The peak season for lightning strikes is during the summer, with most deaths from lightning strikes occurring in June, July, and August. While the odds that you will be personally struck by lightning are one in 280,000, the chances that your home will be struck are significantly higher. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, one out of every 200 houses will be struck per year. Think about all of the electronic equipment you have in your home plugged into your home’s electrical system – televisions, computers, stereos, your air conditioner, garage door opener, etc. A lot of high dollar items are at risk every day. Are they safe?
Lightning Can Strike Your Home in Four Different Ways
● Direct strikes occur when the lightning hits the home directly. These are more rare than the other types of strikes, but can happen.
● Outdoor items can be struck providing a path for the lightning to get inside your home. Air conditioners, exterior lights, pool equipment, cable TV wiring, overhead power and telephone lines, security systems, etc. can all be struck by lightning. The lightning surges will then be carried inside the house through the wiring and then to anything connected to the wiring.
● Lightning can also strike the ground and travel through the soil reaching underground cables or pipes and following them into the building.
● Even if lightning strikes a nearby object such as a tree or flagpole not directly connected to the house, the lightning strike can radiate a strong electromagnetic field, which can be picked up by wiring in the house, producing large voltages that can damage equipment.
How Do You Protect Your Electronic Devices?
Maybe you have a surge protector between all of these electronic devices and the outlets they are plugged into. Surge protectors will be useful against normal peaks and fluctuations, but lightning produces an extraordinary amount of power. A bolt of lightning can peak at 100,000 or more Amperes. Even if you have a lightning protection system installed, and your house is hit directly by lightning, if the protection system takes even 99.9% of the current, then your electrical wiring may take the remaining 0.1%. Unfortunately, 0.1% of 100,000 Amperes is a 100 Amp surge through your lines, which may be enough to take out your computer. That equipment is also more vulnerable to surges produced by lightning, because it is networked with other equipment throughout, and even outside, the house. AC protection alone, the traditional approach, is totally inadequate to protect most of the equipment in a typical home. Lightning is an act of nature and therefore unpredictable and uncontrollable. The safest defense is to unplug all of your devices and appliances before a storm arrives.
Related Read: Does Your Home Have These 4 Electrical Hazards?
We Can Install Service-Entrance Surge Protectors
If you need protection against lightning strikes, call Jeremy Services and we can install a service-entrance surge protector to protect your entire house from voltage surges. These surge protectors are placed between the electric meter and the main electrical panel. They will protect the home’s entire electrical system including appliances and any device hard wired to the power source rather than just items that are plugged in. Service entrance protectors must be installed by licensed electricians.