Understanding Lightning and Electrical Power Systems

Lightning is a powerful, often awe-inspiring surge of electrical power from the skies. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s the same as the electricity you’re using to power your home and devices. When lightning interacts with power, the result can be disastrous. 

How Lightning Works

To understand the impact lightning can have on your electrical systems and devices, it’s first important to understand what lightning is and how lightning strikes occur.

Lightning results from two opposite charges interacting in nature that build up to a point where a sudden electricity discharge occurs. Because various factors determine how strong lightning strikes can be, lightning itself can appear and strike in many forms for many results. 

The two kinds of strikes that can impact electrical systems are direct strikes, where the lightning hits the electrical device or structure, and indirect strikes, which take the form of ground current and side flashes that can damage anything nearby. Direct strikes are less common but cause more severe forms of damage. 

How Lightning Damages Electronics

Lightning strikes carry far more electrical power than our power grids are equipped for. Most devices can only handle about 120-240 volts, while lightning averages about 30 million volts. This is far more than our electronics can handle, and it can result in many types of damage, such as:

  • Structural damage, including fire, can happen inside your walls. 
  • Power surges, which can fry plastic and destroy plastic or metal parts.
  • Various forms of equipment damage, such as the destruction of small wires. 
  • Create power outages if the storm destroys the power source itself.

Contact Us

While you can’t always predict the odds of your electronics being damaged by a lightning strike, you can get an electrician’s help to fix some more common and preventable electrical emergencies. Contact Winter’s Electric today.

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