Power surges can happen at any time, but for many parts of the world, there is a particular time of year that puts your home at more risk than others: storm season. Here in Georgia, that time is Spring and Summer, breaking up the hot weather with often extreme storms.
Lightning strikes cause over $7 million in property damages each year in Georgia alone. Georgia is the 8th highest state lightning strike density per square mile. It’s important to protect our homes against power surges, but even more so for those of us who live in an area where extreme storms are common. Many insurance companies offer discounts for those who have actively protect their home against surges, because they understand the risk power surges and lightning strikes pose.
Here at Thomas Electrical Solution we understand the risks and dedicated to helping as many people protect their homes as possible by making whole-house surge protectors more accessible. If you are ready to find out more click here.
What Causes Power Surges?
Most power surges originate from your local power grid, though some smaller surges can originate from large appliances turning on or off, like your air conditioning system. These surges can permanently damage your appliances. The biggest power surge you can experience is from a lightning strike, which can cause a huge surge if it directly hits your home.
What Happens When My Home is Struck by Lightning?
A bolt of lightning has upwards of 100,000 amps. Even being near a lightning strike can cause serious damage to humans, animals, and electrical equipment. If lightning hits your home directly, the first thing you’ll hear is an extremely loud bang. You may even feel it shake your home!
Some modern homes are built with grounding rods and other precautions to minimize the damage caused by lightning. These work by directing the electricity into the ground as quickly as possible.
When a bolt of lightning strikes your home, it surges through your wiring system, searching for the fastest route to ground. This is why it is so important to protect your home electrics and appliances from lightning strikes. One single bolt of lightning can fry anything plugged into a socket or wired into the mains. If you are stood near an appliance or using one, you may receive a shock yourself, and those have been known to be fatal.
Another risk of a lightning strike on your home is a fire. The heat of a bolt of lightning can start a spark in your attic or even within the walls. So if your home is struck please remember to call the fire department, so they can make sure there isn’t a fire smoldering where you can’t see it.
How Can I Protect My Electronics and Appliances?
Surge protection devices and whole-house surge protection devices are the best way to protect your home from power surges. Even unplugging your appliances before a storm won’t protect your home entirely. Whole-house surge protectors are especially equipped to handle the dangerous high-voltage surges from a lightning strike. If a storm hits while you are out of the house or out of town, you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to make sure your home is protected.
Do Whole-House Surge Protectors Work?
Whole-house surge protectors are the only way you can protect your home against a lightning strike. Essentially, they work by sensing the surge, shutting off your power, and guiding the electricity on the shortest route to the ground.
The bonus of whole-house surge protectors is that they can withstand more than one surge. Standard surge protectors, like strips and other devices you might find, often work by absorbing the excess voltage into a metal oxide varistor so the electronics don’t blow out, however they cannot handle the voltage of a lightning strike, which can contain up to one billion volts.
How Much Are Whole-House Surge Protectors?
Whole-house surge protectors cost around $150-$300, depending on the model you choose and its capability. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of a trained professional installing the device for you since these protectors need to be installed into the panel. We’ll be happy to talk this over with you to find the best solution for your budget.
How Are They Installed and How Often Do They Need to Be Replaced?
A trained electrician will be able to help you choose a suitable whole-home surge protector and install it into your main panel. Once they are installed, they are a permanent solution and will withstand multiple lightning strikes. Most people will not have to replace them, and the device often has a light that will tell you its condition or if it has done its job.
Do I Really Need a Whole House Surge Protector?
In short, yes. These days almost everything within our home is electrical. From kitchen appliances to our entertainment systems, our electronics have become everyday needs. If lightning strikes your home, it will take out anything and everything plugged into the mains.
Most homes have more than of $10,000 worth of electronics and devices they would lose to a lightning strike. That doesn’t include the damage a lightning strike can do to the wiring in your home. If you don’t use a surge protection device and your home experiences a surge, your appliances and electronics may get fried.
Whole-house surge protectors cost a fraction of this price. Home computers are especially vulnerable. Unless you keep 100% of your data on the cloud, one power surge could cause you to lose your hard drive. And all the documents, photos, and memories you store there.
A whole-house surge protector will protect your home, even in the unfortunate event that lightning strikes twice.