Is Surge Protection Required By Code [Explained]

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Most homes in the modern world have the latest electronic devices to make our lives easier. The electronic industry is exploding with new products every single day, and standard circuits can’t handle them. Due to too much electricity consumption, the circuit breaker may be overloaded in this case.

There is a high probability of electrical damage occurring at any time. By installing whole-house surge protection according to the national electrical code, you can prevent this from happening.

If you are still unsure, is surge protection required by code? You’ll find detailed info on surge protection required codes here. Take a look at it.

Why Do You Need Power Surges?

Normally, extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, cyclones, or thunderstorms cause huge damage. The damage goes to nearby power lines or transformers. This situation makes surge protection a must.

Here are some other reasons you might get power surges:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Electrical overload from devices inside your home
  • Bad appliance
  • Tripped circuit breakers

There may be times when electric companies intentionally adjust the voltage for a variety of reasons, called “brownouts,” and a surge may happen when full power is restored.

Types of Surge Protection

As a means of preventing damage to the components and equipment of the system, SPDs reduce overvoltage by diverting surge currents to earth. Surge protection devices include the following types:

  • Type 1: A Type 1 SPD protects against lightning strikes caused by surges. By using spark gap technology, they can handle very high voltages by creating a short to ground when they reach a certain current level.
  • Type 2: You can protect yourself from over-voltages from switching, and indirect lightning strikes with Type 2 devices. In most cases, a metal oxide varistor (MOV) plays a role in this type of circuit.
  • Type 3: SPDs of Type 3 protect sensitive equipment on a local basis. Type 1 or 2 devices have relatively low discharge capacities, which makes them ideal for installation with these devices.

Various types of buildings require the correct device to protect equipment, in accordance with evolving standards.

What is Surge Protection Code?

A surge protection code is a set of rules that helps protect electronic equipment from voltage spikes. These spikes can occur when there is an increase in the electrical current, and they can damage or destroy electronic devices. The surge protection code helps minimize the risk of this type of damage.

Why Surge Protection Code Required?

The purpose of the surge protection code is to protect electrical equipment from voltage spikes. These voltage spikes can cause significant damage to equipment and can even lead to fires. By implementing a surge protection system, you can help ensure the safety of your electrical equipment.

In many cases, surge protection is not required by code. However, it is always a good idea to have surge protection in place, as it can help protect your home or business from damage in the event of a power surge. We already know surge protection can help to protect your electronics, appliances, and other valuable possessions.

However, if you are not sure whether or not surge protection is required by code in your area, it is best to consult with a professional. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action for protecting your property.

National Electrical Code (NEC) Guidelines For Surge Protector

Most people have experienced electric shocks from home appliances at some point during their lives. Electronic devices are becoming more prevalent daily, so standard circuits might struggle to keep up. If you use too many devices, you are likely to overload the circuit breaker. The national electrical code recommends surge protection to prevent this from happening. 

National Electrical Code (NEC)

In addition to creating a code of conduct, the National Fire Protection Association also develops policy guidelines. American homes should follow certain guidelines for installing wiring and equipment to ensure safety. A grounding system is also necessary for residential buildings.

Regulatory guidance

This code governs the construction of buildings, wiring, and electrical equipment. Furthermore, it provides guidelines for residential grounding. The purpose of the code is not only to establish safety rules but also to lay the groundwork for developing local and state building codes.

The majority of government agencies are municipalities or counties. The NEC is developed through research, field testing, and expert panel evaluation before recommendations go to the voting membership for approval. NEC items become official items after two to three years of development.

Governed by

The National Electrical Code applies to local governments, such as municipalities and counties. These agencies are usually authorized to incorporate the NEC into their building codes by the authority having jurisdiction.

Depending on the area, more than one agency may regulate electrical installations. The District of Columbia and the Federal agencies will likely have regulations about electrical equipment or devices if you live in Washington, D.C.

In buildings, electrical wiring and equipment must comply with the code. As well as the following, but not limited to:

  • Wiring installation
  • Equipment installation
  • System of grounding

Surge Protection Code

The extensive anecdotal reports of electrical surges affecting homeowners’ electronic and electrical equipment each year prove that electrical surges cause widespread property damage.

There are several proposals in the National Electrical Code® to add new requirements for Surge Protected Devices for all dwelling units (e.g., NEC 4-53 and NEC 4-127). 

Article 285

Article 285 specifies that electricians should make sure that hardwired TVSS/SPDs are properly installed. Moreover, electrical inspectors are assigned to ensure that TVSS/SPD installations are safe and fault currents flow properly.

In addition, surge protection plug-strips do not require hardwiring, and they do not fall under the NEC’s regulations.

Article 285 consists of the following key elements

  • A definition.
  • Unauthorized use (unsupported distribution systems),
  • Requirements for the operation of listed devices.
  • Guidelines for general installation
  • There are new requirements for fault currents.

Updated requirements for 2020 

In 2020, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) updated its guidelines on surge protection. As of 2020, dwelling units will require surge protective devices (SPDs) of Type 1 or Type 2. SPDs are usually integrated with or adjacent to the electrical service, according to their location. In addition, when you replace an existing service, you’ll need an SPD.

According to the code committee’s statement regarding the revised code section, surge protection is essential for safeguarding sensitive electronics in modern appliances. Additionally, it applies to safety devices (AFCI, GFCI, and smoke/carbon monoxide detection) and other equipment commonly found in homes.

The 2020 Code Languages for SPD

The N230.67 surge protection standard:

  • N (A) Surge-Protective Device: A surge protector is necessary for all services that supply dwelling units.
  • N (B) Location: SPDs must either be an integral part of the service equipment or get close to it. Here is an exception: Unless downstream distribution equipment resides in the service equipment, the SPD is not required to reside there, as required in (B).
  • N (C) Type: To qualify for an SPD, it must be a Type 1 or Type 2 SPD.
  • N (D) Replacement: Replacement of service equipment must comply with all of the requirements outlined in this section.

Besides, the NEC recommends that surge protectors have a joule rating of at least 1,000. So by following the NEC guidelines for their installation, you can help ensure the safety of your electronic equipment.


The purpose of the surge protection code is to ensure the proper safety and quality of your surge protector device. The National Electrical Code (NEC) provides specific guidelines for surge protectors, and it is vital to ensure that your device meets these requirements.

So it is better to buy a surge protector that ensures a protection code. But in some cases, the code is not required. Most well-known brands of electric surge protectors have been made with high quality and follow all safety guidelines.

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