whole house protection

Recently our furnace was the victim of a power surge during a wind storm. Glad it was not the computer or audio components. Repair man said the furnace was probably running when it happened. If the furnace was not running it possibly may not have happened. We have protection for the computer and audio/video stuff but now I am thinking of installing a whole house surge protection or conditioner. Anyone out there with experience in this. Any comments. Recommend a product line?
See if you can find Leviton's white paper on this subject.To grossly oversimplify ( I'm not a sparky so can't go beyond that). You need one device installed across the service entrance - in other words the three wires that actually bring power into the breaker box-the power line at this point is very definitely capable of killing you-hire a electrician for this part of the job.. You then need a second layer of protection provided by boxes that can be installed in place of your conventional wall sockets.A feature of any surge suppressor that you want is a still live and kicken light(LED).A lot of surge suppressors will rely on some variation of the MOV - these oftentimes will work once - but will be "sacrificed" in doing it.Once these devices are blown - that's it - no future protection from the next hit.A green light/red light or no light feature at least gives you a chance to notice this device has been knocked out and replace it.
I would also suggest that having a electrician come in and spend a couple or three hours inspecting as much of your electrical setup as possible -down to pulling and visually inspecting each wall socket and switch -is well spent money. A LOT of how well your inside the house grid works is dependent on workmanship.The foundation point for most electrical systems is the simple wirenut -IMHO the dumbest piece of hardware ever invented.Some electricians have a personal quality standard that doesn't extend past -"no fire -didn't pop breaker -done" - unless you built your house - you just don't know.
Stonedeaf's exceptional comments are absolutely correct. In our former home in another state, one of our neighbors was an electrical contractor who installed a whole house surge protection system for us at an extremely reasonable price. Among the things he told us: (a) surges on the line can occur from many sources, including neighbors using high voltage equipment such as arc welders, etc.; (b) it is the turn-on cycle when the most dangerous and damaging surges occur which is why I always turn off all heating and cooling systems when there is an outage, and then do not turn them on until after power has been restored; (c) the expensive compressor in your refrigerator/freezer can also be highly vulnerable to surges. We installed our whole house system when we lost a compressor on a Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer even though there was no outage, but it turned out a neighbor was into car repairing and rebuilding and used an arc welder, among other equipment, for that purpose.
Just remember that a surge protector does not protect you from brown outs. They are two differant things and require differant devices for protection. The later is less costly to protect you from.
can anyone name some of the proven commercailly -availalbe products out there , that actually work?
Environmental Potentials products are designed to protect/filter at the service panel and at the outlets as required.
Just get a good Cost replacement "Rider" with your Home Insurance ...Thats the best protection one can have..I know .I lost some Audio Research pieces many years ago ( on xmas morning ) when I telephone pole transformer blew up in front of my house and destroyed my pride and joy tube preamp and amp ......I ended up with more money than they were worth and ended up buying newer pieces to replace them..The cost is minimal and the piece of mind is "Priceless"
Thanks much for the suggestions
I, myself, put in a SquareD QO surgebreaker I bought it from wwgrainger for my specific panel. It just plugs in the place of a double circuit breaker. You put it as far up towards the mains as you can. 100 bucks.
If you can wire your system up, you can put in a SquareD QO surgebreaker I bought it from wwgrainger for my specific panel. It just plugs in the place of a double circuit breaker. You put it as far up towards the mains (top) as you can. 100 bucks. It has the light to tell you if it is working properly. Shut the main breaker off, install...

"Protects electrical wiring, appliances, and electronics from dangerous power surges. Easily plugs into load center like a two pole circuit breaker. Safeguards the entire electrical system, not just outlets!"
Note that when you switch off the main switch-which is at the top of the board, the circuits below do now have power. But, the big airconditioner or heatpump outside has a capacitor which needs to be discharged carefully. It has significant power.
Secondly, the battery backups you have on the audio are now feeding a slight charge to the board as well.