Q: Since Florida is the “lightning capital” of the United States, will surge protection adequately protect a home’s equipment from lightning strikes?
A: Lightning is one of the leading causes of damage and destruction of electrical and electronical devices in the home. Surge protection by itself protects your equipment from close lightning strikes and surges from the power company. It does not protect you from a direct lightning strike. The only thing that will protect your home from a direct lightning strike is a properly installed lightning rod system. A properly installed lightning rod system has to include surge protection. You wouldn’t want to spend all the money for a lightning rod system on your roof to protect from a direct hit and then you get a close lightning strike and your equipment is ruined.
With most equipment being digitalized today, the equipment is very susceptible to lightning strikes. You want surge protection on your entire electrical system and your low-voltage systems. There’s a myth that one surge protector will protect everything. That is simply not true. There are multiple ways that lightning and power surges can come in and destroy your television set, computer and other electronic devices because they’re connected to a low-voltage line. Companies make high-voltage surge protectors and low-voltage surge protectors. However many utilities you have coming into the home, you need a surge protector for each one.
An important factor to consider when choosing a surge protector is the surge protector’s joule rating. The joule rating indicates how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. The more joules it has, the better the protection provided. Homeowners also need to keep in mind that not all surge protectors are created equal. There are some cheap products on the market, so buyers need to do their due diligence and research the products out there before purchasing one. It’s also important to remember that surge protectors, like any other piece of equipment, can get worn down over time. Some models come with a light or alarm that warns you when the surge protector is compromised. This way, you know it’s time to get a replacement.
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