Surge Suppression on Water Wells

For years, we used lightning arrestors on our standard well systems- we still do, sometimes.  They are essentially springs that are designed to grab a lightning strike and make it burn itsself out in the coil, rather than in the pump or motor control.  It is as much as anyone we know of in our industry does.  We always said, “these things won’t always protect your system, but they are better than nothing.”
About 2006, we started installing Variable Flow Drives on more and more water wells.  These systems are essentially really expensive computers: a Franklin drive for a 5HP pump, for instance, is almost $4,000 for the part alone.

lightning damageAs we began installing these high-tech devices, we quickly saw a HUGE problem with our electrical protection systems, and it manifest itsself in unexplained electrical malfunctions with the drive controls.  About the time we started noticing the issue, we had a summer of awful lightning storms in Atlanta, and wound up doing over $40,000 of lightning-related damage repairs.  As we started digging into the lightning problem, we discovered that simple surges, power failures, and “dirty” power had likely been the cause of many of those other unexplained electrical issues.

Surge Suppressor

We started looking for a solution and found that there are several brands of whole-house surge suppressors that are rated for outdoor use and would not only protect the equipment from lightning, but also clean up the power supply.  Since they require 2 full spaces on a breaker panel, it meant we had to go back and completely redo our clients’ entire e
lectrical systems at the well head, but it was worth it!

Since we started installing these surge suppressors, we have not seen a single driver fail due to lightning nor power-supply related problems.



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About the Author

Rob Miller

Rob's background in Environmental Horticulture and the green industry, as well as time working as a Legislative Aide and Private Property Rights Advocate at the Georgia General Assembly, informs his unique perspective on metro Atlanta water issues, as well as water and its management as a global issue.