Monday, August 18, 2008

Protect Your Wiring!

This is appropriate for anyone who lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, or any other lightning rich area, in the summer months. Those of you who enjoy the snap, crackle and pop of a good lightning storm (like me)would enjoy the sky-ripping bolts of pure electricity steaking across the sky and also striking the land. Now for the sober side of lightning. When it hits buildings, at the very least, the power goes out and the very worst is the building is destroyed. Several things happen when lightning hits near your home or power sub-station. The electricity may fluctuate and stay on, it may go off for a short while or a long while, the current may surge and destroy non protected devices, it may follow a metallic pipe or line and bring the power into the house causing a fire, plumbing fixtures may be destroyed and worst of all it could cause human or pet casualties. There isn't too much you can do to stop a bolt of lightning and yes, I know what your going to say "but I have lightning rods on my roof to protect me". Okay, I see! You have metal rods on your roof to attract lightning to your house! Hmmm! I will continue to something you do have control over. Everyone has appliances (ie: washer, dryer, fridge, tv, pc), to some extent, that could be adversely effected by an electrical surge. Most plug-in surge suppressors cannot handle a direct hit from lightning. Once the current gets into the house it will fan out across any wiring it can find. What can you do? Simple. Contact your local electric company and ask if they can provide a surge suppressor for your outside meter. My provider is Withlacoochee River Electric Co-op. I pay a very small monthly fee (<$7) and this gets me the surge stopper installed on the meter AS WELL AS full insurance coverage for any major appliance in the house that is damaged by a surge that manages to get through. I don't know about you but I know I could never afford to replace more than 1 appliance at any one time. The Upside - very low cost whole house 'lightning through the wires' protection.

The Downside - not all electric companies offer this service. Ask Them To!!

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