We know how power surges are a direct result of lightning strikes. They can cause minimal to some very severe damages to electronics and electrical wiring within our homes. That is why you may often find that people tend to quickly jump to unplug certain electronic devices when there’s a thunderstorm in their area. And that they almost always recommend you to do the same – and they are right.
Billions of dollars are paid annually in lightning claims by US insurance companies, so you can only tell how serious the damaging effects are whenever there’s lightning in your area. Other than claiming insurance once the damage has been done, there are other methods of lightning protection that people can resort to.
Lightning and Home Electronics
Lightning may be one reason behind power surges, but it does not always trigger one. Lightning in itself can have quite damaging effects on our household electronics, as well as some obvious physical damage to the household structure as well. If a lightning strike were to hit your home it could cause a physical break within the walls or the roof, and it can even result in fires within the wiring in the walls. Why do you think people always rush to unplug their TVs, and microwaves, and the laptop if it is on charge.
Electrical surges that are a result of lightning can cause sudden high spikes in the electrical voltage. With that, any device which is plugged into an electrical outlet can receive up to ten times the amount it normally would require. Our home electronics, or any electronic device for that matter are not made to withstand the excessive voltage that they would receive in a moment like that. They either get damaged beyond repair in the process or have to be sent in for repair if the issue isn’t exactly fatal. Either way, you end up in hundreds of dollars when trying to replace the device or in getting it repaired. And you only get lucky sometimes if insurance plans on covering the cost.
How to Prevent the Damage from Lightning
Though some damages like fires within the wiring in the wall or a tear through your attic are things that happen by chance, there are still ways to protect your home electronics at least from any damage caused by lightning during thunderstorms.
Unplug Electronic Devices
One sure way to prevent your electronics from getting damaged, whether it is the TV, a laptop charger, the smart speaker or any kitchen appliance like an air fryer, unplugging electronics around the house in the time of a thunderstorm or one that’s approaching, can save you hundreds of dollars in repairs and replacements, and from potential dangers like short-circuiting too.
Using Surge Protectors
Using surge protectors to plug your devices into can protect them from getting damaged in the case where there is extra voltage passing through the outlet. So what exactly is a surge protector?
These devices resemble power extension cords or a socket with multiple outlets that are plugged into the power outlet first, and then you plug your electronics into the surge protectors. Surge protectors are in-built with circuit breakers that ground the extra voltage which is attempting to pass through the power outlet and onto the devices. Instead, they allow for only the allocated amount to pass through, as needed by each of the devices plugged in.
Subscribing to Surge Coverage Plans
The next best alternative to surge protectors is subscribing to a Surge Coverage Plan. So what do surge coverage plans entail? Let’s have a look
A great example to explain how surge coverage plans work is the one offered by First Energy Home. For as low as a monthly cost of $8.99 (for the first 6 months), get protection for your home electronics with covered costs of repairs and replacements in the case of any damage caused by a power surge. There are no deductibles, no hidden fees and no need to install any external device. With a simple payment plan you can get your devices ‘insured’ at reasonable rates.
When we say surge coverage plans provide protection to your home electronics, it can include anything from televisions, gaming consoles, air conditioners, laptops, smart devices, and then kitchen appliances too like microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves.
How Reliable Are These Methods
Let’s just say it depends on your luck when it comes to lightning and electronics. There is no way to predict the exact moment when it can occur so the three methods listed above are merely precautions one can take to make sure their devices are safe and can last long term.
Surge protectors come with one drawback only, and this is their price. Though they are just like any other power extension cord and external power socket, they and meant to detour the excessive voltage in order to prevent a voltage influx into your appliances.
With surge coverage plans there are several appliances listed in the contracts that are covered by the plan, but it really depends on the company itself which appliances they are willing to accommodate.
But then again, anything is better than nothing. Protecting your devices with the above listed methods can be very helpful!