Surviving The Big Storm In Toronto

The Greater Toronto Area got hit by a storm that generated tornadoes that caused large amounts of damage and killed one person. There was lots of lighting about and that usually generates lots of dead electronics. So, how do you survive something like this? In my condo, I have the following on my electronics:

  • All my computer equipment are on UPSes. They not only allow me to have the computers safely shut down in the event of an extended power outage, but they provide stable power at all times.
  • My A/V equipment is hooked up to a APC power conditioner. Specifically this one which acts like a UPS without the battery backup functions. It simply provides stable power at all times.
  • Everything else such as my phones and answering machines are on power bars.

Now I have to say that if you rely only on power bars to protect your electronics, that is a major risk as most power bars do not provide sufficient protection for electronic gear. So if you use them, you have to be willing to accept that you might lose the gear that’s plugged into power bars. But I have one other thing that covers me. I added a surge protector at my main service panel. That way I don’t have to have a surge protector plugged into everything and in the event of a lightning strike it takes the hit rather than all my electronic gear. That way I have multiple layers of surge suppression protecting everything in my condo. Adding a surge protector at the main service panel is something I STRONGLY recommend that you do if you can. It cost me $650 including labor for a qualified electrician to do it.

So how did my electronics and computers deal with this massive storm? All my computers shut down when power was cut. One of the computers didn’t start when power was restored 36 hours later (which is a ridiculous amount of time for Toronto Hydro to get service restored to my condo IMHO…But I digress) due to a dead power supply. I keep a few new power supplies lying around for customers who have power supply issues, and you can find them at your local computer store for $30 to $70. The computer had been running 24/7 for 3.5 years so the failure of the power supply was likely not storm related. My other electronic gear survived just fine. So basically I came out okay.

Now I have to deal with many of my customers who were not as lucky. I’m now off to a customer who appears to have taken a direct hit from a lightning strike. From the sounds of it, anything electronic in his house is dead. It sucks to be him and I wouldn’t want to be his insurance company.

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