Direct Lightening Hit to our House Last Night

TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
In last nights weather forecast, there was only the remote chance of a thunderstorm in the Twin Cities Metro. No severe weather was forecast.

I was in my theater last night and watching via my HTPC. It was after dark and the blinds were down.

All of a sudden, there was the loudest thunder clap I have ever heard, just microseconds prior, there was the sound of a large arc, and then a lightening flash and at the same time the enormous single thunder clap. There was no gap between the lightening flash and the thunder bolt. That was the only thunderclap close, but there was some lightening far to the north. There was a brief burst of very heavy rain following the lightening flash and thunder. The three theater UPS units reverted to battery momentarily. The HTPC malfunctioned, but was able to be rebooted, and has fortunately worked perfectly since. My wife was using the the 3.1 system in our great room downstairs. She reported that the power in that system briefly switched to the UPS battery.

I inspected the whole house surge protector at the main switch and breaker at the service entry on the East side of the house this morning. The surge protector indicated it had taken the hit, and needed replacing. I have sent for the electrician to perform that task.

Normally if there is very severe weather I go to generator. In the 15 years I had surge protectors and UPS units at the lake, I would not infrequently go to generator, and power cuts in storms were not infrequent and we had miles of above ground cable. Here in the metro, we have underground service. In almost three years we have only had two power cuts. One was related to severe weather, and the other because a squirrel shorted out a power transformer.

I hate to think what would have happened without the high level of protection we have here. Nothing has had any damage done. However, I think without the protection I have engineered in here, results would have been very different with serious damage.

I am pretty sure this house took a direct hit, and I'm glad that it is a concrete house! From the ground I can not see any roof damage.

I report this incident, to make the point that lightening can be very unpredictable. So this reinforces my view that actually all houses need protection now, with whole house surge protection. It is not just your AV gear, but pretty much everything electrical has complex electrical boards. That now includes Internet infrastructure, ovens, cooktops, micro waves, HVAC, fridges, washer, dryers and more. The losses can really mount to staggering dollar numbers in the modern house.

Whole house surge protection at service entry is essential now, in my view. I think it should be code. For your fragile AV equipment, UPS units are strongly recommended. Insurance claims are a real hassle, and with the cost of home insurance premiums, I suspect most like me, carry a significant deductible.
 
G

Golfx

Full Audioholic
Thanks for posting. I too have a whole house surge protection and use power conditioners at the Home theater. I wonder if I should change to UPS units?
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for posting. I too have a whole house surge protection and use power conditioners at the Home theater. I wonder if I should change to UPS units?
If you have APC power conditioners (H10 or H15), I would just keep them. IMO, I don't see the need to use UPS units on AV equipment. The only advantage I see with the UPS is additional protection should there be a power outage while you are updating firmware on an AVR or other electronics containing firmware.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
If you have APC power conditioners (H10 or H15), I would just keep them. IMO, I don't see the need to use UPS units on AV equipment.
I do. Power conditioners, will not prevent on and off surging in brief power cuts. I have an extra incentive, as gear stays powered for the five seconds it takes my generator to start. Pros, use UPS units in electronic infra structure. I have said this many times, whole house surge protection and UPS units protect fragile electronics the best. UPS units also keep your Internet infrastructure stable during all likely events.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
The APC H10 and H15 power conditioners are designed to protect high performance AV systems from damaging power surges, spikes and lightning.
This brand which is now owned by Schneider Electric has been supplying power protection solutions to leading companies such as Microsoft, Toyota Motor and IBM.

I have been using a H15 unit for about 20 years. This product, apart from its surge protection capabilities, acts a a reliable voltage regulator. It contains a circuit breaker which will trip due to a serious electrical surge or overload. I can't complain with its operation as it protected my AV equipment all those years.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Seriously, I have no life.
One benefit of UPS is when you have a projector, it stays on until power comes back in short order or it gives you time to turn it off so fans can cool off the lamp.
Other gear may not be bothered if power goes off and comes back whenever.
 
K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
Partly I think by your advice I also got a whole home installed a couple years back. The one they put in was pretty basic though. But I still feel good about it.

Amazon.com: EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection 3rd Edition, 2.38" Length, 5.25" Width 7.5" Height : Electronics

Think it's this one but too lazy to go look.

Which one did you have? And will you replace with the same?

I have the whole home and I have panamax 5000 series on my 3 setups. Are the panamaxs great? Probably not but I bouth them used for $50 to $100 each so even if just a good surge protector that's fine.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Partly I think by your advice I also got a whole home installed a couple years back. The one they put in was pretty basic though. But I still feel good about it.

Amazon.com: EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection 3rd Edition, 2.38" Length, 5.25" Width 7.5" Height : Electronics

Think it's this one but too lazy to go look.

Which one did you have? And will you replace with the same?

I have the whole home and I have panamax 5000 series on my 3 setups. Are the panamaxs great? Probably not but I bouth them used for $50 to $100 each so even if just a good surge protector that's fine.


You can see the hole is black and not green, which means it needs to be replaced.

I am discussing replacement with Faber electric in whom I have great confidence.
 
K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
Clearly a good investment. And remember to the others it's not just for your audio equipment, your refrigerator, oven, microwave, A/C ,etc. etc. I only paid $450 or so. I don't know if the one I have will work frankly. They warned that lightning could get through it if strong enough. But that price over time is nothing.

How pissed would i be if all my AVRs and AMPS got blown!
whole home.jpg
 
Last edited:
B

Bruce53

Audioholic
What an experience!
While I've never had that experience, we do have whole home surge protection and APC backups on the computer and all AV equipment. Now see that it is something critical in the event of an event like yours.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
In last nights weather forecast, there was only the remote chance of a thunderstorm in the Twin Cities Metro. No severe weather was forecast.

I was in my theater last night and watching via my HTPC. It was after dark and the blinds were down.

All of a sudden, there was the loudest thunder clap I have ever heard, just microseconds prior, there was the sound of a large arc, and then a lightening flash and at the same time the enormous single thunder clap. There was no gap between the lightening flash and the thunder bolt. That was the only thunderclap close, but there was some lightening far to the north. There was a brief burst of very heavy rain following the lightening flash and thunder. The three theater UPS units reverted to battery momentarily. The HTPC malfunctioned, but was able to be rebooted, and has fortunately worked perfectly since. My wife was using the the 3.1 system in our great room downstairs. She reported that the power in that system briefly switched to the UPS battery.

I inspected the whole house surge protector at the main switch and breaker at the service entry on the East side of the house this morning. The surge protector indicated it had taken the hit, and needed replacing. I have sent for the electrician to perform that task.

Normally if there is very severe weather I go to generator. In the 15 years I had surge protectors and UPS units at the lake, I would not infrequently go to generator, and power cuts in storms were not infrequent and we had miles of above ground cable. Here in the metro, we have underground service. In almost three years we have only had two power cuts. One was related to severe weather, and the other because a squirrel shorted out a power transformer.

I hate to think what would have happened without the high level of protection we have here. Nothing has had any damage done. However, I think without the protection I have engineered in here, results would have been very different with serious damage.

I am pretty sure this house took a direct hit, and I'm glad that it is a concrete house! From the ground I can not see any roof damage.

I report this incident, to make the point that lightening can be very unpredictable. So this reinforces my view that actually all houses need protection now, with whole house surge protection. It is not just your AV gear, but pretty much everything electrical has complex electrical boards. That now includes Internet infrastructure, ovens, cooktops, micro waves, HVAC, fridges, washer, dryers and more. The losses can really mount to staggering dollar numbers in the modern house.

Whole house surge protection at service entry is essential now, in my view. I think it should be code. For your fragile AV equipment, UPS units are strongly recommended. Insurance claims are a real hassle, and with the cost of home insurance premiums, I suspect most like me, carry a significant deductible.
While the strike didn't hit my house (and it can do a lot of damage just by coming close), the flash/bang being simultaneous are the same- that one hit somewhere within 120' from my house. I don't have a large system and aside from where mine is set up, nothing else is newer equipment because it doesn't need to be. Power didn't go out immediately- that took about a minute and stayed off for close to 6 hours. The power wasn't interrupted across the street, as usual.

I agree that houses need whole-house protection, even if it's required as a retrofit. Personally, I don't have warm, fuzzy feelings for the insurance industry, so my thoughts about whole house are far from any consideration for corporations that hide their profits by building big, new headquarters and installing 'the world's largest American flag' in front of their place (Acuity, whose employee told me that they might kick my claim out when I had water in my basement, even though my policy covered water coming from a floor drain and another rider covering water coming from a sump pump).

Some states and localities don't have much in the way of building codes- that's partly because they don't have many people and therefore, not much local property tax revenue. This means they can't hire good people and they really need to watch the wording in their codes and inspection reports because they can easily be sued for errors & omissions.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Our electrician replaced the sure protector today. It only took a few minutes, they just plug in and out like a breaker. There are NO wires to disconnect and reconnect.
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
Our electrician replaced the sure protector today. It only took a few minutes, they just plug in and out like a breaker. There are NO wires to disconnect and reconnect.
Yeah, whole home is quite simple at the box. Even the sub panel for the generator is just one one unit.
 
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