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When Lightning Strikes

Protect your appliances and electronics

Lightning streaking through the nighttime sky

Surge and lightning damage to household appliances and electronics is a frequent occurrence here in Georgia. That’s particularly true in the summer months when the high-pressure area out in the Atlantic around Bermuda pumps in warm, humid air, creating those all-too-familiar afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

Lightning-related power surges can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, Georgia homeowners ranked first (both in number and dollar value) in lightning-related property claims from 2012-2014.

More than 50 percent of the nation’s 110,000 lightning-related insurance claims made in 2016 resulted from electrical surges damaging components or wiring. The cost to repair or replace appliances and electronics susceptible to lightning and surge-related damages is 40 percent higher now than a decade ago.

If you have sophisticated electronics and appliances – and who doesn’t these days – you can’t afford not to protect them, reminds Jeff Paul, a residential energy advisor for Walton EMC.

He recommends Walton EMC’s Real Protection surge suppressors, which are designed to keep lightning from ever reaching your major appliances or electronic devices such as a computer or TV. If power surges do get through our suppressors, your electronics or appliance motors are replaced or repaired free (limits apply).

LARGE APPLIANCES – For just $6.50 a month added to your electric bill, Walton EMC can protect the motors of large appliances such as a washer, dryer, range, refrigerator or water heater. Our technician installs a Real Protection large appliance motor protector on your meter. Then, the cooperative maintains the unit. Should lightning ever get through the suppressor, Walton EMC will pay to have your appliance motor repaired or replaced.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS – If lightning travels into the home through the wiring or through communication cables (such as those used for internet, cable TV or phone), it can cause serious damage to sensitive electronics. Computers, televisions, gaming systems and other electronic devices use integrated circuits, which are extremely susceptible to damage from a voltage overload caused by a surge. Fortunately, if these types of electronics are properly connected to a quality, point-of-use surge protector, they can be safeguarded. Walton EMC sells Tripp-Lite surge suppressor models (starting at $20 each) to fit almost any need, including laptops, small appliances and more.

TO PURCHASE: Drop by any Walton EMC office to see our recommended suppressors and to learn which is best for your electronics.

Read more about surge protection here.