Anyone NOT using surge protection?

Hi all. I have ordered a Wireworld power strip from Av options. It has no surge protection or filtration, which is good for Naim gear.

I have just verified with my insurance, and I am NOT covered in the event of a surge caused by lightning.

Who here goes without surge protection and does a surge protector even protect from a major electrical surge?

Thoughts please.

Did your insurance say your not covered by a surge caused by lightning, just for items not plugged into a surge protector or was this just a general statement, that they don’t cover damage due to a lightning strike?

If you get a direct lightning strike, its highly unlikely that any sort of surge protector will protect your electronics. For years I ran without a surge protected power bar but would unplug gear when I knew there was a storm coming & did have a device plugged into the circuit that would trip the breaker in the event of a surge. Now I still use an unfiltered “audio grade” powerbar but I do have a whole home surge protector installed at the main electrical panel.


You need to check this as lightning strikes are generally within covered risks (same as storms and other weather events). A mains surge protector is nothing to do with a lightning strike (as @daren_p mentions).

The mains surge protector is there to stop mains supply (operative words) voltage/current surges, which can damage electrical appliances.

You may be thinking of SPDs which are now fitted to consumer units and intended to provide some protection from lightning strikes. Nothing will give you 100% protection but these can help, unlike a plug-in surge protector which won’t.
The 18th edition electrical regs tightened up the rules around SPD installation.

Consideration of protection against lightning via phone and network cables, TV and radio aerials should also be included.

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You’re down as living in Montreal. Are storms common there. Physical separation is probably best when a storm is imminent, i.e. unplug the lot, and put on the battery radio

I personally have no SP on my HiFi Distribution Board, but it is on the house Distribution Board. The rules in your country on what you are allowed in the Distribution Board may differ to the UK.

We have quite a few storms in the summer months. I think I will just unplug the system when a storm is coming.

If I know a storm is coming, I always unplug (and make sure to disconnect any network cables, etc., also.

For other times, I have a Russ Andrews Mega Clamp. It’s not guaranteed to protect from lightening, but I believe the device used came from spike prevention in telecoms, so it’s better than nothing.

None of Russ’s stuff will present a problem in terms of mains impedance as it’s never in series with the supply - he’s the fussiest guy I’ve ever met about anything which impedes the mains.

See this


I’m curious about the same thing (in relation to sound quality). Every product out there with AU/NZ plugs seems to have surge and filter components built-in…unless I get one custom made (which is an option I think). Currently I use a 5-gang wall outlet on a house circuit with RCD protection at the switchboard, but am now short of outlets. (edit: According to the gospel of Google, RCD’s do not protect from surges of any kind) I have had a couple of unit shut-downs over the years with noises that made me cringe. One from car vs. transformer. One from a massive flock of birds overwhelming power lines. Fortunately, it all still fired up again ok.

I have a power hub with 10 receptacles that my TV and modem and computer etc are all plugged into. It also functions as a protection device and has LEDs on the front to register over-voltage. It’s quite a bit more than just a power strip.
The other day there was a very close flash of lightning and it went into over-voltage protection mode and shut down. It seemed to absorb the surge and because it shut down properly, none of my electronic components were bothered at all. It protected them nicely. It did take a while for the power hub to reset, in fact something got stuck on the inside from the surge and eventually I just banged on the top of it with my fist which unstuck the problem contacts. So these better devices have more than just a Varistor protecting the circuit and I’m very thankful my hardware was plugged into it.
At the time, my Naim kit was all unplugged.

I also use the AV Options Wireworld strip.

I unplug everything in the event of electric storms.

I have a a personal articles policy on my insurance specifically for my system. It covers everything and is not subject to my homeowners deductible. It does cost me about $1200/yr for a $145k system. Given my phono cartridge is $13k to replace if I screw up, I appreciate the peace of mind.

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I am not covered by my insurance, no matter what the case. I asked if I could add that option by paying extra, and they said it was not possible.

We once had a vacuum cleaner took out after a lightening strike nearby. It want even plugged in! As well as my alarm system
It had been used about an hour before but wouldn’t work after.
The engineer said it was possible for that to happen. I don’t know how but it did .

If the strike was close then the damage may have been caused by EMP or induction. Telephone equipment its usually most vulnerable in these instances, and we have lost a whole bunch of phones and a couple of modems over the years to this phenomenon.

As Richard says the EMP is most damaging for very close lightning strikes and that will induce into anything metallic. Network cables, phone cables (which are effectively the same as network cables), speaker cables, mains cables, interconnects, etc are all vulnerable. The only real protection unless you have a faraday cage (which some commercial building employ) is unplugging/disconnection.
Relatively small surges induced into mains supply externally and phone lines from some distance away can be protected (and indeed UK mains reg includes such surge protection in the consumer unit) , and the latter has a surge protector built into the master phone/network socket… but wont protect you from lesser surges which could damage a modem etc… and as stated for lightning strikes these will NOT protect you from EMP in your property. For my external antennas and control lines I use lightning grounding relays.

I have had EMP destroy home network equipment and my Mac Ethernet interface in the past with a very close strike… you know the sort you hear that tingling/hissing sound very shortly afterwards.

That’s my understanding too. The RC stands for Residual Current - they look for a difference between the currents in the Live and Neutral wires, hence why they’re sold as ‘30mA’ etc. - this is the size of imbalance they will trigger at.

Since the L and N currents in normal operation should be equal, any imbalance is assumed (worst case scenario) to be going to Earth via a person and so the RCD cuts off the current very quickly. A surge of current would, in theory, be completely ignored by an RCD as long as the current was the same in L and N wires.


Interesting. So reading between the lines, perhaps the consensus is something like:

  • Shut down/unplug everything if lightning is suspected (maybe optical is the exception - although burying in an insulated box might be the only solution in a big strike)
  • The opinion about the use of other surge protection devices appears to be mixed (or unstated).

Does anyone else out their get nervous while unwinding a metal roof aerial cable connector during a thunderstorm? (TV and audio system being connected in my case).:face_with_spiral_eyes:

I use fibre instead of copper Ethernet for the backbone of my LAN for precisely this reason. Some do this because they think it might improve sound quality. I didn’t find that, but my house is particularly exposed to lightning entering via the overhead phone cable, so I convert to optical to prevent this from making a direct connection to expensive networked devices.

Going back to your post #3 in the thread, I know some SPDs state they protect against lightning strikes creating spikes/surges entering via the mains supply/CUs – but, as your latest post alludes (and per @Artoly 's post alongside), there are so many conducting cable entry points nowadays in to houses, that an SPD on the CU may only offer minor protection.

Like many (I’m not PME) I’ve got dedicated earthing for the hi-fi etc, satellite TV hooked up et al. No LAN or other major cabling but all internal copper is X-bonded (as it must be!).

…I’m now off to see what my house insurer has buried in their latest edition of fine print :frowning:

During a direct lightning strike, surge protectors will not protect your gear. A friend fried all his stereo equipment and computer despite having surge protection. Got a nasty shock as well! I have used A/V Options wireworld strips for many years as they work with Naim gear. Unplugging everything during a storm is the best bet.