Increased electric storms cause havoc for insurers

South Africa’s Highveld and Kwa-Zulu Natal regions have experienced intense electric storms of late as a result of climate change. South Africans should mitigate against the consequences of electric storm, by protecting their homes from lightning surge damage.

With increasing numbers of South Africans investing in smart homes – residence which use internet-connected devices to enable the remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating – there is increased need to protect this investment.

Rudi Schmidt, MD of Alexander Forbes Insurance, said that to protect your smart home from electric storm damage, you need to be well prepared.

Business and homeowners alike should ensure that surge protection is installed in the electrical distribution board to comply with the following SABS codes IEC 61024-1 (Protection of building structures against lightning electromagnetic pulses (Lemp)

  • IEC 61312-1 (Protection of information systems against Lemp).

The recommendations below provide the best ways for consumers to comply and to avoid loss from lightning and power surges. They are designed to provide common and differential surge protection for AC and DC networks, following the configurations in IEC60364-5-534 standards.

  • Single Phase power: CB H Y-MAG-QKL-20-40KA Large.
  • Three Phase power: CB H Y-MAG-QFLN-4-5KA Surge.

“Smart technology has transformed the way we live in our home today, from on demand television to ordering groceries by just using our voices, we now live in a world where a central access point can manage and control all our electronic equipment,” says Steven Cohen, MD of Future TV.

It is also recommended that plug in surge protection systems be installed at power outlets to protect electronic and electric devices and appliances. These can be achieved through installing Clear line 12-00185:  for data, alarm panels, process control, audio panels, intercom and access control panels. Clear line 12-00563: for sensitive computers, printers, scanners and modems against lightning and surges without additional earthing. Clear line 12-00354: for ethernet LAN equipment such as hubs, switches and network interface cards.

With the average smart home installation costing around R500 000, and with electronic equipment being sensitive and susceptible to power surges, an unprotected power surge is likely to cause seriously expensive damage.

“This is a compelling reason to install a complete lightning surge protection system which reduces your risk of damage to buildings and equipment,” concluded Schmidt.




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