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Q - Recently, lightning struck near our house and the resulting power surge knocked out our television. Could we have prevented this?

Ann in Morningside

A - It's pretty hard to prevent lightning strikes, but what you can prepare for are power surges.

First of all, power surges don't only result from lightning strikes. The average home actually faces five or more power surges per day. Since it is so hard to know where or when a power surge is going to, well, surge - it is important to protect your whole house.

Quick facts:

- The average Atlanta area household has $8,000 of electrical items.

- 40% of all computer crashes and data loss comes from power surges

- Your home's average voltage is 120 volts. A surge can be 10 times stronger (or more).

- Half of all surges come from inside your own home, when large appliances turn on and off.

A quality surge protection device covers all incoming lines into the house, including telephone.

A good electrical company can fix you up with a whole house surge protector. Whole house protection is the best way to go - far, far better than just the surge strips you purchase at the hardware store.

Your best bet for this protection is to contact a good, certified electrician or your local utility company.