Whole Home Surge Protection/Power Conditioning for Dedicated 20A lines

As some of you my know, I plan on running three 20A circuits to my system this fall, using a 60A subpanel and three 20A breakers via 10/2 Romex. From what I have read, this seems to be the best approach anyway.

Also in my research, I have come across a couple of items from Environmental Potentials, specifically the EP-2050-EE power conditioner and EP-2750 ground filter. I was thinking these would be a good add-on for the dedicated subpanel.

For outlets, I’m thinking I’ll go with Hubbell IG8300’s which have isolated grounds. Not exactly sure what the means as far as the outlets are concerned, but saw several people mention over others, not to mention they accept 10 AWG cable.

Is there anything else I should consider? Would a whole home surge protector from the power company (TECO in my case) be good? Not really too concerned with price as I want it to be done right the first time, and labor will be paid for in a cook-out. It’s good to have an electrician as a friend!

I have a similar setup, 100A subpanel, 6 30A circuits with 10/2 Romex (cryoed) and a EP2000 in the subpanel. Works well for me.

According to the manufacturer the EP2000 protects against surges and even lightning strikes (except possibly for a direct hit). So if your main concern is audio equipment and less the rest of the house the EP should be adequate. I’m not sure of the current price but they have increased significantly since I got mine (around 2007). But it is probably cheaper than the whole house protector.

1 Like

Below is copied from a PDF I got from Shunyata back in 2014. In addition, when I talked to them on the phone they recommended a whole house surge suppressor. Of special interest is their recommendation that the wiring to each outlet be exactly the same length. I also seem to recall a recommendation that each circuit on the panel be on the same phase.

BEGIN PDF content
For safety sake: a qualified electrician should perform all of these recommendations.

It is important to ensure that you have a good earth ground for the electrical system. If the grounding rod is old or very corroded, it should be replaced. An electrician should test the “true” impedance to ground with the proper ground test instrument. It may be advisable to install a secondary grounding rod per NEC or local code requirements. It helps if the grounding rod is installed where the soil is moist, as in a garden. If the soil is usually dry - consider putting in a garden flower patch with some good mulch and keep it watered. This sounds strange, but it helps.

Ensure that the ground strap (connected to the rod) is in good condition and that the contacts are corrosion free.

Check all ground connections within the electrical panel. You will find that many
connections become loose over time. This will introduce ground plane noise into your electrical system.

It is important for your electrician to understand that you are seeking the lowest possible “electrical noise” level in your electrical system - not simply current requirements.

The Cadillac of grounding systems is a “grounding grid”. This is an electrical grid or mesh that is buried underground.

The impedance of your grounding system will profoundly affect the perceived noise floor of your audio system.

If wiring distance to your main electrical panel is less than ~20 feet (or you are not installing multiple electrical lines) you will not require a sub-panel. Simply ensure that all electrical lines that service your A/V equipment are exactly equal lengths. If you install multiple dedicated lines and the ground wires are different in length - you may introduce ground potential differentials (which cause ground loop problems). Also make sure that the same size and brand of wiring is used for all the circuits. The goal is to achieve equal ground path impedances across all the dedicated lines. If the distance from your A/V system to the electrical panel (in wiring distance) is over 20 feet – I would recommend that you install a sub-panel. Of course, this only applies if you are installing multiple electrical lines for the system.

The sub-panel should be overrated - which means that if the electrician has calculated a total service requirement of 100 amps - you should install a panel and associated wiring that will support a 200-amp service. This is very important. Electrical code was developed to prevent fire -not to ensure optimal
performance for audio and video systems. Ensure that all electrical lines that service your A/V equipment are exactly equal lengths. Coil excess wiring within the wall if necessary.

If the main electrical panel is old and corroded or you have an old “fuse box” - replace it with a new unit.

For the circuits that will be powering your A/V equipment – install new electrical breakers for each circuit. I recommend the CarlingSwitch brand name.

Ensure that all connections are corrosion free and securely tightened.

All service lines should be “overrated”. This means that a circuit that is intended for 15A service should use 12 AWG wire as a minimum. 10 AWG is preferable for all electrical circuits. DO NOT downsize the ground wire. NEC code allows the use of a smaller ground wire - use the same size ground wire as is used for the hot and neutral.

Use the best quality outlet available from the Hubbell brand. HBL52xx or HBL53xx series is good or the HBL82xx / HBL83xx series.

The highest performing outlet is the Shunyata Research SR-Z1 outlet. It is a derivation of the Hubbell 5362 series but modified to our specifications. The outlet takes advantage of our alpha cryogenic treatment as well as having no ferrous material, and increased chassis size for heat dissipation.


A direct run from the panel, or sub panel in your case, to the receptacle will be an isolated ground no need to spend the extra for an iso ground receptacles. I would recommend the Hubbell 8300 hospital grade or Hubbell 5362. These are both excellent beefy receptacles that will have a vice like clamp. Most ‘audiophile’ receptacle are based on either of those.

As for a whole house surge protector I believe that adding one to your main panel would protect your sub panel and you would gain the protection for the rest of the house. I have read that some folks think that a whole house surge protector can degrade sound quality, but I don’t have any first hand experience with that.

1 Like

I can vouch for the Hubbell 5362’s and the 8300’s. Both high quality in every way.

1 Like

Yes the Hubbell 8300s are the way to go. As far as surge protection, go whole house.

1 Like

Chops, not to get into the minutia of this any more than maybe we are…… but, I would suggest using Eaton, Semans or Square D for the sub panel and circuits. Square D maybe being the best. While I have no idea how these ‘sound’ I know that they are reliable and very well made. The Square D / Hubbell combo is kinda thought of as a gold standard in the commercial and industrial fields. Also make sure your electrician is using a Klein screwdriver….

That last part about the screwdriver was meant as a joke, well kind of. :rofl:


Specifically SquareD QO series, sidestep the SquareD Homeline Series.
I do use Klein screwdrivers, as well as Snap-On hand tools in general, and Estwing hammers. Just sayin’. :wink:


Thanks everyone for the advice so far!

Since EP only offers the EP2050-EE these days ($1k), I can hold off on that at first and have it added a little later down the road. And if I have the new subpanel completely bypassing the main panel (connecting to the main feed outside the house), I’ll get the EP2050-EE for the subpanel and one from the electric company for the main breaker box.

And speaking for breaker boxes, the main box is already a SquareD QO series. Hopefully SquareD makes a subpanel with a copper bus bar as that’s what I’d want.

bstanwick, lots and lots of excellent information in your post! Thanks!

As for the isolated ground outlets, you guys do know that the Hubbell IG5300 / IG8300 series, which most “audiophile” outlets are based off of (including the PS Audio PowerPort Classic) are isolated ground outlets, right?

The green dot means it’s a hospital grade outlet, the triangle means it’s an isolated ground outlet. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what the “IG” in IG5300 and IG8300 stands for.

Ensure all the audio power lines are on same phase. Take ground off main panel at top of buss bar same for hot and the. neutral.

I posted a link somewhere in this forum in a power thread to all the do’s and don’ts.

This site has the most comprehensive information. It is not te exact article but most of info is in this link. He wrote the article I shared.

I ended up with a power regenerator and I like the sound best with amps powered. My amps have huge capacitor banks and you need insane volume for extended periods to drain them. Faster than they will recharge. Some amps do better off the wall. Since I ran dedicated lines myself the cost was my labor

1 Like


Check out the Cruze Maestro outlets. That’s what I’m using in the new room I’m building. They are located in Pembrooke Pines. Also the Cryo’s 5362 and 8300 outlets from Take Five Audio.

1 Like

I don’t think I want to take ground, hot and neutral off of the main panel. I don’t the already questionable ground feeding the new subpanel. Even if taken from the very top of the buses, I would think the ground noise would still feed through. I could be wrong though.

I’ll read through that link you provided. Thanks!

Will do, along with the others you mentioned. Thank you!

I am using a mixture in the new room which will have four 20 amp circuits. Two Cruze Maestro’s in the center behind the rack and the two outside outlets for the subs will be the Cryo’d 5362’s from Take Five for now. I can always change them out later.

1 Like

I do hope you are going to be working with an experienced licensed electrician for this job. There is a significant safety risk involved, especially if you are considering a sub-panel feed ahead of your main circuit panel. The details are beyond this thread, which is why an experienced electrician is advised. Just a thought, you may want to PM @amsco15 who is most experienced in these matters.

1 Like

Thank you for your concern. Yes, my friend had his own business for 35+ years. He decided to retire early because for one, he could, but mainly because he didn’t feel like crawling around in crawl spaces or attics anymore, especially in 100*F+ heat.

He now works at the medical distribution warehouse where I used to work, doing maintenance on the machines and such around there. It’s a huge warehouse, but they keep it a nice 76*F in there.

He keeps up with his licenses so he can still legally do electrical work on the side. And depending on the kind of work (like what I want him to do) he only does that sort of work when cooler weather is here. In Florida, that isn’t very often nor is it very long.

1 Like

I’m glad to know you are in good hands!

1 Like