There is a reason that September is National Preparedness Month – this time of year is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes and other severe weather like thunderstorms, excess rain and flooding, and more. It’s a good time to take stock of your home’s emergency preparedness, and that includes lightning protection.
Direct lightning strikes cause more than $200 million in fire damage each year, according to the Lightning Protection Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes lightning education, awareness, and safety. Such damages include the destruction of home appliances and electronics due to electrical surges. Lightning protection helps prevent or minimize the impact of these dangerous electrical surges. This makes your home safer and provides homeowners in lightning-prone areas some peace of mind.
What is Lightning Protection?
Interestingly, the lightning protection industry dates back to the Colonial era. In fact, it dates back to Benjamin Franklin and his theory that lightning contained electricity. Franklin believed the lightning could be drawn away from a building with a metal rod. Today, lightning protection systems “have a remarkable record of protecting against physical danger to people, structural damage to buildings, and failure of internal systems and equipment,” the experts at the Lightning Protection Institute state.
An effective lightning protection system includes five elements. The Lightning Protection Institute lists these components as:
- Strike termination devices, which contain patterns that accept lightning strikes before they reach a dwelling’s insulated materials;
- Cable conductors, which route lightning current over and through construction (without damage) between strike termination and the grounding electrode system;
- Grounding electrode system, which must move lightning to its final destination, away from the home and its contents;
- Bonding, the interconnection of the lightning protection system, which must keep lightning from sideflashing internally;
- Surge protection devices, require installation at every service entrance to prevent intrusion of lightning from utility lines.
The final building block – surge protection devices – are especially helpful for homeowners looking for cost-effective lightning protection, as well as protection against power surges.
Power Surges and Your Home Appliances and Electronics
While lightning may be the most dramatic destructive force that impacts home appliances and electronics, it’s actually a secondary driver of damage to these machines. Most harm to everyday gadgets results from daily surges from the local power grid. These energy spikes can happen up to 20 times a day for the average homeowner!
In many states, power grids remain outdated and overloaded. In particular, grids experience seasonal fluctuations, like when air conditioning units all over town kick on. As power demand increases, the grid simply cannot keep up. As a result, overworked grids create surge conditions and a lag in the flow of power. Have your lights ever dimmed for no apparent reason? That’s what a surge in power looks like, and the more it happens, the more your electronics and home appliances are susceptible to damage.
As power grids continue to age, and our reliance on electricity increase, power surges will worsen. And in an age when severe weather increases in – well, severity – it’s time to shore up your home and its devices against potential destruction.
Consider a Whole House Surge Protector to Safeguard Your Home
Put simply, whole house surge protectors are devices that prevent electrical shocks – from destructive events like lightning strikes or power surges – from damaging electrical appliances and gadgets. Think of all the electronics you have in your home: from TVs and phone and laptop chargers to gaming systems and even, in some cases, smart stoves and ovens. The last thing you want is for a sudden electrical surge to damage these expensive items. After all, these surges can cause homeowners to lose tens of thousands of dollars in home electronic and appliances.
Installing a whole house surge protector is a solution that not only protects your home, but shields your bank account from having to replace major home appliances. A whole house surge protector can extend the life of these electronic and gadgets by as much as 30 percent.
There are different levels of whole house surge protection that can be applied to any given home. For maximum effectiveness, surge protectors should be applied at each of the following levels:
- Service entrance and main panel
- Distribution and subpanel
- Individual equipment and wall outlets
Homeowners must think backwards about what devices they need to protect to determine where the home needs surge protectors. Consider the most expensive appliances – like an air conditioning unit – and apply protection at the relevant level, like the main panel and on individual equipment.
Whether your concern is protection from lightning strikes or simply to shore up your home against routine power surges, be proactive in safeguarding against these very destructive and expensive issues with whole house surge protection and other methods of lightning protection.
Make sure your home is prepared for the Capital District’s worst weather – call A Johnson today.