Lightning is powerful and unpredictable. Depending on how close lightning strikes, damage is unavoidable. However, there are precautions you can take that might allow your appliances and electronics to weather the storms.
As a service to our members, New-Mac Electric offers a variety of surge protection options. Remember, lightning is uncontrollable, but you can lessen your risk by selecting specific means of protection for the appliances/electronics of your choice.
A popular starting point for New-Mac members has been a protector that is installed at your meter, known as a meter can (or surge diverter). This device is designed to protect larger appliances within the home. Specifically, its warranty covers these seven items: refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher, freezer, and furnace (if located inside the home). It does not cover outdoor fixtures, such as heat-and-air units. The meter can is available to New-Mac members for a $25 installation charge and a lease of $5 per month.
All other applicances/electronics need protected by a plug-in or hard-wire surge protector.
New-Mac offers several plug-in surge-suppression strips that are available at both of the co-op’s offices. These strips are highly recommended for phones, computers or home-entertainment electronics (TVs, satellite receivers, etc.), which are vulnerable to surges coming through phone lines or coaxial connections. Such electronics can only be protected if phone lines/coaxial cables are connected to the appropriate surge protector.
Remember, surge protection can only work if it exists along the path voltage takes, which is why outdoor equipment is challenging to protect because often damage is incurred due to lightning strikes to the ground. Wells are particularly vulnerable due to the steel casing running through the ground. New-Mac does have surge protectors available for wells and other outdoor applications, which require hard-wire installation by a professional.
If any of New-Mac’s current line of surge protectors incur a surge, that protector needs to be replaced. All of the plug-in or hard-wire protectors have indicator lights. If that light goes out, the protector can be brought to either New-Mac office for a replacement.
If you have a meter can installed, you need to remember after each storm passes through to check the indicator lights. Currently, New-Mac has meter cans installed from two manufacturers, both are plastic collars that extend the meter out approximately four inches from the base. Those made by Sycom are dark gray with two green LED lights on the right-hand side, and those made by Tesco are light gray with two red lights on the underside. During the day these lights are challenging to see without shading. It is much easier to check these lights after the sun has gone down for the evening. If the lights are fully illuminated or flickering, the unit is operational. If the lights are no longer illuminated, the unit has sacrificed itself and needs replaced. In that event, call the New-Mac office, and we will install a new unit at no additional charge.
For more information or advice on choosing the right protection, visit with or call Zane in our Member Services Department at 417-451-1515 or 800-322-3849.