How To Protect Your Computer From Lightning Damage

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

During thunderstorms many people are leaving their computers unprotected. Simply turning a computer off during a thunderstorm does nothing whatsoever to protect the computer.

Nearby lightning strikes can cause surges through the power lines or phone lines into your house or office, and these often damage your computer.

Sometimes, just the power supply is damaged, and other times the damage is so extensive that the whole computer has to be replaced.

Power surges also do incremental damage to electronics, so the computer may work properly for a while, but occasionally lock up.

This type of fault is hard to diagnose or repair, so when storms approach, the best idea is to turn off the computer and unplug it from the outlet.

Don’t forget to unplug your phone line or cable Internet from the computer too. These are the second most likely way for surges to get into your computer – the first being the electrical supply.

We often have a large number of service calls in the days following a severe thunderstorm – the most common complaint is: “My computer was fine when I shut it off, but now it won’t power on.”

Having a good, quality surge protector is great for the minimal day-to-day power surges that happen mostly unseen in the background. These surges and spikes gradually damage electronics.

But if lightning strikes, a surge protector will be instantly destroyed along with anything it was  supposed to be protecting.

Also, keep in mind that cheaper surge protectors wear out over time, but there is no way of knowing their status.

Your best bet for safe computing during our spring thunderstorm season is to leave your computer unplugged when not in use – or at the very least, unplug it as storms approach.

Be sure to see this month’s special newsletter insert, “What Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know About Computer And Network Power Protection.”