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Stay Protected and Safe from Lightning Damage

No matter how many times we see a lightning-damaged computer, we can’t
help but think how easily this could have been prevented. You would
think people would understand the importance of having a good surge
protector or UPS connected to any electronic devices they own.

Lightning causes $5 Billion of economic impact in the U.S. each year.

Your concern should not be about the lightning strike that hits your house – because a direct hit will most likely destroy every bit of electronics and low-voltage wiring in your home – and you should simply be glad you got out alive. The lightning strike you should be worried about is the one that strikes your neighbor’s house across the street and down three houses. That’s the one that will send a lovely high-voltage spike right across the earth, up your phone and cable lines, into your computer.

What Surge Protector should I buy? A $2.99 outlet strip will not protect you! The best Surge Protectors are made by companies who specialize in this technology, such as Panamax, APC and Tripp Lite. They are typically a bit more expensive than other brands, but well worth it.

What about a UPS – Battery Backup (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for your computer and electronics? Since the prices have dropped significantly, it is generally a good idea to have a battery backup on any system where the loss of your data or downtime would be a major inconvenience. Even a power loss of a few milliseconds can power off your computer and corrupt whatever documents are open at the time. Accordingly, the only components you need to connect to the UPS are your computer and monitor.

Does having a UPS eliminate the need for a Surge Protector? No. Everything else should be plugged into a surge protector, as you only need to keep the computer and monitor running long enough to shut down the computer properly in the event of a power failure. How big a UPS should you buy? That depends on three things: Your monitor, how long you want the system to run in the absence of power – and your budget. The larger your monitor, the bigger your UPS needs to be, as the monitor pulls a great deal of current and will deplete the reserves of the UPS quickly. Choose a UPS that fits your specific needs. When you buy an UPS… again invest in one produced by a company that specializes in this technology like APC.

Broadband Cable and DSL subscribers: Make sure you get a smaller UPS for protection and better connectivity. If the power blinks or browns your cable/dsl modem and network router and switch will reboot and this can cause your connection to the internet to be disrupted. To better protect against surges get one with coax and network protection.

So you don’t want to invest in a surge protector or UPS? You can always do what many do during electrical storms and simply unplug everything from the wall when a storm is imminent. But if you are not home it is hard to unplug.

Remember for direct or indirect hits, the only sure way is to pull the power, phone, and cable plugs on sensitive electronics before thunderstorms threaten. Since most lightning strikes occur either at the beginning or end of a storm many people have been electrocuted while unplugging their electronics during thunderstorms. Never touch wires during a thunderstorm, even to unplug your equipment. Be careful… your equipment is not worth your life. Lightning is the #2 weather killer in the U.S., lightning kills more than Hurricanes and Tornadoes, combined. Only floods kill more!

Need assistance or have questions contact BWS Technologies at 334-358-6305.

  • 08/28/2012
  • IT