# Dodging bullets...

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I went to see one of my daughters Saturday afternoon, and just as I was leaving Springfield, a nasty storm rolled through. Torrential rain, blowing sideways, but I drove out of it in a couple of miles or so.

When I returned home about 9 PM, I had no electricity, and there were 3 utility crew trucks on my street. So, I went for a drive. I had my mother's car as it has a brand new engine, and I was breaking it in, and getting the bugs fixed before handing it back to her. I drove around until about midnight thinking they would have the power back, but when I got back to my street, all three crews were still working, and their trucks hadn't been moved.

I parked in the driveway, went in and went to bed. In about an hour, I hear chain saws, and they're cutting brush away from the poles. The pole directly behind my house was completely covered, including the transformer.  So the chainsaws kept me awake for another hour or so.

I got up around 8, and the crew trucks were right in front of my house. I went outside, and chatted with the crew supervisor. He told me they had a lightning strike on the pole directly behind my house. It knocked out power for the whole block, and the block to the east of us, blew 3 transformers, a couple of meters on houses, and something like a fuse for the whole circuit. He called that part by a name I don't recall, then he said think of it as a large fuse for the circuit. He said power would be back on in less than an hour.

The power came on, immediately blew another transformer, and then it was off for another hour or so. Power was out about 15 hours total.

Once power was restored, I began checking stereo, home theater, bedroom rig, and shop rig. All came on with no problems. Computers, microwave, stove, washer, dryer, no problems.

Monday morning, I open the refrigerator, grab my water jug, and it's warm. Damn--the fridge lights are on. I open the freezer, feel the cold air hit my feet, but the meat on the top shelf is thawed. No power to the control panel on front, water or ice in door doesn't work.

I get a tech here, $135 just to come, and he checks some things, calls the manufacturer, bad main board is their diagnosis. Another$280, and that will just get them to the point of finding out what else is fried. I just gave $650 for that fridge several years ago, so I don't want to pay close to that to fix it. So the last two days I've been refrigerator shopping, but that's a sidebar story. The cutout for my fridge is an odd size, so it's hard to find what I need in stock anywhere, but they have one at a local Lowes that fits my cutout, it has the features I want, and it's on sale for$400 off. I waited for twenty minutes watching a millennial talking on his phone, then BS'n with some contractors, and then talking on his phone again as he walked right past me without any sort of acknowledgement whatsoever. No "I'll be right with you, just a minute, or can I get someone for you..." So I just left.

Anyway, I get home from work tonight, and WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT my refrigerator is running, the freezer is cold, and the fridge side is cooling down. It didn't run for two days, and it was plugged in the whole time.

Why the hell would it take two days to kick on? Did it just need a weekend off? I'd probably want a weekend off if I ate a lightning strike. I think I'm going to replace it anyway, because I can't trust it now, but I can use it as a garage fridge for water, ice and beer until it gives up the ghost.

Of course I know how extremely lucky I am to not have everything fried, and to get a few hundred dollars worth of meat into my chest freezer before it ruined.  I am very thankful!

Just call me Neo!

by the length of that dissertation, make that Dr. Neo.

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I have a dryer like that! Still running but I have to wonder for how long. Lowes is the worst as far as their customer service! Their attitude is the customer is there at the customers sufferance and should feel privileged  for any help.

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35 minutes ago, oldtexasdog said:

I have a dryer like that! Still running but I have to wonder for how long. Lowes is the worst as far as their customer service! Their attitude is the customer is there at the customers sufferance and should feel privileged  for any help.

This was the first such experience I've had at Lowes. The Home Depot has that reputation here, but this time they were on the spot. Home Depot didn't have any refrigerators that fit my needs, and the quickest they could have one here was over a week away.

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1 hour ago, oldtexasdog said:

I have a dryer like that! Still running but I have to wonder for how long. Lowes is the worst as far as their customer service! Their attitude is the customer is there at the customers sufferance and should feel privileged  for any help.

I have experienced this several times at Lowes.  The one near my house is the exception.  They have had great customer service....grin

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Having been off for a bit with the power out, it's possible that there was a vapor lock in the coolant.  Not definite by any stretch of the imagination, but that's what comes to mind, as something I've seen cause this in the past.

You might want to take a bit of time and invest in a whole-house surge protector.  Not expensive, but the electrican to put it in (if you aren't one or don't know one who can be bribed with a (now cold) beer), may set you back a little.  A house one street over from me took a lightning strike a couple of years ago.  Over the next few days, I watched every appliance (fridge, stove dishwasher, microwave, etc.), the furnace, the A/C, theTV, and every other electronic device come out and get dumped at the curb for garbage pickup.  Scared the @#\$% out of me - I'm WAY too electric/electronic dependent.  I now have a whole house surge protector.  It's not 100%, but it gives you a fighting chance.

For now, glad to hear you dodged that bullet!

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4 hours ago, Sk1Bum said:

The Home Depot has that reputation here, but this time they were on the spot. Home Depot didn't have any refrigerators that fit my needs, and the quickest they could have one here was over a week away.

I bought a fridge from HD last summer. I have a small cutout for a "counter depth" fridge - which is what I wanted. Only 2 units would fit. Bought the "better" one. First one arrived damaged. Second one arrived damaged (one week later), finally the third one seemed OK (about a month later). HD was a real pain to deal with.  I purchased on their website ..... which they treat completely differently than if you bought in-store (even if they have to ship the item anyway!). Later bought a washer/dryer at Lowes. Much better experience for me, but I know this varies by location.

24 minutes ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

You might want to take a bit of time and invest in a whole-house surge protector.  Not expensive, but the electrican to put it in (if you aren't one or don't know one who can be bribed with a (now cold) beer), may set you back a little.

I'm intrigued by these. Do they work well?

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That belonged in my OP.

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@jeffs I've had much the same problem with Lowes and buying direct from the store - I think it's just luck of the draw, or perhaps who's working on a given day in the store.  I suspect that any of the other big chains that do appliences would be no different.

2 hours ago, jeffs said:

I'm intrigued by these. Do they work well?

I can't say from personal experience - and I hope I don't ever get to learn if it works well.     A whole home surge protector is meant to essentially give it's life to save you from a lightning strike, but since the cost in in getting it wired in, replacing it after it's been blown is mostly an annoyance (power is going to be out until you've got the new one in place).  I have heard of others who seem to have survived a strike, but nobody I know first hand, so caveat emptor.

In my case, we were already doing a bunch of electrical work, so it was a no-brainer to have one added.  The add-on cost was trivial.  Just the potential to keep things from being fried was well worth the peace of mind ... even if it's a placebo effect.    Though I don't think it is - I do think they work for most situations.

All that being said, if you get a solid hit from a really big bolt, it probably won't matter - it's going to jump into anything metal in the building and leave a big, smoking mess.  For anyone that worried, I recommend you go build yourself a whole home Faraday cage over your house.

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