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Lightning strike damaged 2 AFCI breakers. What to check after replacing breakers and testing outlets

Discuss Lightning strike damaged 2 AFCI breakers. What to check after replacing breakers and testing outlets in the DIY Electrical Advice area at ElectriciansForums.net

Rhythmdvl

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Background
Two weeks ago, lightning struck a tree in our yard. Many circuits tripped and several electronic devices failed. There was a strong smell of ozone/electrical burn throughout the house that has since dissipated.
Two AFCI breakers are still problematic. Both serve bedrooms (hence AFCI).

Breaker 1 does not close. I have not forced it, but it immediately springs back to the middle position.

Breaker 2 closes but the test button does not function. I.e. when pressed, the breaker stays closed. We have a third AFCI breaker that does open when the test button is pressed.

These breakers are original to the house, built in 2023.

My plan
I want to replace the two breakers with new AFCI breakers of the same brand (I do not know what brand they are without pulling the panel face) and specs. Once that is done, I will use a basic outlet tester (e.g. with LEDs that indicate hot neutral, ground, etc.) on every outlet in the circuits.


My question
Other than replacing the breakers, verifying that the circuits work as expected, the breakers don’t trip, and the outlet tester reads correctly, what else should I do — or in more general terms, what else would a qualified electrician then do? Should I call a qualified electrician in regardless?

My background
I do not know if this matters, but providing it just in case.

In building a basement woodshop, I installed several lighting and 20-Amp power circuits (with safety switches), entailing the need for new breakers. Two of the new breakers were GFCI and I installed a few GFCI outlets on non-protected circuits (with downstream protected and upstream non-protected receptacles).

Prior to starting work I brought in a local electrical/building inspector to discuss my plans. I had the inspector return around ¾ of the way through the project and after completion to review everything I did. A working electrician has also inspected the work. Inspections included overall visual and opening boxes and pulling units for a closer look. I will likely call in an electrician to inspect my new work just in case.

Edit: I have since added other lighting circuits and switches, outlets, etc. This was just my largest project.

This does not make me qualified for anything, but I hope it suggests that replacing an AFCI breaker is within my small set of skills.


Thank you for any time, advice or guidance you may offer. I hope I provided enough information, and if it's too much, hope I organized it well enough for easy skimming.
 
Background
Two weeks ago, lightning struck a tree in our yard. Many circuits tripped and several electronic devices failed. There was a strong smell of ozone/electrical burn throughout the house that has since dissipated.
Two AFCI breakers are still problematic. Both serve bedrooms (hence AFCI).

Breaker 1 does not close. I have not forced it, but it immediately springs back to the middle position.

Breaker 2 closes but the test button does not function. I.e. when pressed, the breaker stays closed. We have a third AFCI breaker that does open when the test button is pressed.

These breakers are original to the house, built in 2023.

My plan
I want to replace the two breakers with new AFCI breakers of the same brand (I do not know what brand they are without pulling the panel face) and specs. Once that is done, I will use a basic outlet tester (e.g. with LEDs that indicate hot neutral, ground, etc.) on every outlet in the circuits.


My question
Other than replacing the breakers, verifying that the circuits work as expected, the breakers don’t trip, and the outlet tester reads correctly, what else should I do — or in more general terms, what else would a qualified electrician then do? Should I call a qualified electrician in regardless?

My background
I do not know if this matters, but providing it just in case.

In building a basement woodshop, I installed several lighting and 20-Amp power circuits (with safety switches), entailing the need for new breakers. Two of the new breakers were GFCI and I installed a few GFCI outlets on non-protected circuits (with downstream protected and upstream non-protected receptacles).

Prior to starting work I brought in a local electrical/building inspector to discuss my plans. I had the inspector return around ¾ of the way through the project and after completion to review everything I did. A working electrician has also inspected the work. Inspections included overall visual and opening boxes and pulling units for a closer look. I will likely call in an electrician to inspect my new work just in case.

Edit: I have since added other lighting circuits and switches, outlets, etc. This was just my largest project.

This does not make me qualified for anything, but I hope it suggests that replacing an AFCI breaker is within my small set of skills.


Thank you for any time, advice or guidance you may offer. I hope I provided enough information, and if it's too much, hope I organized it well enough for easy skimming.
My suggestion is to replace the AFCI breakers. Make sure that the power is off before you replace the breakers. Look at the name brand of the panel to insure you get the right breakers. Good luck and sorry for the delay in responding. Welcome to the forum.
 
Thanks. I presume it’s okay to be pedantic given that I’m not working with 9V batteries.



To be clear, I’ll double, triple and quadruple check that the power is off and use a non-contact voltage to be sure the panel truly is de-energized. I won’t do this alone in the house and will have someone close by just in case (someone who knows to smack me with a broom handle or something if things go awry). If there are any hiccups, unexpected situations or even an unknown sense of unease, I’ll trust my intuition and call in a professional. I don’t fear electricity per se, but I have a very, very deep respect for it.


I will bring the problem breakers (or thorough images of them) with me to be sure I’m getting breakers with the same brand and specs.


The pedantic part is whether a successful replacement and outlet test really is it. As in, would an electrician be satisfied that lightning damage has been addressed by the above or would he or she want to inspect other areas of the house? If it makes a difference, there was electric smoke smell at first, but that has not returned. All other outlets in the house are testing fine with the simple outlet tester.


I guess the nature of my question is whether once this is done if I can relax as far as taking care of post-lighting hazards. (I realize there could still be something, I’m asking about the routine care and effort I should take.)


Again, thank you very much for your advice here and elsewhere on the site.


Thanks!
 
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