Lighting surge

Wednesday morning 2am an amazing electrical storm is going on all around our home. It lasted for about a 1/2 hr. I woke up and started unplugging things around the house. All of a sudden a bright light, then a loud clap of thunder. Sounded like it hit right outside the window. A couple of seconds later my wife and I hear a snap and a hiss coming from the living room. I run to the sound but can’t find where it came from. I’m trying to use my sense of smell to detect where it came from but nothing. The storm finally stopped and we were able to get back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning I went to put on the TV in the living room and it didn’t work. Seems a surge went through my electrical system and hit my TV.
There is a question in here. What happened? How does lightning take a route through my home and only knocks out my TV? Would a surge protector have helped? How about if the circuit was AFCI? Could that of stopped the surge.
What is the best safety remedy for lightning? Could lightning rods stop a surge like this?

I know it’s a lot of questions but I’m just trying to learn about lightning and how it affects our electrical systems.If it didn’t happen to me I probably wouldn’t be so interested but now I think it would be very good to be able to educate my clients on lightning. Any informative links that any of you would have on this subject would be great.


Sometimes the problem is not yours. If the big one hits - it will get you

Some good ideas to help out are

Good grounding system with everything including the TV cable - antenna - satellite dish all properly tied together.

Surge protectors and battery backups will also help.

Just remember that you can spend more on the protection that what will be damaged is worth


TVs usually blow because of a mismatch between the ground reference on the cable and the power. You really need a couple layers of surge protection and a good grounding system tying all of it together.
You don’t have to get blown up by nearby lightning strikes. If you did my stuff would be toast several times a year.
A week or so ago the TV station said my neighborhood registered 129 lightning strikes in 30 minutes on their weather computer. Several of them had the flash and boom too close together to really measure. The power hit beeper on my UPS was going off so much I had to turn it off and I never turned off the TV, ReplayTV or the 4 or 5 PCs that are running most of the time here.

ground reference on the cable and the power??? snake oil BS

What are you saying here??? They are the same. If they are different (measured with an ohm meter - 50 ohms or more) run a ground wire between the cable and the power ground. Not at the TV but at the entry point to the home or put in a secondary ground where needed.

In reality the real problem is the AC IMPEDANCE between the ground and the neutral which is why most TV sets are two wire not three.

If you check there is no refference to ground on most TV sets once again they are two wire not three. The cable wire is grounded when it comes into the home and everywhere it travels through out the cable system so is not a problem.

A TV can take it in the shorts from the power plug or the antenna. Normally it is the power plug which has nothing to do with the “ground reff”

Back to the subject of what went wrong with the TV and thus where the voltage was too high. - What failed on the TV?? This is the area that you should protect on the new set.

Don’t get me wrong but where do you want to put your money??

Snake oil sales are up in all areas where people have paranoia – Its call terrorism


I am saying if the cable company protector is not bonded to your ground electrode from the electric service your TV will reconcile that difference.
You also want to be sure your surge protectors all get connected to the same electrode system. Bonding may be snake oil but several thousand IBM customers in SW Fla think it works. These are people with networks that they can’t turn off and unplug every afternoon. Once we started this practice our “lightning calls” went from several a day to one or two a year.

BTW there is certainly a path from the antenna common through the big assed loop that is the B+ circuitry to the neutral and out the grounding system. It isn’t an intentional path but when it arcs over it becomes one.
When you actually start replacing bad stuff (lots of bad stuff) you will see the path.