How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Phil Your Own Question
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 8437
Experience:  Retired electrical contractor, 51 years experience.
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
Phil is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

When installing runs of pipe in the ground some installers

Customer Question

When installing long runs of pipe in the ground some installers also place electrical surge protection in the ground with the pipe. These suppressors are usually metallic blocks. what are they? what metal is the block made of? Are these blocks reusable or replaceable?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
To my understanding, railroad workers also install such blocks into the railroad tracks to suppress electrical impulses from lightning and other aberrant electrical phenomena.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Where would I be able to buy one for my house to insulate it from an outside generator?
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

Welcome. My name is ***** ***** would be glad to assist.

Please provide more detail on what it is you are needing and why?

I see about the blocks, but what is the need here on a generator?

Is this a generator installation for your back up power?

Or other?

Let me know and we can continue,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is this an answer?
The question is: what are such blocks called, what are they made of, and where can I get one?
The use by me to reduce electrical shocks to an establishment or electrical pad sorta blows the issue out of proportion, or are you just narcking on me.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
24 hrs later, ... no answer!
Please, my good fellow, what is going on?
Apparently, I must apologize for my fragrant prevoius response. Might you shine you illuminariness upon my curiosity?
Is there answer as you promised?
Sincerely yours: Noel
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

I will put your question back to the board sir.

I have been tied up and unable to respond.

More information was asked, because you mentioned a generator. Only thing used with them are grounding rods, period.

Never heard nor seen a block used as described in 40 years so was trying to see what you have "heard"

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.


Long pipe runs, even some short runs of buried pipe are protected by having zinc blocks attached to them, called 'cathodes'... called 'cathodic protection'... this protects the pipe from electrolytic corrosion. (not any kind of electrical surges)

Click here for articles on such corrosion protection

Buried pipe and rail road tracks are continuously grounded naturally, neither have any sort of electrical surge issues.. its all about corrosion, the zinc blocks corrode before the steel when attached to steel.

Rails are connected electrically however above ground. it is a way to bleed the static electricity built up from the rolling steel on steel primarily but also diverts any lightning strikes more directly to ground.

Electrical surge protection from lightning strikes is done by the extensive use of ground rods... and with in line surge protectors, you can buy these to protect computers and other electronics from all sorts of surges and 'dirty power' common from the local utility, and with stand by generators.

Your interests will be in those areas exclusively.

Electrical surge protection is a complex topic, there is none yet developed that will protect from a direct lighting strike, ball lightning forming for instance inside the home, going 30 feet across the room to reach a ground such as a kitchen sink faucet.

I just spent a few days studying up on surge protection for my own computers.

Its searchable on google with the term's. "UPS, APC, surge protection, Joules" In summary get a UPS unit to plug your electronics into, those have a large battery inside, and a rectifier that filters incoming power... the higher the 'joule' rating the better and the more electrical spikes it will handle before it dies. A good one will cost between $150 and $250 depending its amp hour, and joules rating.

200 joules is a bare minimum, most quality UPS units are rated rated well over 500 joules.

You can study for a day or so on the details of how these surge protectors are fabricated. The cheapest ones are merely printed on circuit boards and wear away with each surge... the best ones are hefty solid state devices built to interrupt surges without damage to themselves (within limits)... (a direct lightning strike will toast everything, regardless.)

Let me know if that helps. and please do not forget to rate my work, its how I earn a living.

Related Electrical Questions