Lightning Safety Tips from Telia

A new lightning season has started, and thus it would be useful to go over some tips on how to protect yourself and your home from the lightning. While in 2015 damages caused to domestic appliances by lightning were modest, 2014 was much more serious in terms of lightning-related issues.

During the 2014 lightning season, Telia call center received 27,000 calls related to lightning problems. This is an extremely large number. The most frequent lightning-related issues were damages caused by lightning to domestic electronic devices, questions about reconnecting cables, connection problems, etc. In total, 1,200 devices damaged by lightning were replaced in 2014.

The most common attitude towards lightning risk management is: „It has never happened to me before, and it is unlikely something will happen in the future". Sometimes the lightning is compared to winning a lottery – chances of hitting a jackpot is extremely small, and it’s even smaller for the same person to win a jackpot twice. However, last year there was a case where Telia’s technician had replaced a device damaged by lightning, but on the same evening the customer called with the same problem, as another lighting wave managed to fry the new device as well.

The biggest mistake people make when trying to prevent lighting damages is that they disconnect devices only from the power grid. However, if the network connection uses copper cable, network cable must also be disconnected from the device.

Damages caused by lightning can be very different. In some cases, only a router port is damaged, while in others the whole router, or both the router and set-top box have become useless. In the worst case, all devices - router, set-top box, and TV - might be dead. Telia’s technicians have seen cases where after the lighting instead of a cable there’s only a burnt line on the wall.

How to protect home electronic appliances during lightning?

Disconnect cables from wall sockets

When you hear thunder or leave home for a longer period of time, it is advised to disconnect power cables from the power grid. Also, disconnect data cables and antenna cables. It is important to disconnect cables from the wall socket, and not from the device, because cables need protection as well.

Get a power cable with lightning protection

To minimize the risk of damages from overvoltage, get an extension lead with lightning protection and connect several devices to it. However, if the building’s power supply is not grounded, the extension lead with lightning protection won’t help, because no device can offer protection from a direct lightning strike.

Check the building’s power network

In older buildings, the network is often ungrounded and thus lighting protection might not be efficient. Therefore it would be good to have the building’s electrical systems checked by specialist to make sure the building is protected from lightning.

Be patient when reconnecting devices

You can reconnect the devices after the lightning and when the electricity is back on, but be patient – if the phone is silent, TV is dark or there’s no Internet, wait for 30 minutes so that the connection could be restored.

It is important to know that producer’s warranty does not apply to damages from overvoltage. Thus, the user has to pay for the repairs of buy a new device.

Of course, the most important is to make sure people are safe during the lightning: stay inside a building or a closed car, keep away from water and big trees or flagpoles (lightning usually strikes the highest object), and don’t use any electronic devices during the lightning.

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