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Some years back, I was living in a house at the top of a hill at the edge of a deep and wide valley. When a thunderstorm rolled in, you'd really know it -- and it tended to stick around. One not so fine day, a storm was a-comin', so I unplugged everything. Everything. And when the house got hit by lightning -- YOIKES!!! -- it still cooked the amp and one of the speakers. (The amp sat on the floor between the speakers on one wall while the sources and the preamp were on another wall. A pair of interconnects that were maybe 15 feet long connected the pre to the power. Apparently, when the house was struck, everything (the walls?) got charged enough to spark the interconnects enough to fry something in the amp, which in turn blew out a speaker. So now I leave everything plubbed in and turned on all the time. Unless I hear a thunder storm a-comin', of course.
I should and I don't. I live in South Florida, lightning capital of the country. During the upcoming "rainy season" (if we get one! we've been suffering a drought.), I'd have to unplug everything all the time because we get thunderstorms all the time and, often, without much notice. All my outlets have built in surge protectors and almost all my equipment is run through power conditioners, but it's still not as secure as unplugging. Like I said, I should but I don't.
i too live in Fl. on coast, i just make sure my gear is off. it lightenings here everyday for 5 mos. and i would never leave my house if i was that worried. if it is REALLY close and i am home i consider it, but by then it is probably too late.good question tho! made me realize how lightening is no big deal after 15 yrs living in top spot in usa for strikes.
I lost an amp (it was turned on) and a big screen TV (not turned on, but plugged in). I have a whole house surge protector in the main breaker box.It did not do a thing. Pretty useless, actually.
The TV tech told me a lightning strike can jump the gap in a switch that is switched off, so unplug everything that matters.
I too live near the lightning capital of the world (Tampa, FL) and I used to, but I have had friends with everything unplugged lose equipment like Hodu did, lightning makes a huge EMF pulse, enough to cook electronics just sitting nearby, you don't need them to be plugged in to lose gear.
Now I run all my gear off PurePower conditioners with battery backup as I fear brown outs more than surges, but they protect from that too.
I flip the breaker switch; it's a lot easier and I don't have to worry about reapplying my expensive quicksilver contact enhancer to the plugs' blades afterwards. Some may argue that flipping the breaker is less effective because of arching across terminals during a storm or that when the breaker is reapplied a surge can damage the gear. I have never experienced these negatives in my 26 years of being in this hobby.
I used to keep a 7270 McIntosh power amp unplugged for 5 months at a time if I was not using my stereo. I now have a Cary V-12R tube amp and a Cary SLP98P tube preamp. I live in Pinellas County FL. Lightning capital of the Northern Hemisphere. YES unplug anything valuable, no matter how great your surge protector claims to be or you'll be sorry like a few people I've met. You would not beleive the chain reaction lightning can cause. My stereo had 17 components, 6 speakers and a sub. Now it has been reduced 6 components and 2 speakers and I keep a second smaller stereo just for lightening storms. BE CAREFULL