The Electrical Blog

Common Electrical Problems Caused by Lightning

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Tue, Aug 06, 2013

With August in full swing, thunder and lightning storms are common-place here in Colorado Springs. Although lightning storms can be a sight to behold, they can also cause electrical damage to your home or business. In fact, the insurance industry estimates that around 6.5% of all property and casualty claims are related to lightning strikes. If lightning strikes near your home or business, here are a couple of common scenarios to look out for.

Image of Lightning
 If lighting strikes your home or business, look out for the scenarious mentioned below.

Prevent Power Surges

When lightning strikes near a power line, it can increase the amount of electrical current flowing to a wall outlet. This extra burst of electricity is often too much for a surge protector to handle, which can lead to computer and appliance damage. In his article “How Surge Protectors Work,” Tom Harris explains that the best way to protect your computer and other appliances during a lightning storm is to simply turn them off. Businesses may need to take extra measures of precaution to protect data communications systems from a power surge. Depending on the needs of your business, you may want to look into surge protection devices or grounding systems. You can learn more about these options by clicking here.

“About 50 percent of the damage that I see in homes hit by lightning is from an electrical surge that comes in on the communication lines,” Berwick Project Manager Terry Schnieder explained. “I would recommend that people install surge protection devices on phone lines, satellite antennae, and phone lines. Our data communications department regularly installs all of these items.”

Beware of Fire

In his article “Encore: When Lightning Strikes,” Marty Kelly describes how lightning can cause fire because it generates large amounts of heat. Because lightning may start a fire that is not always visible in your home (such as inside of a wall) it is wise to leave your home and call the fire department in the event that lightning strikes your home. It’s always safest to have the fire department assess the situation to make sure there is not fire.

Inspect Breakers

If lightning does strike your home or business, it’s important to inspect the breakers to make sure that they are functioning properly. This article from Energy Experts recommends checking the building’s wiring with a resistance tester, called a megger, to determine the extent of the damage. You can also call Berwick Electric Co. to assess any possible lightning damage.     

Lightning strikes can cause a wide range of damage, from serious to minimal. Should lightning strike near your home or business, we hope that these simple tips will help you approach the situation with common sense.                                            

Topics: Service Department, Community