financial shocks with lightning protection gear|
You can place a buffer between
the lightning energy and your wired possessions with surge protectors. In most
cases, the standard power strips sold at home and hardware stores will work. But
if you're concerned about sophisticated electronics, Roux says "we're not
talking about just a little Home Depot module anymore."
In these cases, you'll want a
company that specializes in larger electrical components to install a system.
Make sure it's sized appropriately to the power coming into the building. And
remember that all voltage protection systems eventually will wear out.
heard it described as a bar of soap, protecting your sink in the bathroom and
sitting in the sink with water dripping on it ever so slowly," says Roux.
"It still protects, but every drop etches away a part of the soap and in
time there will be a hole in the bar."
To guarantee that
your surge system hasn't been compromised, Roux suggests replacing the units whenever
there's any lightning activity in your immediate area. "They're not expensive,
and certainly less expensive than replacing your complete collection of electronic
That's the very advice Stewart and Pam Sherman
got from their insurance agent. Unfortunately, the recommendation came after the
Wellington, Fla., couple called State Farm to report their home had been hit by
After spending the night with relatives, the Shermans
returned home that Saturday in 2003 to find their garage door opener wouldn't
"I figured the power must be out," says
Sherman. But when he got to the back of the house he says, "There
were fragments of roof tile all over the backyard. They were 60
to 70 feet from where we ultimately determined the bolt struck,"
he says. A closer look at his second story roof revealed a two-foot
chunk of tile at the corner was gone.
Meanwhile, his wife had discovered their phones also
weren't working, and they began comparing notes. Automatic garage
door, no. Lights and air conditioner, yes. Computer, OK. Assorted
televisions, not OK. Cable was out, as were the phones, including
one phone outlet that was charred. But not a single circuit breaker
A visit with the next-door neighbor confirmed what
they already suspected: Their home had taken a direct lightning
hit the night before. All things considered, the Shermans were lucky.
The strike didn't ignite a fire and the only structural damage was
confined to a few barrel tiles. A roofer replaced them and a collection
of technicians fixed the various interior components that were damaged
(or in the electrician's case, assured them that their wiring escaped
however, still wonders what their cat must have thought when the bolt hit. And
she admits that to this day, the strike can affect something as routine as walking
to the curb to pick up the mail, especially on a cloudy day.
think it's not going to happen to me. It's 30 seconds and I'll be back in,"
she says. "But it's a little scary."