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Lighting approaching. I unplug everything. Better way?

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  • Lighting approaching. I unplug everything. Better way?

    Gets old reaching around unplugging the TV and cable box power and coax cable, microwave, back porch refrigerator, washer, dryer, cordles telephone line and transformer, etc.
    Is there an easier way to save things if a nearby or direct lightning strike?
    Thank you.
    Last edited by Robert Gift; 08-05-2013, 10:38 PM.
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

  • #2
    Re: Lighting approaching. I unplug everything. Better way?

    Originally posted by Robert Gift View Post
    Gets old reaching around unplugging the TV and cable box power and coax cable, microwave, back porch refrigerator, washer, dryer, cordles telephone line and transformer, etc.
    Is there an easier way to save things if a nearby or direct lightning strike?
    Thank you.

    You can buy a whole house surge suppressor or put a surge filtering box behind your TV. That may snub a nearby strike but nothing will protect you from a direct strike. Protecting valuable sensitive electronics (TV..etc) does makes sense, but I would not bother with unplugging the fridge, washer/dryer which are a little more robust in handling spikes. My philosophy is to not worry too much that a strike may get you one day. Buy better home insurance. Many don't realize is these surge suppressors have a relatively short life. Most houses have several power strips (over ten years old) that they believe are working because the little red light is lit up. In reality the internal MOV's probably got fried after 2 years or so. Again if you have fancy electronics, protect is with a quality surge suppressor with a high jule ratings, and don't expect it to last a lifetime.

    And make sure your homeowners policy covers an "act of God"

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Lighting approaching. I unplug everything. Better way?

      As john said MOVs (or Varistors) have a defined life and do now last forever. Their effectiveness at clamping a surge to ground deminishes.

      I had a protracted difference of opinion on this subject on a job a few years ago. We were replacing relays in a control cabinet and some of the relays had MOVs installed and they showed on the original design drawings. In the past when the relays had been replaced (age-based rule, not for a failure) the MOVs were not. I argued that the MOVs should be renewed with the relays and just about everyone disagreed with me or had no opinion. I finally took the question to the manufacter of the panel and their respone was yes, they should be changed out with the relays.

      MOVs can fail open or short out. In the latter case they can be a fire hazard and there are documented cases of surge protectors catching fire.

      The best defense is to completely disconnect equipment that you do not want or can not afford to put at risk of a direct hit or surge.
      It might be a PITA but would it be easier ot have to go out and purchase replacement equipment?

      In the EOC we always keep all radio equipment disconnected whenever not in use. All antenna leads are discinnected (physically, not using a switch) and grounded. All power cords are disconnected at the source (wall outlet). And any LAN, telephone, or com[uter equipment is also fully isolated from any external source that could direct a surge toward the equipment. This equipment is depended upon to be available when everything else is lost, so maximum protection from everything from a lightning strike to EMP is taken into account. While the entire building is not 100% protected from EMP, the areas that house radio and other sensitive equipment are shielded.

      So, yes, even though I use surge protectors on individual pieces of equipment, and have whole house surge protection, I disconnect my TV, computers, Ham Radio equipment, etc when there is a threat of lightning.

      I don't unplug the electric dryer even though the electronic controls are at risk, or the washer for that matter, and they are each about $700 so I would feel that in the wallet if they were fried.

      I got hit at my old house about 18 years ago and I had electronic and electrical items failing over the next 6 months. If you put in a claim you should tkae this into consideration. Some items will be DOA and some will die a slow death, so keep you claim open-ended if possible or at least ask the question about what happens if something dies weeks from now?
      Last edited by Bob D.; 08-04-2013, 07:50 AM.
      ---------------
      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
      ---------------
      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
      ---------
      "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
      ---------
      sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Disconnect cords from the units to eliminate induced currents.

        If I could build a house, I'd make all such electrical outlets easily accessible so one could just reach in and unplug power and cables.
        To eliminate induced currents from cords, I unplug the flat screen TV power cord from the back of the TV and unscrew the cable coax from the TV. But it is difficult to screw the cable connector back on. Is there a push-on friction connector?
        The clothes washer and dryer and refrigerator have electronic controls, so I unplug them.

        All of this bother while most likely that we will never be struck or have a near strike.
        I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
        It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
        "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Lighting approaching. I unplug everything. Better way?

          power strips with switches, No not as good as unplugging but still a better system than nothing, and if all else fails unplug one power strip plug instead of 4 or 5,

          I think some UPS units have coaxial cable surge connectors, My APC unit has the coaxial in and outs,
          http://www.amazon.com/APC-BR1000G-Ba...5711757&sr=1-4
          I have three of the APC units, one 1000 like in the link and two 700 units,
          http://www.amazon.com/APC-Back-UPS-W...ref=pd_sim_e_5
          the inverter is a stepped wave not pure sine wave, but we (church) runs two machines and a DVR recorder off the 1000, and I run two machines off one of the 700 units and my wife has one on her machine. and they have all not had any problems with the type of power supply,

          I know they make stand alone coaxial units,
          and if all else fails get the little slip on connector,, and a short line for getting it to an accessible location. so one can disconnect it with some ease,

          and if all else fails make sure your home owners insurance covers lighting damage on the house wiring, electronics and appliances, any more your appliances are just as easily damaged by surge as a TV, or computer, as most have some kind of circuit board in them.
          we lost a sewing machine one time,

          we lost three computers this summer, came back in on the data line, DID NOT have the UPS on them,
          Last edited by BHD; 08-05-2013, 10:37 AM.
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lighting approaching. I unplug everything. Better way?

            I suspect you are overreacting and a bit paranoid to lightning!
            How many lightning strikes have you experienced or near field hits say 10 miles away or less?

            I live in Phoenix Metro and during our monsoon season we have amazing
            lightning storms/shows!

            I believe after the clap of thunder you count 1-1000, 2-1000 etc you can estimate
            how close the lighting is. 1 mile equals a 5 second count.

            During severe lightning here I do lower my amateur Radio antenna tower to below tree level.
            We have never experienced a direct hit..I've lived in this house 25 years! I did experience a near field
            hit about 1 mile away and my radio lightning protection circuit fuse popped protecting the equipment.
            No other appliances or devices hic-cupped.

            We have lost power and I do turn off major appliances to reduce a surge when the power returns.

            During a storm you should not be using major appliances if possible, or be in the shower, or
            even be using a corded telephone.

            What type of home are you in and what condition is your electrical panel in?

            A whole house surge protector will minimize power surges to your electrical distribution
            but a direct lightning strike at your home all bets are off.

            A good homeowners insurance policy will provide some protection in the case you do get hit.


            Cactus Man

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Lighting approaching. I unplug everything. Better way?

              Originally posted by cactusman View Post
              I suspect you are overreacting and a bit paranoid to lightning!
              How many lightning strikes have you experienced or near field hits say 10 miles away or less?


              Cactus Man
              for this year I am guessing a few hundred strikes in a 10 mile circle, in a years time

              my daughter was shocked in the garden by a strike a 1/4 mile away, (years ago), we have had cattle killed, hundreds of fence post blow up, (now I ground out the fence about ever 100 yards with steel posts, about eliminating the blow up of posts, lose a fence charger near ever year, neighbor blew out most all the electrical components, in the irrigation panel, blew holes in the pipe and the wire, (direct hit to the pivot less than 3/4 mile away, earlier there were a number of fires do to lighting,

              my son in-law had a lighting strike a tree in his yard and blew the insulation off the wire under ground,

              our lights flicker do to strikes or near strikes, on the power lines nearly ever storm.

              a density map for Colorado, http://www.crh.noaa.gov/Image/pub/ltg2/annual.jpg it looks like 2.5 to 3 strikes per square Kilometer, which is about 5/8 of a mile per side or .38 of a square mile if I am read the map correctly per year, for Roberts area,

              (going by the density map your 10 mile circle, we will just use a 5 mile radius, if I figure correctly that should be about 78.5 square miles, and an on line converter say that is 203 SQ KM, so that would work our to about 5 to 600 strikes per year in his area, in that circle,




              I know the Denver news has plenty of stories of houses hit by lighting and holes or fires in the roof,

              http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_23...o-average-july

              for some one to get a near strike or things blew out is not that uncommon around our area,
              Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
              attributed to Samuel Johnson
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Disconnect cords from the units to eliminate induced currents.

                Originally posted by Robert Gift View Post
                If I could build a house, I'd make all such electrical outlets easily accessible so one could just reach in and unplug power and cables.
                To eliminate induced currents from cords, I unplug the flat screen TV power cord from the back of the TV and unscrew the cable coax from the TV. But it is difficult to screw the cable connector back on. Is there a push-on friction connector?
                The clothes washer and dryer and refrigerator have electronic controls, so I unplug them.

                All of this bother while most likely that we will never be struck or have a near strike.
                Yes, there are push-on coax connectors. But remember you don'tmget something for nothing, the connection electrically is not as good in some cases. I have seen some that are so loose, even when new, that I would not use them.
                ---------------
                Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                ---------------
                “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                ---------
                "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                ---------
                sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: We have had some close strikes. Almost instantaneous thunder.

                  Anything plugged in is at risk, even when turned off.
                  I'll just have to keep unplugging powercords and disconnecting cables - right at the unit is even better.

                  My Tesla Coil voltages easily jump the contact gaps of any switches.
                  I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
                  It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
                  "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: We have had some close strikes. Almost instantaneous thunder.

                    when the arc can jump a mile, (lighting) even unplugged is not a guarantee,
                    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                    attributed to Samuel Johnson
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: We have had some close strikes. Almost instantaneous thunder.

                      Originally posted by BHD View Post
                      when the arc can jump a mile, (lighting) even unplugged is not a guarantee,
                      Yes, the only hope is without the power cord connected to the device, it will not induce currents into the device.
                      But the internal circuitry can be destroyed by its own induced currents if the lightning is direct or close enough.
                      I refuse to wrap things in copper mesh "Faraday Cage".
                      I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
                      It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
                      "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

                      Comment

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