FL Members - Storm Panels & Electricians?

Discussion in 'The VIP Lounge' started by Dan Driscoll, May 31, 2017.

  1. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    This question is primarily for the Florida residents, especially those who live along the Sun Coast and particularly from Tampa to Venice. Even better if in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.

    1. Our house came with hurricane/storm panels and the mounting points built-in. However, I have some physical issues and will not be able to put the panels up myself when we get a storm. I want hire someone to do it for us. Most of my neighbors plan to install their own or have a family member assist., but that is not an option for us. I'm sure there are other people who need to hire this done, so there must be someone offering this service. I just haven't been able to find them yet. Maybe I'm not using the right search terms?

    I'm also looking for cautionary tales. I already know I will need whomever I hire to sign a liability release or if they are a company, have them provide proof of insurance and workers comp. What else?

    2a. Any specific recommendations for whole house surge protection systems and/or installers?

    2b. Does anyone have FPL's system installed and if so, what do you think about it?

    FPL offers a whole home surge protection system with full coverage all appliances & electronics for $14.95/month, added to your regular power bill. It is installed at the meter, not in the panel.

    A basic panel mounted surge protection system for standard 200A service from an electrician seems to run in the $350 to $500 range, depending on the specific surge protector, expected lifetime, etc.

    Comment and suggestions welcomed.
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

    Well I can certainly speak to surge protection (and I'll address the shutters separately) having suffered lightning damage on March 23 and still not fully recovered. I don't have FPL's device but had (and mine was taken out by the strike) mine (pic below) in the outside meter box (have a bi-directional meter as my house has a solar system (but attached to the grid). I've had the whole whole surge protector replaced since the damage by the electrician (they are a bit more than $200 installed). My last two bills because of the sunshine and little rain were $8.55 with the pool pump running and I still have a small reserve and they are estimating as of this point my next bill as around $33. In addition to the whole house surge protection, and local surge devices/power conditions, I had one of these taken out (and it actually partially melted the inside of the receptacle and there was still some damage to stuff on the circuit but it could have been worse as it did its job and burnt out and tripped the circuit) - Yalu Bulala I've ordered a couple of more three packs since then (I think it about $56 with shipping) and have 8 of them now employed in various circuits and may eventually grab another 3 pack. The guy who did my low voltage wiring when the house was built is in FL a long time (and an audiophile) and has been hit twice. It's so hard to really predict what lightning damage will do and where. I had the electrician come in and test everything as well. There's just no rhyme or reason as to what gets damage. I think (but could be wrong) that the FPL is more of an insurance policy as when that much voltage hits there is nothing sold that can stop all the damage. Check your insurance policy about limitations on equipment (electronics and computers) as my agent even though was given the facts when I took out the initial did a poor job (will be gone and out of the picture over time) and the insurance company were assholes (basically I do all their work and have to control the work flow of outside businesses (e.g. electrician, gas pool heater, A/C repair, audio equipment) as if I had any control over that (one guy had a couple of people out with food poisoning - was I supposed to tell him to tell his employees to hurry up and get the rest of the vomit out and come right over?). They had the nerve afterwards to call me up and asked me if I was satisfied. I let them know I wasn't (and the person at the other end was very apologetic but I put it to them that when the premium paid thru the middle of next April is due don't expect a renewal - also let my insurance agent know (voice and emails) without screaming or cursing and they are afraid to call me back as they know what they did wrong -they sent me a thank you for renewing the policy which was done a couple of weeks before the incident at an appropriate date in my charge card billing cycle - and at this point I think they know they will be out of the picture over the next year as my policies will become do (either that or they are in denial)
    While house surge protector damaged.JPG
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

    btw - here's the pic of the Yalu Bulala that got taken out
    Yalu Bulala plus receptacle.JPG Yalu Bulala plus receptacle.JPG
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

    As to hurricane shutters, I moved here 3.5 years ago. Didn't even realize what was in the garage until just before I moved it (thought someone left scaffolding). I started to put up the first one (for last October's hurricane) and realized it was wrong (I had bought the proper screwdriver bit for the powered drill driver but ended up using a manual one as it worked better). I was running short of time (and have lots of windows) and of course I should have started a day earlier so I paid for a little help for a few hours to catch up. Discovered some problems with installation (a bad stripped bolt and in places where they didn't take into account moulding put around the windows later or door hinges and also I knew I didn't have all the shutters for all the windows and some were not labeled the way they should be). One shutter because of the bad bolt ripped off and took a couple of other bolts with them and mildly was bent. I also didn't do a couple of sliders in the back has it has some wind protection from the covered porch, screen enclosure and the big trees behind the house (a couple came down but further back in the wooded preserve and I had one of the ones put up but the builder get taken down - pic below). I called the construction manager and he had the people who did the work come back out. They fixed the ripped out bolts, gave me some longer screws for the stuff they didn't take it account and promised a new shutter for the one slightly bent but I didn't want to deal with their disfunctional scheduling (don't ask) so I just let that go. I found out the missing ones for the upstairs bonus room windows and slider was not done as they is impact resistant glass. Yes, in the heat and short time I left myself, it was challenging to get up (and I'm not a spring chicken - 65 with high mileage too). I learned a bit about shutters from the experience. The accordion ones they sell are easier to close and faster to get in place but don't protect as well. My advice would be to get a dependable handyman (ask around locally - there are also apps for smart phones like Thumb Tack or reviews online such as Google or Yelp) and call as early as possible. I went thru an experience as well in Northern VA where I had a tree at the bottom hill of my property that was probably wind damaged before and when there was a hurricane coming, I had to pester (and did so early) for them to get out there and take most of it down as they ended up doing when the winds were whipping and only hours before the full hit.
  5. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    Phil, thanks for the info, it will be helpful.

    The FPL offer is a combination of a Type 1 line surge protection device installed at the house meter plus insurance. The policy provides up to $5000 per appliance, per occurrence, per year. It also includes $5000 for repair or replacement of in-home electronics, but that is only per year. The caveat on the FPL system is that it is limited to line surges, so you still need a panel module for internal or lightning surges.

    I'll contact a few of the general handymen in the area and ask if they can put up storm panels. I want to establish a customer relationship with them before I need the panels put up. I don't want to be scrambling a day or 2 before a hurricane hits.
  6. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    I am not in FL but I will certainly echo Phil's point about whole house surge protector. I have had one installed in my house around 2003. In addition I have surge protectors on each of my electronic devices. Square D and DITEK are known brands any licensed electrician can install it. As for FPL's deal I have seen similar from First Energy my electric company here. IMO that is over priced. Your home insurance may already have the appliance coverage, might want to check the policy, or ask the underwriter you may be able to add it cheaper.

    A word of caution FPL may not be underwriting the insurance they may just be promoting for someone else for some extra cash on the side. This seems to be a new gimmick my gas, electric and water utility bills have all come stuffed with similar insurance offers with alarming words such as - Your connection to the house from the street is your responsibility any damage can leave you with thousands of bills.
  7. chad

    chad Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    We rent so have not installed anything.

    We have LCEC not FPL. Fpl covers the more urban areas around us.

    We have battery on everything.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

    When the house was being built, I paid $640 for a whole house protector. I was so busy working, dealing with my VA house fixing up and the construction and was told it was in the panel. What they meant was the outside panel. It was a small (about 4x4 inches) Intermatic box right next to the outside meter box. A bit over a year ago I finally noticed it and that the light (LED) was out. So I don't know if it ever worked or just got taken out sometime in the first couple of years. So I called the electrician and they put the Square D one in and disconnected the other. When I got hit, I got a friend of mine who is an electrician to help me get the panel cover off (it is a pain and he had trouble) and saw that the LED was out. So I called the electrician to check the circuits (I had done a bit of the receptacle already with my tested) and to replaced the Square D box.

    Dan - have gotten the FPL literature but never looked at it that closely. My old electric company had a similar deal that everyone thought was a huge rip-off. I am also pretty sure that if there are any surge protection devices that would really prevent damage from lightning, giving the voltage, it has to be few at the most and I'd bet they are expensive. I did start to look up lightning rods but I am not sure I like the idea. My pool screen is pretty high up and grounded and if it didn't attract it, I am not sure lightning rods would prevent (may help) any better. I was sitting in front of the PC when it happened could almost feel the electrical field and then a second later the monitor looked it came from the movie Poltergeist and was flashing off and on. My Dayton Audio sub in the next room sounded like it was doing a Walrus mating call and I shut that off. It took out that, the receiver in the main system and the center channel amp a couple of TVs and other stuff. Even though I went over it with my agent in detail when I took out the policy, there were policy limits (he should have advised about a rider but just told me it is covered - a lie).
  9. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    After doing more research on the FPL option I'm no longer considering it. The comments of people who have attempted to make a claim were not encouraging and the monthly fees can add up quickly.

    Unfortunately, that means I can't install a Level 1 protector. FPL only allows their own unit to be installed on the meter and you can only get that if you get their plan. So we'll do what almost everyone else does, get a Level 2 protector mounted in the panel. I'm checking out local electricians and have contacted a couple already. I should be making a a decision soon.
  10. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

  11. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

    The Intermatic box referred to above is the one that was originally installed that I noticed a bit over a year ago was not lit up (don't know if it ever was). The box is still sitting next to meter box (I'd have to paint and patch if I removed it). Still going to at some point make an inquiry about lightning rods.
  12. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

  13. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

    Thanks - interesting products. I do have solar panels. I did some preliminary research (did not get far) on lightning rods. From my understanding on residences, they use rods about 10 inches long on the corners and then connect everything via a chain link and then ground it. Certainly could be problem with solar panels if not done right. My first step is probably when my insurance policy is ready for renewal to check about getting a rider and see how much that costs. Depending on the cost, it may take many years (maybe even 20 or more) to equal what it would cost for lightning rods. So I'll go that route first and probably pick up a few more Yalu Bulala's.
  14. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    The lightning rod system should be on a completely separate ground from the house ground to avoid ground loop hum.
  15. GHilinski

    GHilinski Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Actually, it is not a gimmick. Must utilities do not cover any of the lines from the curb to the outer wall of the house. And, if you liven some very special areas where infrastructure sucks, you may have responsibility all the way to the main water or sewer line, power lines, etc. In california, these jobs can run up to $30,000 to repair a sewer or water line.

    A few things to think about. Most of these marketers of these plans also set up a hardship fund where they will pay x dollars per year to cover claims where the family just cannot afford to pay for the repair. Any extra money they make on the plan is usually repurposed into existing infrastructure improvements and not taken as profit. Finally look at the lead pipe crisis in the US. If your code says they find lead and you call for a repair, the whole line has to be replaced and you are on the hook for the whole amount.

    Any insurance is commonly thought of as a rip off until you have a problem and have to pay our of pocket.
  16. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Agree on the general principle that insurance feels like rip off until required. However, if one buys separate insurance for water, sewer, electric gas connections to the house it can easily end up being more expensive than buying such as coverage with the home insurance policy. I know Erie includes this coverage in their standard home insurance policy. Others may also I don't know.
  17. GHilinski

    GHilinski Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Most do not cover thee types of connections and usually people do not find it out until they have a problem. See it every day.

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