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How To Test Your Wiring After An Electric Strike

How To Test Wiring After A Lighting Strike

image of burnt wires

Each year, there are nearly 40 million lightning strikes in the United States. The southeastern states such as Florida and Georgia receive some of the highest amounts of lightning, though it can occur anywhere. Here in North Carolina, most cities see 2,000 lighting strikes per year.

Though most of these have no lasting impacts, lightning damage can be severe at times. Death, injury, fires, damaged wires and electrical system issues are some of the most common types of issues caused when lightning strikes.

Signs of Lightning Strike Damage

Once a storm has passed, it’s important to check for damage where in the places lightning struck. One of the first things you’ll look for is visible smoke damage on roof. This can often be in the form of dirty dark or gray patches or black scorch marks.

Next, look for split brick or cinderblock. Lightning strikes can reach temperatures in excess of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The extreme heat of lightning strikes can easily crack and split even strong materials like cinderblocks.

Lightning will often cause damage to multiple appliances. This is due to the surge in voltage that occurs after a lighting strike. Though appliances can handle some fluctuation in voltage, the super high voltage that occurs after a hit of lightning is too much, resulting in circuit board damage.

If a visible inspection reveals smoke marks by the electrical service panel, there’s a very good chance there’s damaged wiring. A visual inspection of the circuit breakers by a qualified electrician is essential of lightning damage is suspected at the electrical panel.

Hot spots are especially important to look out for. These can be formed as a result to damage to the electrical system, and present a huge fire hazard, or risk of electrocution.

Electrical System Megger Testing

A Megger Test is a method for checking the condition of electrical insulation in a home electrical system. This insulation resistance test has actually been around for over 100 years, and is one of the best ways for testing wires after lightning strikes. It’s a very reliable test that can quickly determine if your electrical system is functioning as it should.

Any qualified electrician can perform Megger testing. A Licensed electrician knows how to perform this reliable test carefully, avoiding the risk of touching any live wire.

Using a multi-meter, the electrician will perform what’s called megaohm testing. The line and neutral terminals of the transformer are disconnected, then the megger testing will measure the level of electrical insulation. If the megohm test reveals that the value is low, less than 2, it demonstrates an issue with the electrical wiring.

Value Policy Law

Unfortunately, a lightning bolt at the wrong place and time can cause a whole house to be destroyed. The good news is that most states have what is called a “Value policy law” which ensures that an insurance company must pay up to the full policy limit when a structure is destroyed by lightning or other natural disaster.

Independent professionals called public adjusters inspect destroyed properties, and as long as there is no evidence of fraud, they will settle the claim with the insurance company. This ensures that the home owner will receive the full value of the policy without a lengthy insurance claim process.

Home owners should take time to discuss the full policy value with their insurance agent when they purchase a policy. It’s important to think about what total loss would mean, and how much money it would require to rebuild.

Repairing Lightning Strikes

After lightning strikes and causes damaged wiring inside, or damage to appliances, it’s time to make electrical repairs and protect yourself from further problems down the road.

Replacing Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronics are full of highly delicate components that can easily be wrecked after a lightning strike. One of the best and cheapest solutions is to make sure that all electronics are protected by surge protectors. They are are an inexpensive and versatile way to connect multiple components to power, but to provide all of them with protection from a power surge caused by lightning.

Replacing Large Appliances

Talking with your insurance agent about replacing large appliances is extremely important. Homeowners want to ensure they get appliances that are as good as the ones they are replacing. Though there are no surge protectors for large devices, proper electrical wiring is essential to preventing damage to washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and more.

Replacing Sub-Panel

If a lightning strike has damaged electrical wiring inside, there’s a very good chance the sub-panel or main panel will need to be replaced. Your insurance company will help make sure the the work that’s done is both covered by your policy, and done to a high standard.

Make sure to choose a panel that accommodates all your large appliances and has enough circuit breakers to cover all the rooms in the whole house.

Read More: The difference between a Sub-Panel and a Main Panel

Rewiring House

As part of the electrical work to repair the home after a lightning strike, it’s vital to check for hidden damage. Sometimes the massive surge of electrical current causes damaged wiring that isn’t apparent. This presents a major fire hazard. A thorough electrical inspection should reveal any hidden damage before electrical problems cause a danger to inhabitants of the home.

Replacing GFCI Receptacles

GFCI receptacles are part of your electrical system that protect everyone in your home from the danger of electrical shock and fire. The delicate components in these can be damaged by lightning strikes. While GFCI outlets perform an important function, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.

Concerned about an electric strike? Reach out to your qualified Charlotte Electrician for testing, diagnosis and repair. We also offer 24/7 emergency electrical repair.

Contact Us

Are you in need of a professional electrician that is Licensed, Bonded & Insured? Get in touch with LiveWire Electrical today!

Phone: (704) 289-7792
Address: 1409 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
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