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Tech Notes

Thunder Bolts and Lightning
Jun 25, 2013 - 8:47:00 AM

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With the warmer summer temperatures providing the right conditions for increased thunderstorm and lightning activity, experts at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offer advice to help reduce the risk of damage from power surges as part of Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 23-29).

Lighting may not seem as destructive as other natural disasters, yet a strike can cause serious damage to business equipment and electrical appliances, disrupt electrical service for long periods of time, and -- most dangerously -- spark wildfires.

"People often underestimate the harm that lightning can cause, but make no mistake -- it's a force to be reckoned with," said Julie Rochman, CEO and president of IBHS. "We encourage both home and business owners to take the necessary precautions to protect their property from the damaging effects of a lightning strike, such as power surges."

IBHS recommends that home and business owners invest in a whole house or building surge protector to prevent a potential loss. Make sure the protector you select has been tested to meet the proper standards. Contact a power company or a licensed electrician to install this system.

Also, install additional protection for important or expensive equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment. These devices are available at most home improvement and electronics stores.

Consider hiring an electrician to review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections in your home or business. Have them check that there is adequate grounding of the power line connection and the power distribution panel. All of the utilities should enter the structure within ten feet of the electrical service entrance ground wire and be bonded to that grounding point.

For more IBHS guidance on lightning protection, visit

About The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS

  • IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.

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