When lightning storms strike in the local area, the potential of damage to a person’s home is real. However, there are some tips that can be used to help mitigate the effects of a lightning storm on a home’s electrical system. The best way to protect a home from storm damage is by investing in whole-house surge protection. However, it is also important to keep in mind that lightning is not the only thing that may damage the expensive electrical equipment in a home.
Sometimes, power surges may seem inconsequential. The outage in the kitchen occurred so quickly that a homeowner may have missed it. In fact, most people miss several smaller power surges that occur during the day. However, even a small surge through the home’s wiring can result in serious consequences for the electronics in the home and require repair from professionals.
What Causes Power Surges?
There are more than a few causes and sources of power surges. They can come from outside the home during overvoltages or power grid switching, or from inside the home, like when someone turns off or on a large appliance.
Even though larger power surges from a source like downed power lines and lightning are not that common, smaller incidents occur daily to a home’s electrical system. It is these frequent, small surges that can result in serious deterioration of all types of electronic items. When this happens, their lifespan is significantly reduced.
Some of the most common causes of overvoltages in a home’s electric system include short circuits, tripped circuit breakers, power outages, lightning strikes, malfunctions, inductive spikes, and electromagnetic pulses. Also, lightning can cause these issues. While the situation is rare, it can be extremely destructive and if it occurs, most homeowners wish they had invested in whole-house surge protection.
Tips for Protecting a Home and Electronics
Whole-house surge protection devices are going to be the very best defense against a potential power surge – of any size or magnitude. These are usually connected to the home’s electrical service box but can be found in more convenient locations, too. Today’s surge protectors use MOVs – metal oxide varistors – to help shunt any power surges.
While a point-of-use power surge is better than nothing at all, they will not be equipped to handle larger surges from an external source, like lightning or another high-energy surge. If a homeowner wants to prevent damage from a direct lightning strike, they must install a whole-house surge protection device.
Even though MOVs in some of the common surge strips may be destroyed after a single power surge, the ones that are used in a whole-house system can withstand larger surges for many years. Today’s homes – especially those with expensive electrical systems – will be built with whole-house surge protection, which is an extra perk of new construction.
Protecting a Home from Lighting Storm Damage
If you have not invested in whole-house surge protection, there are a few tips you can use to help prevent damage from a storm.
One of the first things to do include switching off the power to the water well pump at the breaker box. If the pump is damaged, the homeowner may be left with no water. If a severe storm is predicted, switching off the power to the well pump is just a temporary inconvenience, however, it is going to provide long term peace of mind.
If there are any electronics in the home, be sure that they are plugged into the surge protectors. The best way to protect electronic equipment, which includes an HVAC system and refrigerator is by installing whole-house surge protection.
If it is necessary to purchase or replace point-of-use surge protectors, try to find options with the UL label or a similar seal. In most cases, if the device is under $10, it probably does not offer very good protection.
It may also be smart to invest in a backup generator. This is beneficial if the power goes out. If there are homes with elderly or young residents, this is very important; however, it is also essential for everyone’s security, safety, and convenience.
Reasons to Invest in Whole-House Surge Protection
If a home does not yet have a whole-house surge protector, there are a few good reasons to invest in this.
Modern homes have many more electronic gadgets and electrical equipment than they ever have in the past. The home appliances that are purchased today have circuit boards, and they need to be protected from potential surges. Also, the newer LED bulbs have microcircuit boards, which are sensitive and can be compromised if an electrical surge occurs.
The total number of personal gadgets that are in a household have increased significantly in the past 10 years. Smartphones, pads, and computers all have essential information that must be protected. Data needs to be safeguarded and this is possible with professional surge protection.
Most Surges Occur Internally
The majority of power surges are extremely short and called transient. They usually start from a home’s appliances, which includes the motors in an air conditioner. These smaller surges are not going to cause serious damage, but as time passes, they can degrade the performance and reduce the lifespan of electronics and appliances.
It is smart to talk to an electrical professional about layering whole-house surge protection. This is especially important if there is an expensive or elaborate entertainment system or some other type of expensive set-up that includes electronic devices.
If an appliance in the home sends a surge through the shared circuit or one that is not dedicated, the other outlets may be compromised. This is one of the top reasons that a person wants more than a surge protector at their circuit panel. With a layered system, a person can feel confident their home and devices are fully protected from both internal and external surges.
When it comes to protecting a home from surge issues, whole-house surge protection is highly recommended. Keep the tips and information here in mind to see why this is such a smart investment.