How to protect phoneline & landline phone from lightning surges

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zannej

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So, I have a recurring problem-- something that has happened at least 4 times in the past several years. We get bad thunderstorms and the lightning somehow manages to fry the line between the phone jack and the phone and kill my landline phones. It has burned the jack a few times as well.
The phone itself is plugged in to a surge protector but no longer have protection for the line between jack & phone. We used to have a protector for it but it was killed in a storm & the phone was still toast. We just got a brand new phone after a previous storm killed the last one.
In the past the phone was charred where the line entered it, end was melted.
Last night's storm had such bad lightning we heard an electrical pop in the kitchen, it tripped breakers for the water pumps, & it made the phoneline EXPLODE and disintegrate. The RJ11 part is still in the jack but the line fell apart and there is still a small shredded piece dangling from the phone as well. This is just a small piece of what is left of the phoneline.
1659459733923.png
What is the best way to prevent this from happening in the future?
I had a thing I was supposed to attach to the phoneline itself but Mom lost it somewhere in her room. Do they sell jack extensions or jacks that have built-in surge protection?
 

bud16415

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This is just my opinion but that kind of power is going to punch thru or destroy any kind of surge protector. I’m sure you have thought of this, unplugging the phone at the first sign of a storm.



Do you get your landline as a package coming in on cable or do you still have the original landline of long ago coming in from the phone company?



I have had nothing but cell phones for the last 15-20 years now, so I’m not up on the wired stuff.
 

zannej

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Yeah, I was thinking unplugged the cord might be the best during storms, but I'm worried we'd forget to plug it back in. LOL.
It's from the phone company. We can't get cable out here.
I'm rather impressed with how the entire cable exploded the way it did. I've only seen the ends burn before. I wonder if one of the line boxes got hit.
I wish my phone company had some sort of safety measure in place to protect lines, but they can't even protect them from water.
We don't get good cell signal out here so landline is sometimes our only means of communication.
This is the poor dead phone and the remnants of the cable hanging out.
1659474445562.png
 

Blue Jay

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What should have been done by telco was to bond ALL grounds together. Telco should have a protector outside and it's ground should be tied with the power ground, min. of 12 ga wire if the two are within 20' of each other if farther then 10 or 8 ga.
Telco was my bread and butter for 30 years.
 

Eddie_T

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I wonder if the telco box s smoked too? I think I would take a peek.
 

zannej

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Blue Jay, thanks for that info. I doubt the Telco has the wires grounded. Same line has been there since at least the 70s without any maintenance. It's a very thin wire that runs under the ground. Supposed to be at least 12" deep but its not (we found it less than 6 inches deep while digging-- fortunately didn't break it). It seems to have gotten worse over the last few years because our phones never had the lines get fried before the last 6 years or so-- but I do know that our late neighbor illegally tampered with one of the exterior shared boxes down the road at some point and Bell South refused to fix it. AT&T owns it now and they won't do maintenance. Some of the boxes are placed in an area that frequently floods and we lose phone service every time. You'd think they would seal it better or move the box somewhere else.

Eddie, I'm not sure.Right now the plants have grown up enough to block my view of the box on the outside of my house. The line for the jack extension doesn't look damaged. Old line burned out so I ran another line directly from the box under the house and up through a hole in the floor and then put an external jack on it. The jack hangs over a wall- lamp and then the telephone line runs from that to the phone.

What I plan to do is run a line from the jack to a surge protector and then from surge protector to phone.
 

Blue Jay

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If AT&T wont fix the ground issue call the Public Utilities Commission in your state.
 

Blue Jay

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The wire you are talking about sounds like the drop wire to the house, that is NOT the ground wire, Sounds like the lightning is crossing between the power and phone thus the need to be bonded.
 

zannej

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Blue Jay, I already left a message with AT&T about it. They haven't responded. I'll have to try again. Really not sure what they would need to do or what I would need to ask them to do so this stops happening.
 

Sparky617

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The telco line should definitely be grounded. I work for a telco and did fiber to the customer work for awhile a few years ago during a strike by the union associates. Proper grounding was a big part of our training. Even though our fibers don't have any metal conductors in the cable we had to ground the equipment and the inside wiring and coax attached to our equipment. We paid a big fine in NY for not doing it properly when fiber first started rolling out to residential customers.
 

BuzzLOL

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If AT&T wont fix the ground issue call the Public Utilities Commission in your state.
Blue Jay and others are correct in all of their postings above... the properly grounded TelCo box outside should keep lightning from entering your home... give AT&T 3 days to fix it... then report them to Commission... and tell all that to AT&T when calling them...
 

bud16415

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I agree the telephone box should be grounded, but I seriously doubt that with the current discharge in a lightning strike that a #12 ground wire will handle the current sufficiently to protect the down stream phone device.



My experience with surge devices for power and communications is they work based on their rated levels of protection at the cost of replacing the surge device when it is over.



As a kid 60 years ago I remember dad running around the house pulling plugs when a storm was brewing. The phone was one of them.
 

BuzzLOL

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I agree the telephone box should be grounded, but I seriously doubt that with the current discharge in a lightning strike that a #12 ground wire will handle the current sufficiently to protect the down stream phone device.



My experience with surge devices for power and communications is they work based on their rated levels of protection at the cost of replacing the surge device when it is over.



As a kid 60 years ago I remember dad running around the house pulling plugs when a storm was brewing. The phone was one of them.
The thin fine #22 phone wire coming in under ground should fry long before the #12 ground wire...
 

zannej

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New development (or rather, what I discovered). I went to unplug the phone from the surge protector and found this:
It had come apart and there's a scorched part. Not sure how the surge made it through a surge protector, but it did. Oddly, nothing else on it was damaged. phoneacadapterbroken1.jpg phoneacadapterbroken2.jpg phoneacadapterbroken3.jpg phoneacadapterbroken4.jpg
 

BuzzLOL

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New development (or rather, what I discovered). I went to unplug the phone from the surge protector and found this:
It had come apart and there's a scorched part. Not sure how the surge made it through a surge protector, but it did. Oddly, nothing else on it was damaged.
If the surge protector didn't have a ground pin, there was no place else for it to go...
Is that really a surge protector, looks more like simply a power supply transformer circuit...
Does your home have 3 pin 120 volt outlets? Fuse box or circuit breakers?
 

zannej

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Buzzlol, sorry, that was the AC adapter in the picture, not the surge protector. It was in an APC surge protector so that if the power goes out the phone can stay on long enough to call the power company to report the outage. With the phone not working I have to go outside, reboot my cellphone, and try to find a spot where I get signal to call.

We have circuit breakers but I'm fairly certain the outlet that the APC plugs into isn't grounded properly. Whoever did the electrical on this place didn't do it correctly. Whenever I plug one of those testers in it says there is no ground in all the 3-prong outlets (that I can reach). This particular wall outlet is behind the bed where I can't reach it. So, the outlets are 3-pin but not grounded and some have the polarity reversed.
 

BuzzLOL

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Silly to waste money on surge protectors if the grounding current path they require isn't available...
 

zannej

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They have managed to save some of our stuff in the past though. And we get the APCs primarily to keep stuff running when power is off-- like mom's CPAP, computers, and I have one of my desk fans on an APC so it keeps running and cools me off. I feel like I'm suffocating if I don't have air blowing on me.

One of these days I will have to move stuff in Mom's room enough to access and test that outlet in her room. I'm guessing it will show as having no ground. I doubt the people who built this place got permits for electrical.
 

BuzzLOL

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My house was built in 1800's before electrical... as a rectory... with wood or coal heat... everythings been added... updated...
 

zannej

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BuzzLOL not sure when mine was built-- additions were done in the late 1940s so it was 1930s or 40s. But the people who expanded didn't do things right. Didn't do electrical properly. They didn't do plumbing properly either. They also didn't put in proper headers for doors or so anything right. We hired an electrician who fixed some of the stuff but never came back to fix the rest. And he came out when the house was virtually empty bc we hadn't gotten our furniture in yet.
 
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