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Should I Unplug My Appliances During a Thunderstorm?

Let's cut to the chase, thunderstorms can be a danger for electronics in your home. However, is this fear justified or overblown? While mother nature can throw a lot our way, we need to remember that we thankfully have the tools to tackle the elements with relative ease.

Unplug Appliances?

The prospect of waiting out an electrical storm in the dark makes some people nervous. If your home is protected by a surge protector and/or an automatic circuit breaker, there's no reason to worry about it getting fried by lightning.

But if you don't have either of those things installed yet (or live somewhere where they're impossible), well unplugging might be your best solution.

You should unplug your appliances during a thunderstorm because although lightning strikes are rare, they can strike home and overwhelm electrical systems. Unplugging your appliances will reduce the risk of fire or electrocution. You’re welcome in advance for that peace of mind!

Surge protectors can eliminate most power-surge risks.

Surge protectors are a must. You can buy them at any electronics store; they come in various shapes, sizes and configurations. Some come as extension cords, some as wall mounts, and others may be whole house surge protectors. They're relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but most importantly, for our purposes here: they can be used for all your home electronic devices.

Surge protectors are available as cords or extensions, wall mounts, and "whole house" devices that fit into your home's circuit breaker box. The whole house option is better because it protects all the outlets in your home. Not all surge protectors are built equally, so make sure the protector you have is rated to withstand surges in a storm.

If you are worried about the price of whole home surge protection consider the cost of replacing damaged electronics. A small investment in surge protection ensures you peace of mind in the future when you avoid paying thousands for replacing damaged appliances that were out of warranty.

Being Extra Cautious

Even if you know your home is protected by a surge protector, it's best to unplug your electronics which are very valuable. Surge protectors are fantastic, but they are not a silver bullet!

Semi-related, when leaving the house for an extended period unplug some of your appliances. Why? Because an appliance that operates while plugged into the wall can draw more electricity than one that's turned off, even though they're consuming the same amount of power.

If you leave your computer or other electronics on overnight, for example, and someone comes in and unplugs them without telling anyone—that could add up.

Even if you live in a stormy area, there's no guarantee that lightning will hit your home during a storm. If you're worried about getting zapped by an errant bolt while having dinner or washing your hair (the latter is generally not advised), just relax and enjoy the show! If it gets too intense, though, consider unplugging any appliances that are connected directly to wall outlets