How to Diagnose a Power Surge or Lightening Strike on a Phone System

07 Jun
Image of LIghtening Strike

How to Diagnose a Power Surge or Lightening Strike on a Phone System

Lightening damage
Lightening Damage to a Large Tree

With the majority of our telephone system customers living in the southern states of Florida, Alabama, or Texas, we are all well acquainted with extreme weather. Thunderstorms and other weather related events can do more than ruin a day at the beach or a pickup softball game- they are also the primary cause for phone system and electronic failures. So, if your phone system ahs been affected by severe weather, what should you do to diagnose or repair, if possible, the issues? Let’s take a closer look.

  • Power Cycle your phone system– Generally, when most electronics which are not operating properly, or at all, the first step is to power cycle the unit. For a telephone system that is needing to be reset, the particular steps for this will depend on what type of system you are using in your business. For details on Nortel/ Norstar/ Meridian/ Bel South phone systems, check out this page (opens in new tab) for instructions.  For other phone systems, we can offer some general assistance. To begin, search for a power switch or toggle, as most phone systems do have one. If you can find it, flip or toggle it to the “off” position, leave it alone for a moment or two, and then flip back to the “on” setting. If, however, you are unable to find a power switch, you may choose to unplug your phone system at the wall outlet, leave for a minute or two, and then plug it back in. Sometimes these operations reset the system properly and it will come back up; however, if there is physical damage from the power interruption, this will not solve the issue.
  • Check the Power Strip, UPS, or wall outlet- Many times after a power surge, the equipment itself is undamaged, but other auxiliary power equipment is not. If your phone system is setup with a battery backup, or UPS unit (and it should be!), try unplugging it from the unit and directly into the wall outlet. If the phone system comes up, then the battery or power strip should be replaced with a new one.
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A Common UPS or Battery Backup Unit for Telephone Systems
  • Give CSM South a Call– If you have attempted to power cycle your telephone system, or are uncomfortable doing this yourself, give CSM South a call (813-961-9351) or email our Service Department, service@csmsouth.com. Our phone is monitored 24/7 and our email from 8-5 M-F.  A tech will be dispatched to access the situation and can advise what the net steps should be. Sometimes, it is as simple as replacing some lightening protectors on your lines, which is very inexpensive, alternatively the solution may be to replace some parts on the telephone system such as line cards, station cards, or appliances, which is also usually affordable. However, if more extensive damage has been done, the phone system itself may need to be replaced. A qualified telephone technician or engineer can quickly determine the best steps so that you can make an informed decision.
  • Insurance– We would like to point out that most most business insurance policies do cover damage sustained from lightening or power surges. Of course, every policy is different, so businesses should consult their coverage documents or an insurance agent for additional information. If it is indeed determined that power or weather was related to your service issues, CSM is happy to write a letter or speak with insurance companies as required for your claim.

CSM South has been in business since 1984, assisting clients who have been affected by weather or power issues with service calls on their phone systems.  Please contact us if you are experiencing problems with your telephone system and you suspect that they may be damaged by lightening, power issues, or weather related.

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