Difficult Lightning Season
This year’s lightning season has kept us busy the last month or so and has caused the most equipment damage of any season so far. The main victims have been audio amplifiers tied to landscape speakers.
Landscape speakers generally survive nearby strikes, but the surge travels along the speaker cable to the amplifier and causes damage to at least the amp, but often to other equipment as well. Fortunately we have found suitable surge suppressors designed specifically for this problem and would suggest anyone with landscape speakers add these. At about $125 plus installation per pair of speakers, they are not inexpensive, but should help prevent down time during the months when you want to use your outdoor speakers.
Other common victims are cable TV receivers, automatic gates, pool controllers, and landscape lighting systems. Generally we design in protection for these if they are part of a system, so we don’t have a lot of problems. Occasionally we will replace surge suppressors that fail due to a surge, but these suppressors are designed to fail when protecting your other equipment from particularly bad surges.
The other main entry point for surges is the main house electrical service. Hence, it is a good idea to also protect your electrical breaker panels. A “whole house” surge suppressor attaches to the breaker panel and offers surges a better path to ground than your expensive electronics. They are particularly critical if you have an architectural lighting system.
We recommend a variety of solutions depending on your situation. An electrician must install these and each breaker panel will need one.