Crutchfield photographer J Stoll came home to a big surprise.
“I knew something was wrong,” he said. “There was a burning smell, and the ceiling fans were hanging by a wire.”
J hurried from room to room looking for fire. He flicked the light switch as he entered the kitchen. The bulb flashed on and instantly went out with a loud POP.
What caused the problem?
“A neutral wire failure,” J said, “the wire outside my house had simply deteriorated after years and years. There were no warning signs… just one day I came home and well…”
With no return path for the current, the two hot wires pumped 240 volts throughout J’s house. Anything that used 120 volts received twice the power it could handle. The ceiling fans whipped around at a violent speed until they burned out.
Assessing the damage
A few days later, the power company turned J’s power back on. Time to find out what worked and what didn’t.
Items plugged directly into outlets were lost. The list included four ceiling fans, the stove, microwave, washing machine, and refrigerator.
J’s wall-mounted TV was plugged into a Monster Power in-wall surge protector. His A/V receiver, cable box, router, modem, and Blu-ray player were connected to a Panamax MR4300 power line conditioner. All of these items survived.
The MR4300 uses a Panamax exclusive technology called “Automatic Voltage Monitoring.” It continuously monitors the amount of power coming in. When it sensed too much voltage, it switched off AC power to J’s gear.
J’s Monster in-wall outlet “took a bullet” to save his TV. While the outlet was rendered useless, it did its job and diverted the voltage away from his television.
The Panamax survived, and continued to work after power was restored.
Surges often enter and move around homes through the phone, Ethernet, or cable/satellite line. J ran these connections through his Panamax, protecting another pathway to his TV.
Time and money saved
The power company labeled J’s power event as an “act of nature” and would not pay for any of the damage. His insurance company covered the damage to the appliances and ceiling fans.
The audio/video electronics, had they not been saved by the power protection, would not have been covered. J tallied up the cost of the protected gear. His $350 investment in power protection likely saved him well over $3,000.
But it wasn’t just the money. J recalled the time and effort it took to replace the appliances. “I’m relieved,” he said, “that I didn’t have that hassle with the electronics.”