29 '10 at 12:07
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    You don't really want to run power near data cables, as unless it's all individually shielded, you can get interference. – Joe Nov 3 '10 at 22:03
  • For an HDMI cable, it's got to interfere enough to cause bit errors, which I assumed is not likely for a short run. For any analog cable though, it's a very good point though. – Steve Armstrong Nov 4 '10 at 14:17

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