How to Repair Circuits Damaged by Lightning Strikes
By Dave Rongey
Summary:Electrical Circuits Question: My house hit by lightning and a number of the circuit breakers tripped. I cannot get power to two light fixtures.
Circuits that are Damaged by Lightning
Circuits that are Damaged by Lightning.
My house was hit by lightning and a number of the circuit breakers tripped. I cannot get power to two light fixtures.
I've changed the switches and the circuit breaker. Still no power.
The breaker is not tripping so I don't think there is a short circuit.
Interestingly, when switches are off I get a volt reading of about 49 volts.
Hi John - Great Electrical Repair Question!
John it sounds like you have lost a hot leg of the main power, this would explain why you are getting a 49volt reading which points to a neutral feed-back.
The circuit that is not working needs to be physically traced to find where the circuit is open. If you cannot find the problem then the damaged circuit will need to be capped off and terminated in junction boxes and a new replacement circuit installed but not attached to the defective portion of the original circuit.
If the original circuit is part of a 3-wire set or multi-wire circuit, then careful attention must be given to the shared neutral on any of the branch circuits.
John, I have repaired several homes that have been struck by lightning, many of varying degrees of damage. The worst one destroyed every electrical and electronic device in the home and the lightning surge actually blew the wire cable jacket open where the voltage went to ground to a gas pipe in the attic where the cable crossed the pipe.
With that home I had to remove all wiring from the panel terminations and perform a meg-ohm test on all insulated conductors to make sure there were no shorted or damaged wires.
Your homeowners policy may cover the repairs of this type of damage, check with your agent.
Also consider installing a Lightning Arrester on the main electrical service to help absorb any future lighting strikes.
Lightning Arresters and Surge Suppressors
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!
The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.