Top 2 Electrical Issues Following a Severe Storm
While your home’s electrical system is designed to be tough enough to handle the power needs of all your electronics and withstand the occasional power surge, the trouble severe weather brings is a powerful reminder of just how delicate an electrical system can be. Although any number of issues can pop up after bad weather rolls through your area, there are two main causes of the electrical issues following a severe storm that every homeowner should be aware of.
Unfortunately, the frequent lightning strikes that are part of severe thunderstorms don’t have to be directly over your house to cause damage. In fact, lightning from a storm up to 10 miles away can hit your house even when you’re looking at crystal blue skies. While a direct lightning strike can create a fire hazard, nearby lightning strikes can still cause electrical system issues. Even if your breaker box has a surge protector to protect your home against power surges, lightning can still enter your home through cable and telephone wires.
The most common issue you’ll experience after a lightning-fueled power surge is a breaker box full of thrown circuits. Even after you flip all the breakers back to their original positions, you’ll likely find that some outlets no longer provide power or lights seem to flicker and hum when they come on.
Rather than learning to live around these issues, be sure to contact an electrician right away. While it may be little more than a nuisance to your family, the damage done to the electrical system could be a fire hazard waiting to happen.
Heavy rains and flash flooding can be hallmarks of severe storms. Depending on the elevation of your home – or the condition of your roof and windows – water from a storm surge can enter your home. If this standing water is high enough, it may even be able to seep into your walls and reach your wiring.
Although some wiring in your home may be rated to withstand moisture, the typical homeowner really can’t be sure exactly how much exposure the wiring had to water. Since wiring usually needs to be replaced after coming in contact with floodwaters, it’s critical that you bring in a qualified electrician to inspect and replace your wiring as needed.
While many home insurance policies specifically exclude damage caused by flooding and lightning, it’s worth a call to your insurance agent to check before you move forward with any of the electrical work. Depending on the policy you have, your insurer may send out a claims adjuster to assess the damage and cut a check for the necessary work.
Even better, consider reviewing your home insurance policy and any applicable riders before you find yourself in the middle of severe weather season. Knowing what’s covered (like wind and hail damage) can provide at least some financial peace of mind.