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Lightning And Electrical Appliances

This web page:

  • Describes what damage lightning can do.
  • Explains how lightning damages electrical appliances.
  • Explains how lightning ‘gets into’ electrical appliances.
  • Explains how to protect electrical appliances against lightning damage.

What Damage Lightning Can Do

Lightning can do no damage or ‘burn out’ (‘frazzle’) every electrical appliance in your home or business. The damage depends on, for instance, how close the lightning struck, how wet the local soil is and how good your earth bonding is.

Lightning can damage the microcomputers (‘integrated circuits’ or ‘chips’) that are in most modern appliances, for instance PCs, washing machines and televisions.


How Does Lightning Damage Electrical Appliances?

Lightning sends large electrical surges, or ‘spikes’, into electrical appliances; the electrical appliances cannot withstand the electrical surge and ‘burn out’. The effect is similar to a high wind blowing the roof off a house; the roof can withstand a gentle breeze but not a tornado.

Lightning is the sudden discharge of a large amount of electrical energy. The electrical energy has to go somewhere; often the ‘somewhere’ are the electrical appliances in your home or business.


How Does Lightning Get Into Electrical Appliances?

The electrical energy from lightning enters electrical appliances by many different means, for instance power cables, telephone lines, TV aerials or a cable that connects one appliance to another.


Lightning can also enter electrical appliances by ‘direct coupling’ from the atmosphere to the wiring in an appliance.


The multitude of ways lightning electrical energy can enter, and thus damage, appliances is used by ‘electromagnetic bombs’; the electromagnetic bomb creates a burst of electrical energy, similar to lightning, that enters and damages electrical appliances.


How To Protect Electrical Appliances Against Lightning Damage

Their is no protection against a direct lightning strike; the amount of electrical energy is too much.


Some tips on how to minimise the risk of lightning damage are shown below:

  • Install a lightning rod.
  • Ensure your home or business has good ‘earth bonding’.
    • Electrical surge protection starts with good earth bonding.
    • The Judge Electrical 2015 guideline price for domestic earth bonding is £200.
    • Commercial (business) earth bonding starts at about £600.
  • Turn off and unplug electrical devices during lightning storms.
  • Disconnect internet connections during lightning storms.
  • Use ‘point of use’ surge protectors.
    • Point of use surge protectors are electrical plugs, or adaptors, that have built in surge protection.
  • Use ’internet connection’ electrical surge protectors.
    • ’Internet connection’ electrical surge protectors fit into the telephone (data) line to a computing device.


Judge Electrical Limited
15 Mulberry Court, Huntington, York, YO32 9TU
Telephone 01904 764845 (Landline), 07919 033113 Mobile)
Email info@judgeelectrical.co.uk
VAT No. 852917405. Company Number 6359328