How to Protect Electronics from Severe Weather

Color night time photo of lightning against a cloudy dark purple sky landing near a house.

When the weather turns wild, we often focus on its immediate impact on our homes and personal safety. However, our fragile electronics can easily become victims- but with some savvy prepping, you can arm them with a winning defense.

The safest way to protect your electronics from severe weather is simply unplugging them anytime you expect a severe weather event. You can also install a lightning rod and power surge protector for additional protection. Waterproof casings and temperature-regulating accessories can also help prevent water damage or thermal stress on your electronics.

Prepare to outsmart severe weather and emerge victorious in the battle to protect your beloved electronics. Because with even the wildest storms, we refuse to let our electronics and appliances to go down without a fight.

Shielding Electronics from Power Surge’s During Severe Weather

Color photo of a silver metal lightning rod being struck by a huge lightning bolt against a dark and light blue cloudy sky.
Silver metal lightning rod being struck by a huge lightning bolt against a dark and light blue cloudy sky.

Storms, hurricanes, blizzards, and lightning can all interfere with the power connection to your home, causing power surges that can wreak havoc on electronic devices. But with these three preemptive methods, you can avoid this:

1. Unplug your electronic devices-the ultimate preventive measure

Glossy color vector image of the Green word "Unplug" with a white Electrical Outlet and an American red electrical three pronged plug. Reflection of the picture show below the main graphic on a white background.
Unplug your electronics and appliances for emergency preparedness protection in electrical storms.

In the battle against severe weather damage on your electronics due to power surges, one strategy stands out as a clear winner: unplugging them. While we will explore two more crucial preemptive measures, unplugging your electronics is the simplest, cheapest, and safest, yet overlooked step to protect your cherished electronics from the potential hazards of bad weather.

Just take a quick tour around your house and unplug anything you can before the storm strikes. By disconnecting your devices from the power source, you eliminate the likelihood of your tech falling victim to unpredictable electrical fluctuations.

2. Install a lightning rod on top of your home-protecting your electronics from the outside

Color vector illustration of a simple red roofed small house, with a cloud above with yellow lightning striking a lightning rod on the roof.
Lightning rod example on top of a simple house illustration.

Lightning rods have stood the test of time for over two centuries as a reliable defense against lightning strikes. But what exactly do these inconspicuous metal rods do, and why should you consider them for your home?

Lightning rods redirect the powerful energy of lightning flashes away from your home’s crucial components and nearby structures, such as power lines and light poles. By providing a designated path for lightning to follow, they ensure that the chances of a power surge entering your home are kept to an absolute minimum.

But what should you consider when purchasing the best lightning rod for your home? Look for one that has been tested and certified to withstand the immense electrical forces of lightning strikes. Ensure that the lightning rod system is properly grounded, as this provides a safe discharge route for the lightning’s energy into the ground, further protecting your home and electronics from potential damage.

Now, you might wonder, does this antiquated method still hold up in the age of advanced technology? The answer is a resounding yes! While we may have made remarkable advancements in our electrical and electronic devices, installing the not-so-contemporary lightning rod on your home is a smart and reliable way to shield your electronics from thunderstorms.

3. Have a good surge protector for your electrical system-protection at the point of entry

Color photo of a black Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection 3rd Edition whole house surge protector on a white background.
Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection 3rd Edition whole house surge protector.

An entry point surge protector should be next on the line of defense, safeguarding your precious electronics from the perils of severe weather. So, what exactly does a surge protector do? Will it be able to stop a lightning strike in its tracks?

Surge protectors can shield your devices from distant lightning strikes and everyday power surges. However, it’s essential to dispel a common misconception: having surge protectors doesn’t automatically guarantee safety during a thunderstorm. While surge protectors offer significant protection, they are not foolproof for direct lightning strikes.

Now, before you rush off to stock up on individual surge protectors for every device, consider a more comprehensive approach—a service-entrance surge protector. This remarkable device provides protection at the point of entry, safeguarding your main electrical service panel. Installed by a qualified electrician, a service-entrance surge protector helps prevent electrical surges from damaging your home’s internal wiring system.

When choosing the best surge protector for your home, several crucial factors deserve your attention:

  • First, consider the Voltage Protection Rating (VPR), which shows the surge protector’s ability to divert excess voltage away from your devices. Opt for a surge protector with a lower VPR for enhanced protection.
  • Second, examine the Joule rating, which signifies the surge protector’s energy absorption capacity. A higher Joule rating implies greater resilience against power surges.
  • Last, pay attention to the response time of the surge protector. A faster response time ensures rapid suppression of surges, minimizing potential damage to your electronics.

Remember, even the most advanced surge protectors have their limits. Over time, they can become weakened or damaged, compromising their effectiveness. Experts at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend regularly checking surge protectors for any signs of wear or damage. Many modern surge protectors are equipped with indicator lights, serving as a timely reminder to replace them when they reach the end of their lifespan.

Please note: There’s a common confusion between power strips and surge protectors. While power strips offer convenience by allowing you to plug multiple devices into a single outlet, they lack the vital surge protection feature. Investing in surge protectors is crucial to ensure comprehensive protection for your devices, especially during severe weather events.

IMPORTANT: If you rely on your home network for critical communication during severe weather, keep your router connected. It is a lifeline to stay informed and connected with emergency updates and help. If seeking shelter becomes necessary, unplugging every device may not be feasible, but do what you can to minimize risks.

Water Damage Prevention: Protecting Electronics from Flooding and Moisture

Color daytime photo of a flooded kitchen and appliances after a severe weather storm.
Flooded kitchen and appliances after a severe weather storm.

Power surges aren’t the only culprits of electronic damage during severe weather. Moisture is another silent destroyer. If your devices come into contact with even a small amount of moisture, they could be rendered useless or, worse, pose a safety hazard. Whether it is a torrential downpour, flooding, or even accidental spills, moisture has a knack for wreaking havoc on our electronic companions.

To fortify electronics against the relentless forces of water and moisture during storms and floods, you can do the following:

  • Use Waterproof Casings and Sealants: Waterproof casings and sealants available on act as shields, forming a barrier between your electronic devices and the invading moisture. These ingenious solutions not only keep water at bay but also protect against dust, debris, and accidental spills.
  • Embrace Proper Storage and Placement: Proper storage and placement of your electronics minimize exposure to moisture during floods or heavy rainfall. Keep your devices away from windows, doors, and areas prone to water intrusion. Elevate them on shelves or stands to prevent contact with any potential water accumulation.

Please see some of our other articles on emergency preparedness like “Long-Term Power Blackout Coming Soon” and “Emergency Home Lighting in Electrical Outages.”

Shielding Electronics from Extreme Temperatures

Color vector image of a bright hot yellow sun.

Extreme temperatures can affect the working and lifespan of your electronic companions. In scorching summer heat or freezing winter cold, electronic devices can suffer thermal stress that affects their performance and lifespan. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause components to overheat, leading to system failures and reduced longevity. Conversely, frigid temperatures can cause condensation and damage delicate circuitry.

So how do we keep our devices safe during extreme temperatures? To start with, proper storage is key. Store your devices in a cool, dry place away from direct scorching sunlight and heat sources when not in use.

Also, you can invest in temperature-regulating accessories tailored to your specific devices. For instance, thermal insulating cases can help mitigate the impact of extreme cold, while heat-dissipating pads and stands can prevent overheating in scorching environments. These accessories act as a protective shield, maintaining optimal temperatures and preserving the integrity of your electronics.

In situations where extreme temperatures are unavoidable, such as during outdoor activities or travel, seek refuge in climate-controlled environments. Seek shade on hot days and avoid leaving electronics inside parked vehicles, where temperatures can soar to dangerous levels within minutes.

Post-Severe Weather Recovery: Assessing and Recovering Damaged Electronics

Color photo of a white young dark-haired woman looking at white dark haired male appliance repairman checking inoperable dishwasher after a severe storm with digital multimeter in kitchen
Young woman looking at appliance repairman checking inoperable dishwasher after a severe storm with digital multimeter in kitchen

After a bad weather event, you should assess and, if need be, recover your electronics. Start by thoroughly inspecting each device, carefully noting visible signs of damage, such as water exposure. Make a comprehensive list of the affected devices and their specific issues.

For water-damaged devices, take immediate action by powering them off, disconnecting them from power sources, and gently wiping off any excess moisture. Consult professional advice or refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning and drying techniques tailored to your devices.

While some electronics may be salvageable with careful cleaning and restoration, others may require the expertise of professionals. If you’re uncertain about the extent of damage or lack the necessary know-how, it’s wise to seek assistance from reputable technicians or contact the device manufacturer for guidance on repairs or suitable replacements.

Insurance coverage and warranties play crucial roles in protecting your electronics during severe weather events. Approximately 85% of homeowners in the United States have homeowner’s insurance coverage that includes personal property such as electronics. Take the time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy or explore electronics insurance options to ensure you have adequate coverage. Familiarize yourself with policy terms, coverage limits, and exclusions related to severe weather damage. Equally important is understanding the terms and conditions of warranties, particularly concerning weather-related damages. In the event of damage, promptly follow the designated procedures for filing warranty claims.

Key Takeaways-The Battle for Electronic Survival: Winning the War Against Severe Weather!

From raging storms to torrential downpours, severe weather poses a real threat to our cherished electronics. The last thing we want is to face the heartbreak of seeing our gadgets drowned, fried, or rendered useless by nature’s relentless damage.

Fortunately, we now know precisely how to outsmart severe weather and protect our electronics. Installation of a lightning rod, investment in a good entry point surge protector, and unplugging electronic devices are just a few smart measures that give us the upper hand in protecting our gadgets from power surges.

Furthermore, strategies like waterproof casings and sealants, temperature-regulating accessories, and proper storage and placement help safeguard electronics from water damage, extreme temperatures, and other weather-related mishaps.

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John Mortensen

As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, geologist, or scientist. I became a project manager which is involved with many of those things. I am a project manager and tech writer who researches the latest alternative and green technologies. We write helpful articles about green electronics and green technology products. AI, extreme weather, electric vehicles, are all in our future and we want to know the best way to deal with the effects of these on the power grid and emergency preparedness.

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