Westphal a part of the 50-megawatt Bear Creek Solar Project in Richland County

Alliant Energy officially announced that a solar site in Richland County is now operational, ahead of an economic boost to the surrounding area. The 50-MW Bear Creek Solar Project will generate enough electricity to power 13,000 homes. Westphal participated in the installation of approximately 120,000 panels, the first of 12 planned large-scale solar energy sites by Alliant Energy.

In addition to this site producing clean solar energy to power homes and businesses, Richland County and the town of Buena Vista will receive an estimated $200,000 in combined shared revenue payments annually for the next 30 years through the state’s shared revenue program.

“Across Wisconsin, Alliant Energy is working with families, farmers, businesses and communities to develop renewable energy projects both big and small,” said David de Leon, president of Alliant Energy. “This project is an incredible milestone for our customers. Guided by our purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build stronger communities, this solar farm diversifies our energy portfolio, boosts American energy independence and increases access to affordable electricity.”

To learn more about this project, please visit the following articles:

Solar Power World: Alliant Energy completes 50-MW union-built solar project in Wisconsin 

NBC15: Alliant Energy to generate solar energy, revenue in Richland Co.

Channel 3000: Richland County solar project capable of powering 13K homes per day

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals


Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals

Verona, Wisconsin



Verona, WI


Vogel Brothers Building Co





Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals specializes in genetic treatment of diseases. They develop medicines that treat intractable diseases by silencing the genes that cause them.

Their new 13-acre  Verona campus will consist of two buildings: building 1A which is 142,000 square feet of half laboratory space and half office space, and building 1B which is 146,000 square feet of a cGMP laboratory. Westphal & Company was selected due to our past work with Arrowhead facilities and other pharmaceutical cGMP facilities, both laboratory and manufacturing. 

The Arrowhead campus in Verona is a greenfield site. Westphal was tasked with providing a campus-wide medium voltage distribution system and full campus power backup via (2) 2.5MW and (1) 2MW generators. Westphal will also be a design-build partner on Building 1A responsible for the design of normal and life safety branch power, lighting, lighting control, site and parking lot lighting for the entire campus, and fire alarm system including a smoke evacuation system.

Site Utility Electric Distribution Renovation and Replacement


Site Utility

Electric Distribution Renovation and Replacement

Madison, Wisconsin 



Madison, WI




The State of Wisconsin


Affiliated Engineers, Inc.




Component #1: Over 26,000′ of electrical duct bank from the Walnut Street Switching Station to two existing manholes within the utility corridor located in Observatory Drive. All the PVC will be 5” SCH 40 with 20′ #4 bare copper concrete encased electrode.

Component #2: Installing four sets of conductors through existing underground ducts from the Dayton Street Switching Station to the Athletic Operations Switching Station, creating two new paralleled heavy tie feeders to connect the switching stations together. The medium voltage cable is 1/C #350kCMIL 15kV Copper and there is about 47,622’ and #350MCM Copper XHHW-2 ground at about 15,847’ total. 

Adding Electricity to a Shed or a Detached Garage

Runing Electricity to Your Shed

Your shed or any other outbuilding certainly can have electricity as long as the zoning and code regulations allow it.  Regardless of the situation, due to the fact that a power supply will have to be brought to your shed, you should be hiring a certified electrician to perform this task for you.  This way you can stay assured that the project has been completed up to code and the power in your shed can be used safely.  Here are the basic steps of the process and things to consider before you start.

Determining the power needs of the shed/ garage

Think about all the outlets, lights, and other electrical needs you may have.  Are you tuning your shed into a woodworking workshop, or do you just need exterior lighting and cameras? The feed wire and the circuit breaker will ultimately depend on the loads needed.  Make sure you communicate this clearly with your electrician.
Is your shed far away from the main power source on the property and you are considering powering it with a generator located outside the shed? There are options for you to utilize a generator or possibly solar panels to add power to your outbuilding.

Inside wiring

As with any other electrical project, you will be following the code for lighting and outlet installation. In addition, if your shed will have a unique use, make sure you install the necessary outlets.  Are you adding a sink in the shed to wash your garden vegetables – you will need a GFCI if the outlet is located in the areas where a water source is present.

Bringing the power to the shed

Digging a code-compliant trench for conduit should be saved for a professional. Diggers hotline will have to be called and their technician will locate any existing underground utilities. Your electrician may add a subpanel to facilitate connecting the wiring. A PVC conduit will be placed inside the trench and it will be protected from the rocks with a surrounding layer of sand. The wire will be run inside of that conduit all the way to your shed/ outbuilding. Inside the shed, a junction box will be installed where the conduit comes through the wall.  Once all of the wires have been connected at the main panel, you will be able to use the electricity in the building.

Westphal & Co. is an expert electrician serving Wisconsin and Iowa. Our service technicians can help you install power in your shed, detached garage or other outbuilding. Contact us for more information and a detailed quote. 

Wisconsin’s First Flex Lane Now Open in Madison

The Flex Lane on the Madison Beltline (US 12/18), between Whitney Way and the I-39/90 interchange, in Dane County is now open! Westphal & Co. is proud to bea key participant in the signaling and electrical systems that enable lane openings and closures. The multi-year project is designed to provide an additional travel lane during peak traffic periods, typically during morning and afternoon rush hours.

“The Flex Lane is an innovative way to keep people and commerce moving along the Madison Beltline during peak traffic hours,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Craig Thompson said. “This will improve daily life for commuters, as well as visitors attending major area events. It’s one more way WisDOT is making Wisconsin’s highways safer and more reliable for everyone who uses them.”

The Flex Lane is one solution to improving transportation in the Madison area. WisDOT collaborated with local stakeholders to examine all modes of transportation connected to the Beltline. Other strategies being studied to address current and future Beltline needs include potential enhancements to transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

How To Drive The Flex Lane

Signs located above the Flex Lane will indicate when the shoulder lane is available for use. A narrated video is available on the WisDOT YouTube channel on how to drive the Flex Lane.

  • A green arrow will show the lane is open for travel. The lane will be used during:
    • Peak travel periods
    • Special events
    • Incidents impacting traffic
  • A red X will be displayed when the lane is closed. When closed, the median shoulder should be used for emergency stopping only.

Cameras and sensors on the Beltline will give WisDOT traffic operators real-time views and data to efficiently maintain the Flex Lane system.

When traveling the Beltline, motorists are urged to buckle up, follow the posted 55 mph speed limit, pay attention to the road ahead and be courteous to other drivers.

What Community Leaders Are Saying About The Flex Lane

“We all agree that the Beltline is in need of an overhaul but that may not be a reality for 10 or 15 years. Meanwhile, Madison Region businesses and our population continue to grow. For these reasons, the MadREP Board of Directors supports the Beltline Flex Lane initiative.”

– Jason M. Fields, CFEI, CCRS, Madison Region Economic Partnership President and CEO


“As part of our Freeway Service Patrol, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office has a deputy assigned to the Beltline on weekdays (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to assist motorists, clear road blockages and keep traffic flowing. Although many first responders were initially skeptical about the Flex Lane, we educated ourselves and learned more about the plan, including how this traffic management strategy is used in other states. We also participated in numerous meetings with WisDOT and other partners. We look forward to the Flex Lane improving overall safety and reducing congestion on the Beltline.”

– Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett


“With traffic on the Beltline back to normal levels, reducing congestion is of critical importance to the community, including the thousands of Epic staff, customers, recruits, and service providers who use the Beltline every day. Once the Flex Lane opens, it will provide a solution to alleviate rush-hour congestion on an important transportation artery.”

– Jim Schumacher, Director of Facilities, Epic


While the Flex Lane is a first for Wisconsin, 17 states have implemented the concept including neighboring states: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. Each state has found success with better travel time reliability and safer highways. This measure is recognized as a safe and reliable way to alleviate congestion – especially during morning and afternoon rush hour.

Information on the Flex Lane can be found at wisconsindot.gov/FlexLane. To read more about our involvement in the project, visit our project portfolio page for the Beltline Flex Lane.

Tips for Parking Lot Lighting Installation

Expert parking lot lighting installation can represent significant savings in the operation of a business or commercial enterprise. Not only does it provide for a safe environment for customers and employees, but a professional parking lot lighting installation can also actually bring more clients into an establishment. A well-lit and inviting exterior space provides an instant positive impression to potential patrons.

There are a number of factors that need to be considered prior to undertaking a parking lot lighting installation project.

Light Source

While historically, HID lighting has been the most common light type, efficient LED lights have become more popular over the years. While they may represent a premium on initial cost, the savings in energy and maintenance, as well as bulb life, more than justify a higher initial cost.

Pole Positioning

Consideration should be given to the actual positioning of the poles in the lighting grid. The type of bulb, the reflector, if any, and wattage all will play a key factor in determining how many and where poles will be needed to adequately light the space.


If you are upgrading an existing parking lot lighting installation, it is likely that the original poles were selected to enhance the architecture of the property. The goal may be to modernize the installation in which case, replacing the existing poles with new ones may be the goal. Depending on the type of bulbs used in the illumination, light color can also influence the overall aesthetics of the finished project.

Surge Protection

As part of the overall project plan, be sure that proper surge protection is part of the installation. This will save energy costs as well as lighting grid maintenance over time.

Selecting the right electrical contractor for your parking lot lighting installation should be easy. With over 90 years of experience as a reliable and trusted electrical construction contractor, including parking lot and parking garage lighting installations, the team at Westphal & Co. are uniquely suited to provide for all your parking lot lighting needs. Be it a new installation, upgrading an existing lighting grid, or maintenance on failed or damaged lights, the pros at Westphal have the expertise, experience, and equipment to get your lighting operating cost-effectively and safely. To schedule a consultation on parking light installations for municipal and commercial parking lots, contact us at (608) 222-0105 or submit a form through our website.

When Do I Need a Backup Power Supply for My Business?

Wisconsin’s hot and rainy season is here and serves as a good reminder to prepare for a possible power outage. Businesses grind to a complete halt when they lose power. This coming year, be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at your business with a commercial standby generator.

Restaurants Need Backup Generators

When the power goes out, restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, and coffee shops stand to not only lose business, but their inventory as well. Without refrigeration, foods will spoil. Dirty dishes will stack up in sinks. Bathrooms won’t be usable. Without electricity, chefs and baristas can’t whip up their signature dishes and drinks. With a commercial standby generator, however, a food service business will not only keep their business humming along even during the worst weather, but can also serve as a source of sustenance to area residents and first responders who, too, have lost power.

With a commercial standby generator, their business will keep running, serving meals to those who lost power. After the power emergency passes, a business will get even better from the positive image they earned from staying open while others had to shut their doors.

Healthcare Facilities Can Stay Open

Without power, healthcare facilities—doctors’ offices, hospitals, and nursing homes—can’t perform surgeries, administer oxygen or IV medications, keep refrigerated medications cold, or keep patients warm. Even more important, they won’t be able to help those people impacted by the hazards caused by the foul weather. The cost—both in revenue and in human capital—is immense.

The benefits of a backup generator are a must-have for a healthcare facility. The facility’s role as a public servant in times of emergency demands that it has a dependable source of power.

Banks and Financial Services Businesses Need a Generator

In today’s competitive environment, a business who allows power outages and bad weather to shut it down will soon find its clients going to another provider. In a power outage, people will need cash. If the banks and ATMs shut down due to lack of power, people won’t be able to purchase food, water, or other needed items.

Generators Keep Retailers’ Lights On

Retailers who can’t keep the power on in their stores will miss out on the opportunity to sell the very items people require to meet their basic needs during  a power outage. Batteries, bottled water, flashlights–even charcoal for those who must cook outside–are necessities. Retail gas stations, too, provide needed commodities. Without a commercial standby generator, these businesses won’t be able to serve the public and generate revenue.

With a Commercial Power Generator, Office Buildings Keep Going

Without a commercial standby generator, most of today’s high-tech office equipment won’t work. Without power, an office’s water will not run, hence exposing its employees to health hazards due to the lack of sanitation. In a heat wave, employees may suffer heat exhaustion without air conditioning. 

With a standby power generator, though, these businesses and organizations can keep most of their services going until power is restored. So can yours.

Think about what could happen to your business without the benefits of a backup generator provides. Before the next power emergency, sit down to assess your risks, as well as how much power you’ll need during a power outage. Consider a permanent standby generator that turns on automatically when the power goes out for continuous coverage. 

In most cases, the ability to stay open during stormy weather or other power outages will pay for the cost of the generator many times over. When you compare the initial cost with the money you’ll save over the years, you’ll wonder why you haven’t bought one sooner. Discover the peace of mind you’ll enjoy when you have a backup power source for Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather events. 

If you find yourself needing to review your backup power supply, Westphal & Co. Electric Contractor is the upper Midwest leader for generator installation.

Westphal & Co. Completes Largest School Solar Array In Wisconsin

Monona Grove High School is celebrating the upcoming commissioning of the largest K-12 school solar PV array in Wisconsin. After several years of planning and budgeting, the school district worked closely with several partners including Westphal & Co. to bring the project to life. Using a $300,000 grant from the State of Wisconsin Public Service Commission and Focus on Energy, the $1.3 million project will pay for itself over its planned 30-year life.

Westphal & Co. was responsible for the installation of more than 1,400 solar panels and the connection to the power grid. Learn more about the project here.

How Much Power Will the Array Produce?

The array covers about two-thirds of the school’s roof and will generate 845 Mega-Watt hours of power or about half of the school’s annual electricity usage. It will be cash flow positive in the first year, and the district anticipates saving around $20,000 each year or $1.5 million in energy costs over 30 years.

“There’s no downsides to this decision to do this,” Sobol said. “It saves money, it’s good for the environment, it’s a positive message for students, it’s an educational message for students.”

One of those students is sophomore Krishna Elwell, a student member on the committee. He said the project makes him feel hopeful about the future. “This feels really inspiring that we actually can do something, and I have a lot of confidence that when people see these solar panels, they’ll feel the same way I do,” he said.


Environmental Benefits of the Project

The project replaces coal-fired electricity that currently powers the building. The array will offset the burning of more than 16,000 tons of coal, reducing harmful coal-related air emissions, including:

  • over 44,000 pounds of smog-producing nitrogen oxide emissions
  • 5,400 pounds of particulate emissions
  • 2.8 pounds of mercury emissions
  • and 31,000 tons of carbon dioxide!

Additionally, all rooftop panels are American-made in Dalton, Georgia by the Hanwah company.

About Us

Westphal Electric has been serving the Madison, Janesville, Dubuque, and Milwaukee areas for more than 90 years. We’re the team of electricians you can trust. We believe in providing residential and commercial electric services for maximum convenience for you. We offer solar panel installation and servicing so that you can trust our team each step of the way and never feel left in the dark. Click here to view additional solar projects from Westphal & Co.

Installing a Tesla Wall Connector in Your Home

If you have a Tesla, one of your choices for keeping it charged is Tesla’s own Wall Connector. The third-generation Tesla Wall Connector delivers a complete overhaul of the unit’s previous iterations. Yes, the new wall charger has a different (and truly beautiful) look, but the changes under the hood are significant.

The Tesla Wall Connector is one of the easiest ways to have your car charged and ready to drive each morning. Take a look at some of the reasons to install the third-gen Tesla Wall Connector.

Fast Charging

Tesla promises 44 miles of range per hour of charge, and that’s what the Wall Connector delivers. You can charge your Tesla overnight, and most people should be able to get the charge they need for their daily commute in far less time. This means that when you’re ready to drive, your Tesla is ready for you.

No Need to Change Your Home’s Electrical Setup

The Tesla Wall Connector can be installed in just a few hours, and it’s compatible with nearly all home electrical systems. You’ll get the fastest charging if the circuit breaker you’re using matches the onboard charging capabilities of your Tesla. However, if your home has unusual power capabilities, the Wall Connector also works with circuit breakers of lower amperage.

Tesla Model S home charger

Beautiful Aesthetics

If you care about how things look in your garage, you’re likely to love the third-gen Wall Connector. It’s smaller than previous versions, so it takes less space on your wall, and its glass-over-white display is admittedly cool in every way.

Delivers the Amount of Charge You Need

Yes, the previous Wall Connectors delivered up to 80 amps of charge, and the third-generation delivers only 48 amps. However, this matches the AC charge capabilities of the cars themselves, which are limited to 48 amps. The only people who might need more than that are owners of the earliest Model S Teslas which had the option for dual onboard chargers, each of which could handle 40 amps. Even if you swapped your Tesla for another electric vehicle, no car on the market accepts more than 48 amps, so your new Wall Connector delivers the charge you need.

Wi-Fi Connection

The newer Tesla Wall Connector is also a smart charger that comes Wi-Fi enabled. That means you can control the charger via your smartphone without having to set switches manually, as was required on previous models. The charger also gets firmware updates automatically thanks to its Wi-Fi connection. Future smart features are anticipated, most likely including the ability to connect to your solar power array and to your electrical provider’s demand response program, as well as connection to devices like Amazon Alexa.

Affordable Price

The upgraded Wall Connector comes at the same price as the previous versions, which is competitive indeed. The Tesla Wall Connector, in fact, sells for less than some of its competitors, so there’s little need to shop around.

If you’re ready to install a new Tesla Wall Connector, our residential electricians at Westphal & Co. are here to help. We can help you choose the right location for your car charger — an important decision, since it’s a permanent fixture. We can let you know if you need to upgrade your home’s electrical system to get the most out of your Wall Connector. And we can also provide you with whole-house surge protection to protect not only your Tesla Wall Connector, but all the electrical components in your home.

Contact us today for safe, reliable installation of your third-generation Tesla Wall Connector in the Madison, Milwaukee, Janesville, or Dubuque area.


Tesla Home Charger Installation Google Review

“I just got the new Model S and had ordered the home charger with the car.  I could not find anyone that knew what they were doing, but then I called Westphal.  They gave me a fair quote and did an amazing clean professional installation.  I highly recommend these guys for home car charger installation.”

– Review submitted by Brittany M.

Popular Home Electrical Projects For Spring

When someone says “spring cleaning,” our minds usually go right to dusting, vacuuming, and packing away the cold weather clothes. While all of those things are important, you should also remember that your electrical system needs some spring maintenance as well. For a complete inspection of your home’s electrical system in Wisconsin and Iowa, you can rely on Westphal & Co.


Out with the Old and in with the New

If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to replace all of your lightbulbs with LEDs. LED lighting offers superior efficiency with full-spectrum color options. This affords more versatile lighting at a fraction of the energy usage of traditional bulbs.

Smart Tip: Take your home lighting to the next level with smart lights that you can control with your smartphone or tablet.


Updating Fixtures

Spring and summer are remodeling season. The mild weather creates the perfect conditions for completing indoor AND outdoor projects. While remodeling your home, consider upgrading your electrical fixtures as well. Upgraded fixtures can make your home more efficient and improve its aesthetics as well. If your remodeling project involves taking out walls, have the master electricians at Westphal & Co. check that and make sure everything is up to code.

Smart Tip: Consider adding smart outlets throughout your home including USB fixtures for efficient device charging and even outlets you can turn on and off remotely with your phone.


Light Up Your Landscape

Now that temperatures are warming up, you will probably want to be spending more and more time outside with family and friends. Let your time together run late into the evening by having landscape lighting installed. You can improve curb appeal and safety outside your home with the right landscape lighting!

Smart Tip: Add lighting controls that you can monitor via phone app.


Generator Maintenance

Spring showers can often turn into spring storms, and spring storms can knock out the power to your home. Your backup generator can keep the lights on for as long as you need it, but only if it is properly maintained. With a Westphal & Co. generator technician, we’ll make sure everything is running smoothly!


For ALL of Your Residential or Commercial Electrical Needs, Call Westphal & Co!

No matter the job, big or small, the professionals at Westphal Electric will be happy to discuss your project and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer free in-home consultations, plus an after-hours and emergency phone line for advice or service!


5 Most Important Electrical Services for Homeowners

Westphal & Co. can help keep your electrical system in tip-top condition. We’ve made this guide listing the key services we perform for homeowners in need of a licensed electrician. Read on to discover what they are, their importance, and when exactly you need them.

1. Upgrading a Circuit Breaker Panel

A circuit breaker panel is a safety device that distributes electricity in a home. Modern panels typically provide 200 amps of power, while older ones can supply just 100 amps. Very old ones, usually in homes built from 1950 to around 1965, only provide 60 amps. If you still have a 60- or even a 100-amp panel, it’s a good idea to upgrade your circuit breaker panel.

For starters, 200 amps are now the standard capacity for single-family homes. A 200-amp panel doesn’t use more electricity itself. Instead, it makes more electricity available by giving you more electrical capacity. For example, it lets you add more circuits that can then supply new electrical appliances. Please note that only a licensed electrician can upgrade a circuit breaker panel in Wisconsin. In fact, only state-licensed electrical contractors can do electrical work in Wisconsin.

2. Electrical Repairs

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 347,000 home fires occur annually in the U.S. Of these, 6.8% were due to electrical malfunctions, and over 5% were due to appliances and equipment.

Please keep in mind that a single small flame can turn into a massive fire in just half a minute. This flame, in turn, can start from a faulty electrical wire or outlet. Such malfunctions can occur due to age, overloaded wiring, or even rodent damage. If you live in an older home, an aging electrical system can put you in such danger. Typical causes include:

  • Overloading outlets
  • Constantly flickering lights
  • Inoperable outlets
  • Rodent damage

If you’ve experienced or seen any of these, please take them as signs that you need electrical repairs or rewiring. Don’t delay getting these issues addressed, as they can all contribute to a house fire.

3. Electrical Updates to Bring Your Home Up to Code

The Wisconsin state electrical code is followed throughout the State of Wisconsin. As a law, it applies to every property owner, including homeowners. However, these standards often get revised now and then. As such, many homes that have already existed prior to the revision are most likely not up to code. Common code violations include wire overcrowding and overloaded or undersized circuits.

Using old wiring for new light fixtures and mislabeling circuits are also widespread. Many older homes also violate the code by not having GFCI or AFCI protection.

If you’re home might be in need of a electrical upgrade, you can start by scheduling an electrical safety inspection. These comprehensive inspections will reveal not only potential violations but dangerous situations, too. From there, our electricians will educate you about your repair or upgrade options.

4. Safety and Security System Installation

Your local licensed electrician from Westphal & Co. can help you improve security in your home. For starters, we can install outdoor security lighting to illuminate your property’s exterior. We also install safety lights and automation systems for home lighting. Our electricians are experts in installing video doorbells, too.

5. Installation of a Whole-Home Surge Protection System

Lightning strikes, grid disruptions, and tripped breakers can all cause a power surge. However, it can also result from the use of high-power equipment, such as air conditioners.

In any case, power spikes can cause internal damage to electronics and appliances. They can fry circuit boards and even destroy LED lightbulbs. Even smaller power surges can cause slow deterioration of your pricey devices. A whole-home surge protector guards your valuables against these effects of power spikes and can cost a fraction of what you’d otherwise pay to replace appliances and electronics damaged by power spikes.

Keep Safe and Secure With Professional Electrical Services

There you have it, five of the most crucial electrical services that can help keep your home safe and secure. From panel upgrades to wire repairs, a licensed electrician from Westphal & Co. can safely carry them all out for you.

Ready to make your Wisconsin home safer and more secure? Then please know that our team here at Westphal & Co. is ready to help! Connect with us now, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you with all your electrical needs.

9 Tips for Whole Home Surge Protectors

Summer thunderstorms will be here before long and with them comes a lot of lightning. In fact, despite not being in Tornado Alley, Wisconsin is still a Top 20 state for cloud to ground lightning strikes each year. Which means Wisconsin homes are more susceptible to direct strikes and power surges that can be lethal to home electronics.

The cost of replacing a refrigerator, televisions, computers, air conditioner, or other major electric appliance can be thousands of dollars. It’s enough to make you nervous every time the forecast calls for heavy rain. The good news is that a whole house surge protector can keep them safe. Your expensive home appliances don’t have to be at risk of being damaged by electrical surges.

To help you understand more about power surges and how to protect your home, here are the most common questions we hear about whole-home surge protector installations.

1. What Is an Electrical Surge, and Why Is It a Threat to My Electronics and Appliances?

An electrical surge is a brief voltage spike in an electric circuit. This blast of extra current can overwhelm the electrical elements inside an appliance or electronic device like a computer or television. The surge can cause an arc of electricity within the device, generating heat that damages the circuit boards and other electrical components.

2. Is Lightning the Only Thing That Causes Electrical Surges?

There are two sources of power surges, external and internal. Lightning is one type of external power surge.

Power grade failures, downed power lines, and line maintenance can all disrupt the even flow of current on the lines that bring electricity to your home. As a result, external power surges can enter your home and affect every electrical device inside it.

3. What Are Internal Sources of Power Surges?

More than half of all power surges are caused by issues inside your home. Some internal causes of power surges include tripped circuit breakers, short circuits with damaged or frayed wiring, and defective appliances.

They can affect every device that is drawing power from the affected circuit.

4. What Does a Whole House Surge Protector Do?

A whole house surge protector safeguards your home’s entire electrical system; unlike smaller surge protectors, which only protect the device plugged into it, a whole house surge protector shields every outlet in your home.

When a power spike or surge tries to enter your home through the power lines, the whole house surge protector redirects the excess power to the ground. This effectively prevents the power surge from reaching any outlet or appliance inside your home.

5. Are the Electric Lines the Only Way for an External Power Surge to Enter a Home?

No. An external surge, like lightning, can follow any line leading into your home. That includes your phone line, cable TV feed, fiberoptic cables, and satellite TV cables.

This is one of the reasons a small surge protector hooked to a single device can’t protect your whole home.

6. What Types of Surge Protectors Are Available?

There are basically three types of surge protectors – whole house surge protectors, wall-mount surge protectors, and corded surge protectors.

A corded surge protector often looks like a plug strip and also serves that purpose. It is plugged into an electrical outlet, and the device you want to protect is plugged into it.

A wall-mount surge protector is similar, except there is no cord. It plugs directly into a wall outlet, and electrical components or appliances are plugged directly into it.

Both of these types of surge protectors only protect the devices plugged into them. In contrast, a whole house surge protector shields the entire electrical system, including hardwired items like smoke alarms, garage door openers, and jacuzzi tubs.

7. I Already Have a Surge Protector for My Computer; Do I Really Need a Whole House Unit?

There may have been a time when your computer may have been the only sophisticated electronic device you owned. That is likely not true today. Modern appliances like refrigerators, washers, ovens, and dishwashers contain complex electronics. Home entertainment equipment like Smart TVs and smart speakers are also susceptible to surge damage. A whole house surge protector safeguards them all.

Severe power surges can damage your home’s wiring and cause electrical fires. The small surge protector your computer is plugged into can’t protect you from that.

8. Where Is a Whole House Surge Protector Installed?

Unlike wall-mount and corded surge protectors, a whole house surge protector is hard-wired into your home’s electric panel. Because your electric panel is the central hub of your home’s electrical system, installing it there makes it possible for the surge protector to shield your entire home. Sometimes all of the components are inside the panel box. Sometimes there is a smaller, secondary box installed.

9. Is Whole House Surge Protection Installation a Do-It-Yourself Task?

Since a whole house surge protector is installed on your electric service panel, it’s a job that is best left to professionals. A licensed electrician has the expertise to safely access and work inside your main power panel. They know how to properly ground the surge protector so that spikes in electricity are safely carried away from your house.

Getting a Surge Protector for Your Own Home

A whole house surge protector safeguards every outlet in your home. It protects all of your smart devices, as well as your electrical system. If you are looking for an electrician in Janesville or Madison, WI or Dubuque, IA, the experts at Westphal & Co. are licensed electricians with over 90 years of experience. Contact us today to learn about the whole-home surge protection options available for your home.