On average, the Philippines experiences around 20 typhoons and storms every year. We already know the usual precautions: stay indoors, stock up on supplies, and always close the doors and windows. But no matter how well-prepared you are, you’re still vulnerable to a lot of other risks if you don’t know how to keep your electronics protected during a thunderstorm. Electrical surges due to lightning strikes will cause physical damage to your belongings and lead to plenty of other safety hazards, including electric shocks.
This storm season, we’ve put together a list of things to remember when safeguarding your electronics. These best practices will ensure your safety while saving you money that would have otherwise been spent replacing or repairing damaged devices. Whether you have a wide inventory of home appliances or just a simple set of trusty gadgets, you can be proactive when protecting these investments. Here are some ways you can protect your electronics as you face the rainy days ahead.
Unplug Your Devices, Especially the High-End Ones
Power surges occur when lightning strikes an electrical pole near your home. The strike of lightning causes extremely high voltages of electricity to course through the power lines and into your plugged devices. Your appliances and gadgets are not built to withstand so much power, eventually damaging them to the point of unusability.
Lightning-induced surges are not common, but it’s still good to follow safety precautions and unplug devices just in case the unlikely happens. High-end electronics such as your smart TV, desktop computer, and gaming console are vulnerable to electrical damage and should be unplugged first. Some appliances are less of a risk and would need to be plugged in out of necessity. For example, keeping your fridge on will prevent food from spoiling. You would also need the continuous connectivity provided by your wifi router.
Keep Away from Water and Metal Surfaces
Coming into contact with water can lead to electrocution during an electrical storm, which is why washing dishes or showering during severe weather is generally not recommended. Metal can also lead to electric shocks because it is a good conductor of electricity. Avoid using electrical equipment connected to an electrical circuit, especially when there are lightning strikes outside.
It’s best to keep your larger electronics in an elevated area away from metal surfaces in case of flooding. For your smaller devices, make sure to have waterproof containers on hand.
Get a Surge Protector
Surge protectors keep your electronics secure by diverting electrical currents to a grounding point. Adding surge protectors to your electrical outlets limits the voltage that eventually reaches the devices that are plugged into the power strip, preventing electrical overload. Once the voltage becomes too high, the surge protector transfers the surplus electricity to a grounding wire. While surge protectors minimize the risks of high voltages from destroying your devices, they don’t provide overarching protection against electrical strikes of over 1 billion joules. As such, it’s still best to keep your devices unplugged during storms with lightning.
When choosing a surge protector, pick those with a lower Voltage Protection Rating (VPR). Having a lower VPR means the item is better at providing protection. You should also opt for surge protectors with a joule rating of over 600 volts and a maximum response time of one nanosecond.
If you want extra protection for your home, consider getting a surge protector for your electrical panel. You can get a licensed professional to install one between your home’s electric meter and the breaker box. This will better prevent high voltages from penetrating your home’s wiring system and damaging your appliances.
Install a Lightning Protection Apparatus
In addition to surge protectors, there are other ways of intercepting currents of electricity before they reach your home. You can have a professional install a lightning rod to safeguard your entire home against lightning-induced damage. Lightning rods, which are made of copper or aluminum, work by diverting electrical currents away from your home’s internal wiring. The rod is connected to an underground wire grid system that allows it to conduct electricity from lightning to the ground where it will dissipate.
Invest in Preventive Maintenance for Your Electrical Systems
Investing in periodic maintenance is never a waste of money. Weather can turn severe at any moment, so it’s best to ensure that your home’s electrical and wiring systems stay in tip-top shape. Keep your home’s systems up-to-date by having licensed professionals conduct routine inspections and perform fixes before these issues worsen. You may need to shell out cash for monthly or yearly check-ups, but that’s nothing compared to the costs you will face when your electronics get damaged by the next storm.
Stay Prepared to Weather the Storms
Mother Nature is not picky and can leave you, your family, and your belongings vulnerable to disaster. When the storms hit, it’s important to make sure that your electronics are not wasted due to oversight and unpreparedness. Follow these tips to keep your electronics storm-proof and, most importantly, keep you and your family safe this rainy season.
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