A typical Australian home averages 50+ electrical outlets that power everything from your toothbrush to thousands of dollars worth of technology. Each of those outlets is a potential source of danger to your home if lightning strikes.
As the frequency and severity of lightning storms increase, so does the possibility of a lightning strike-related surge to your home. Many homeowners know to prepare for extreme weather events like wind and flooding, but too often, they overlook electrical storms in their home safety preparation.
Unlike some other weather phenomena, lightning strikes are difficult to predict. But preparation is possible and necessary. Understanding how electrical surges work, the associated risks, and how to prepare are vital in keeping your devices safe from the dreaded “surge” known to fry valuable electronics in microseconds.
What Are Electrical Storms?
Electrical storms are powerful weather phenomena caused by supercharged storm clouds. The billions of charged dust-borne water molecules and ice particles in the cloud begin rubbing and forming a charge separation.
This electron cloud causes the particles to become a giant negatively charged battery in the sky. The storm cloud creates a path of conduction with the positively charged earth, and an ensuing lightning show results.
Globally, on average, there are 100 lightning strikes every second. Climate change has created irregular and extreme weather patterns for powerful electrical storms. Because of this, electrical storm preparedness should be at the top of every homeowner’s weather risk management list.
What Are the Risks Associated With Electrical Storms?
The odds of a direct lightning strike on your home are 1 in 200. However, you don’t need a direct hit to feel the consequences of a lightning strike.
Power surges are one of the most costly and deadly risks of electrical storms. Power surges can enter your home through several pathways. In the case of electrical storms, a surge can take the path of a grounded satellite dish cable, telephone lines, and incoming electrical lines.
As a homeowner, you probably rely on your local power grid. During an electrical storm, power surges can occur when the flow of regular electricity is interrupted abruptly and then started again. The outcome is a surge of voltage that can lead to “fried” electronics.
Surges in your home electrical system happen every day. Household appliances and electronics can withstand some fluctuations in voltage. Turning on your hair dryer alone can cause a change between five and ten volts.
However, when lightning strikes a local transformer, up to 300 million volts (30,000 amps) can pass through the grid. In comparison, a household current in Australia is typically 220-240 volts (10 or 15 amps).
How Do You Prepare Your Home for an Electrical Storm?
Electrical storms won’t give you time to prepare for a potential power surge hitting your local electric grid. Knowing what to do beforehand is critical.
Unplug All Devices
If you have forewarning that a storm is coming, the best preparation is to unplug your appliances and devices proactively. You should consider this if you know you won’t be home during a potential electrical storm.
Install Surge Protectors
A surge protector reroutes excess voltage away from your electronics and appliances. These devices come in many forms. Surge strips, not to be confused with a power strip, allow multiple electronics to be plugged in and protected.
Have a Backup Power Source
Every homeowner should have a backup power source on hand. Outages are common during an electrical storm, and a backup power source in your Smart Home Ecosystem ensures seamless access to electricity even when the grid goes down.
While petrol-powered generators have been the traditional solution for backup power, newer technologies are replacing these bulky, toxic fume-producing options. For example, DELTA Portable Power Stations are more energy efficient, quieter, have a longer lifespan, and don’t produce toxic fumes. They store energy in reserve to use during outages.
A whole home backup power solution can supply enough electricity to run the household during an outage. As long as you have sufficient power stored, they don’t require you to plug into the grid and risk power surges to your valuable electronics. EcoFlow’s portable power stations offer solar panels as a charging option—enabling you to generate your own electricity off-grid.
Install a Whole-Home Lightning Protection System
A whole-house lightning protection system cuts off over-voltage at the source. You can install an alternative power supply directly into your main electrical panel and block the risk of surges and dangerously high voltage downing your home’s electrical systems.
Options like the EcoFlow Smart Home Ecosystem have expandable power capacity that supports a high solar input and high-wattage output. You can chain multiple solar panels and generators to power more parts of your home and reduce your dependence on the grid.
A solar generator uses clean, renewable energy and can be a win for your pocket and the environment. Solar power alleviates dependence on ageing grid infrastructure and provides energy independence when power outages occur.
Protecting Your Home During Electrical Storms
Don’t let a lighting strike catch you off guard. Protect your home by being proactive. Install surge protection, invest in a portable power solution, and you’ll thank yourself after the storm.
Powering a new world with smart energy use, EcoFlow can guide you through investing in renewable energy. Shop today for home energy backup to last you through the storm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Turning your router off is insufficient to protect it from a power surge, so you’ll need to unplug it to protect it from loss or damage. However, if you have it plugged into a portable power station and not the grid, you can leave it plugged in during a storm.
The number one way to protect your devices and appliances is to unplug them entirely during an electrical storm.
The exception to this is if you have them running on off-grid power like a power station or solar generator. But everything connected to the grid should be unplugged. At the very least, make sure to purchase surge protectors for your valuable appliances and devices.