Best Lightning Service call Practices.

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highvolts582

Senior Member
Location
brick nj
You get a service call for a lightning strike it could be something as small as replacing a gfi or as large as replacing a meter socket that was struck and needs a new one. When you service this home do you just treat the symptoms that are most obvious to the customer or do you go looking. Where do you look? where do you draw a line? open panel and look? or go in into the junction box under insulation in the attic that has no reason to be looked at? Or Could it? Or say sorry customer you need to call someone who is an expert at these things. I want to provide the best service for my customers and if I only treat symptoms with out being a full blown lightning specialist what could I be missing after I leave with the moolah.

From,
Lots of lightning in Jersey this year
 

kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
We had one job where lightning struck the flue of a gas boiler, came down into the utility room, then jumped over to the CSST piping.

It took out the boiler's controls, and then made its way down to the gas range, gas fireplace, and a few other things: The dishwasher, and some GFCI outlets also took a hit.

It set the place on fire, since it exploded the CSST pipe. Since the homeowner was home at the time, he was able to get the fire out in short order, saving the structure and most of his possessions.

We were called in to check/test everything. We ended up testing all the branch circuit wiring with a megger to ensure it was all intact. Even found some jack-legged wiring on one circuit that initially flunked the testing -- we repaired that as well.

You have to disconnect EVERYTHING on a circuit in order for the megger test to give an accurate reading. We had to partially remove some paddle fans, since they had concealed remote receivers hidden in the canopy covers. All GFCI devices need to be removed, as well as anything with a control transformer (doorbell, garage door opener, etc).

If you don't have a megger tester, now might be a good time to get one.
 

highvolts582

Senior Member
Location
brick nj
We had one job where lightning struck the flue of a gas boiler, came down into the utility room, then jumped over to the CSST piping.

It took out the boiler's controls, and then made its way down to the gas range, gas fireplace, and a few other things: The dishwasher, and some GFCI outlets also took a hit.

It set the place on fire, since it exploded the CSST pipe. Since the homeowner was home at the time, he was able to get the fire out in short order, saving the structure and most of his possessions.

We were called in to check/test everything. We ended up testing all the branch circuit wiring with a megger to ensure it was all intact. Even found some jack-legged wiring on one circuit that initially flunked the testing -- we repaired that as well.

You have to disconnect EVERYTHING on a circuit in order for the megger test to give an accurate reading. We had to partially remove some paddle fans, since they had concealed remote receivers hidden in the canopy covers. All GFCI devices need to be removed, as well as anything with a control transformer (doorbell, garage door opener, etc).

If you don't have a megger tester, now might be a good time to get one.

This is extensive, expensive, and I have never heard of this being done. That was a scary situation fire and all damage were you hired to do this so customer could sleep at night or this is in black in white as normal procedure whenever lighting is of likely suspect? I guess you can pretty much make sure the house wiring is ok by doing this. I would say this is the priciest solution. And an insurance company who will not anty up for this or will they? There must be larger spectrum of answers to come. Cause Ive never heard of this unless super severe strike happens. what to do when bolt was not as bad as this?
 
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kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
The owners insisted on the testing. The insurance company approved and paid for the procedure. Seems they didn't want claims to arise later from "hidden" damages.
 

highvolts582

Senior Member
Location
brick nj
really? what if its not a direct hit?

really? what if its not a direct hit?

I get a lot of gfi receptacles that are either tripped only, or a small percentage of the total amount of Gfi receptacles in the home break
from lightning.

I replace the tripped Gfi receptacles that trip when I have a good feeling lighting was the cause. I can not tell
just because it reset and operated correctly it is not more on its way to being broke. Would anyone know if this is magnetic pulse damage or a surge of sorts that comes from POCO lines/phone/cable.

If all the lightning caused was enough energy to trip gfi receptacles and no other evidence of any other typical lightning related
malfunctions. Does this warrant testing the entire homes wires? Throwing away electronic equipment in the home that presents no
noticeable symptoms because of a festering malfunction that may take time to create a danger? Where should someone draw the line so the service techs make the right decision for any company and for the customer we are always trying to protect?
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
IMO, your best bet is to talk with the HO's insurance company and see what they consider to be an appropriate practice. They have far better knowledge on this kind of damage than anyone else. My guess is they are going to suggest repairing/replacing obvious damage, and may suggest meggering wiring that may have been damaged but cannot be readily inspected. The problem with meggering wiring in a residence is that there is often no way to tell what may or may not be hooked up to a specific circuit and you could easily damage something else while testing the conductors.

I think there is not a good answer to this question.

BTW: My spell checker did not like the word meggering and tried to replace it with what some would consider a racially offense word that starts with "N". I find that odd.
 

highvolts582

Senior Member
Location
brick nj
something that could change.

something that could change.

BTW: My spell checker did not like the word meggering and tried to replace it with what some would consider a racially offense word that starts with "N". I find that odd.
I know that is why I did not use it. I wish upon a star that a forum such as this could edit and add words to the spell check database for the sake of Technical terms we all know how to say great but unsure of its spelling whether an actual electrical term or real word to
something that could be considered industry slang. Maybe even our own electrical dictionary/thesaurus. Many years from now if someone searches this forum and wants to read some old info he/she may have a hard time figuring out what everyone is saying.

Meggering. verb. the act of using a Megger. Im not saying change spell check system in the universe, just in places where we electrical
minds gather and speak mostly to each other. Like this site and others alike.

I have bad spelling and Grammar. Once I feel I have my point across to potential readers I let it loose. Depending on importance of the reader is how hard I try and make my self seem like I paid attention in elementary school. I am lost without a decent spell checker.
 

highvolts582

Senior Member
Location
brick nj
Best answer so far

Best answer so far

IMO, your best bet is to talk with the HO's insurance company and see what they consider to be an appropriate practice. They have far better knowledge on this kind of damage than anyone else. My guess is they are going to suggest repairing/replacing obvious damage, and may suggest meggering wiring that may have been damaged but cannot be readily inspected. The problem with meggering wiring in a residence is that there is often no way to tell what may or may not be hooked up to a specific circuit and you could easily damage something else while testing the conductors.

I think there is not a good answer to this question.
By reporting the situation and letting the insurer tell you what needs to be done based on circumstances. Will give your customer peace
of mind and help remove responsibility of an electrical contractors personal damage assessment. And also could be profitable if more
extensive testing needs to be done as per the insurers remedy. If the insurer says change the broken gfi and that should be fine bill and go and something results later it must be there problem. I am just guessing here I do not know of any resources that say how to handle these types of things it could be in insurers fine print I would not know. I am going to try this. When this happens I am going to get right on the phone with these people tell them the situation and do what they want.
 
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