Home Maintenance and Security

How to Protect Home and Electronic Equipment from Lightning

Lighting can pose a major risk of damage to both renters and homeowners, as it can cause power surges that can damage your electrical circuits and devices. Lighting can destroy electronic appliances, even if it didn’t directly strike your house, as this can send a surge of electricity down to the electrical wires and into your appliances and plugged-in devices. If the strike of lighting is directly on your roof, it may even cause fire into your household.

Because of this, lightning doesn’t only affect the structure of your home and your belongings, but also human lives. Plus, thousands of houses and other properties are destroyed or damaged due to lightning strikes every year.  In this case, you must pay attention to protecting your property against lighting, especially if your area is prone to lightning strikes during storms. Here are some things you can do to protect your home against this:

1. Unplug electronics and appliances during a storm

At the very least, what you can do to avoid lightning damage to your electronic devices is to unplug them in anticipation of a storm. You might be busy at home sometimes and this may not pass your mind, but once you’ve heard thunder cracking, it’s time to unplug in anticipation of the series of lightning strikes that may hit near your area.

2. Check your homeowners/renters insurance coverage

It’s best to be cautious and prepared, but still, make sure your homeowners or renters insurance plans will cover damages caused by lightning. Remember, not all insurance plans are the same, and having insurance that will cover damages caused by lightning is a big plus.

3. Install a home lightning protection system

Simply unplugging will not help, especially when you’re in the middle of something while using an appliance or device. Installing a lightning protection system can help avoid unexpected lightning surges that can damage your appliance or cause injuries. A lightning protection system is a combination of highly conductive aluminum and copper materials used to provide a low resistance path to safely ground the dangerous electricity of lightning. Installing this system can make you receive a credit on your homeowner’s insurance.

A lightning protection system can include:

  • Lightning rods – Made of copper or aluminum, lightning rods are vertically mounted on the roof at regular intervals. These are designed as strike receptors to mitigate the potential damage that may be caused by a direct hit of a lightning strike.
  • Main conductors – Also made of copper or aluminum, these braided cables connect the air terminals to the grounds and other system components.
  • Grounds – These are rods driven at least 10 feet deep in the ground, which is required for all structures. These direct the lightning current to the ground to prevent damage to the structure.
  • Bonds – These joins metallic roof components and grounded building system to the main conductor to ensure conductivity.
  • Surge protectors – These are devices that act as a line of defense to protect electronic devices and appliances from power surges that can cause permanent damage. These range from simple power strips to more expensive units with built-in batteries, which are plugged into an electrical outlet. Your appliances and devices, in turn, will be plugged into the surge protector.

Most of these should be installed by an electrician or a professional, but in the case of surge protectors, you can buy them yourself. Here are some of the best options available on Amazon:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector

AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector

Tripp Lite 10 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip

APC 11-Outlet Surge Protector 3020 Joules

1. Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector

This one’s a great surge protector that can effectively protect your devices from sudden surges and spikes. It has 12 outlets – 4 stationary and 8 rotating ones for your convenience. This 4320-Joule surge protector provides maximum protection to safeguard satellite or cable box connections and also provides a 1-in 2-out RJ11 telephone and fax protection to ensure continuous phone line connections. The pivoting outlets give space for larger AC adapter blocks. It has an 8-foot long cable and also comes with a cable organizer.

2. AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector

A budget surge protector, this one from AmazonBasics comes in a two-pack set of 6-outlet power strips with a 2-foot cord. Each set has a 14-gauge system and 790-Joule, three-line surge suppression rating, which helps keep your plugged-in devices safe from power surges. The red LED light indicators to show when the surge-protector power strip is turned on, and when the light goes out, it means that the power strip needs to be replaced.

3. Tripp Lite 10 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip

This surge protector comes with 10 outlets and a set of RJ-11 jacks to provide protection against power surges and spikes not just for your plugged in devices and gadgets, but also for your telephone, fax and modem equipment as well. The outlets have mixed close and spaced-out outlets to provide space for large adaptors. It is equipped with a reasonable clamping voltage and power cutoff. With 2395 Joules, it means maximum protection for your items.

4. APC 11-Outlet Surge Protector 3020 Joules

Equipped with 3020-Joule surge protector power strip, this surge protector from APC is another reliable one. It has 11 power outlets with sliding safety shutters, and its well-made receptacles provide 6 widely-spaced outlets for larger adapters. It also provides telephone, network and co-axial protection in case power surge along your data lines happen. Its cord is 8 foot long and has a right-angle plug.

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