In 2017, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) conducted a survey of electrical designers, planners, and engineers and found that there was a limited understanding of the purpose and effectiveness of surge protection devices. In response to the survey results, ESFI created educational materials to spread awareness of surge protection.

An important factor revealed by this survey was the failure of industry engineers and experts to distinguish surge protection devices from over current devices or circuit interrupters (such as a GFCI breaker). SPDs are designed to handle fast transients or surges, rather than excess voltage or current. While some Type 1 SPDs may be equipped with external overcurrent protection, it should be noted that this is not the case with all variations of SPDs, and that it is not the preliminary function of the devices. Likewise, overcurrent devices do not provide surge protection.

In a 2017 survey of electrical designers, electrical planners, and electrical engineers who worked in designing / renovating electrical systems in industrial facilities, healthcare facilities, and IT centers, the Electrical Safety Foundation International found that:

  • 94% of those surveyed found surge protection to be very or extremely important to building owners and tenants.
  • 42.4% of all respondents use the 2017 National Electrical Code
  • 17.2% of the respondents were in states where the 2017 NEC has been adopted

Most frequently mentioned surge protection devices designed or installed into buildings:

  • Type 2 Surge Protection Devices: 35%
  • Type 1 Surge Protection Devices: 29%
  • Type 3 Surge Protection Devices: 21%
  • Point-of-Use Surge Protection Devices: 15%

Frequency of Surges

Voltage surges significant enough to cause equipment damage occur with monthly or greater frequency in:

  • 80% of IT Center Facilities
  • 76% of Industrial Facilities
  • 69% of Healthcare Facilities

Surges significant enough to cause injury or death occur annually, or less than once a year in:

  • 56% of Healthcare Facilities
  • 54% of IT Center Facilities
  • 51% of Industrial Facilities

Reason Surge Protection Was Installed:

  • Need to Protect Expensive Equipment: 29%
  • Code Requirements: 29%
  • Customer Request: 26%
  • Other: 16%

Reason Surge Protection Was NOT Installed:

  • Cost of Surge Protection Devices: 37%
  • Lack of Concern About Surges: 33%
  • Inadequate Surge Protection Technology: 30%

Causes of Surge:

  • Faulty or Damaged Wiring: 24%
  • Lightning Strike: 21%
  • Electrical Equipment Turning Off / On: 15%
  • Static Electricity Discharge: 15%
  • Magnetic Coupling: 13%
  • Grid Anomalies: 11%

Circuit Interrupters and Over Current Devices are NOT Surge Protection Devices

Want to partner with ESFI on this initiative? Contact [email protected] or publish a press release with our template below:

Download Sample Press Release