Some of the most lightning prone country is right here in your backyard. The Northern Territory is the lightning capital of Australia.  Every year Darwin residents get to see some of the most fantastic storms and lightning displays, capturing many of them on film. Yet there is a down side; your electrical.

Whether your digital washing machine or your new flat screen TV, microwave or oven. All need to be considered every wet season. And the best way to do that is to unplug everything whenever there is a chance of a storm. Every year there are claims put in to insurance agencies for storm damaged home and office white goods or equipment due to power surges or strikes.

Lightning can damage your home or electrical circuits and appliances in a number of ways, either directly or indirectly. Lightning could strike a tree in your backyard (or the house itself) and potentially travel down the trunk to earth and into the main electrical feed into your house, damaging anything in its path. Lightning can also create induced voltage and current due to the electromagnetic field surrounding it. This generally won’t do as much damage to your home as a direct strike though you may lose sensitive unprotected equipment.

There are three things you can do to minimize the risk of storm or lightning damage. As previously mentioned, you can unplug all of your devices throughout your home. Simply turning them off will not protect your equipment nor help your internal wiring unfortunately.

The next best thing you can do is to install a surge diverter at the switchboard which will divert most damaging current away from your internal house circuits and if you pair that with surge protected power boards for your TV, stereo etc., then you should be better off for the next storm, though lightning is a powerful entity and may still damage your household equipment in a direct hit.

Another option is install lightning protection which is basically a long conductive rod, mounted at the highest point, which is installed in an effort to draw lightning away from your house, into the rod and then through the down conductor to earth minimizing the damage experienced from a direct hit. Lightning rods may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and may be unsuitable for some buildings in accordance with AS1678/2007.

After effects

If your home or business has had a direct hit from lightning and you have experienced a power outage, check to make sure all circuit protection devices are still on. If you have a circuit not operating correctly (breaker continues to trip off) disconnect all appliances in the circuit and try to reset. If this does not rectify the problem then you really need to call a Darwin electrician. It’s a good idea to have the circuit tested professionally to make sure there are no hidden faults that could cause arcing or fire. The safety of you and your family is all that matters.
By Jon Story

Home, Commercial, You Name It, We’ll Be There.

Serving Darwin, Palmerston, and surrounds