TV Struck by Lightning: How to Tell and What It Costs to Repair

man is looking at TV with no signal after lightning

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What To Know

  • Signs of a lightning-struck TV include failure to turn on, a burning smell, and visible damage to the TV plug’s prongs.
  • Lightning damage can affect a TV’s picture and sound quality, and checking the standby light and mainboard can help diagnose the extent of the damage.
  • Repair costs for a lightning-damaged TV vary, ranging from $100 to $400 depending on the affected component, but typical warranties do not cover lightning damage.

In this article, I’ll quickly guide you through identifying if your TV was struck by lightning and what it costs to repair it.

Let’s get started!

How Can I Tell If My TV Was Struck By Lightning?

lightning above the houses

There are a few ways to tell if your TV was struck by lightning.

If you suspect your TV was struck by lightning, but aren’t sure, here are some tell-tale signs that your TV may have been damaged.

Please note that your TV could exhibit any of these symptoms for other reasons, such as gradual wear and tear, problems with your home’s electrical outlets, and internal hardware issues.

It’s Not Turning On

The first sign that something may be wrong is if your TV stays black and will not turn on. Try turning it on with the remote.

a boy tries to turn on the TV with remote but it does not work

If that doesn’t work, try using the power button on the TV’s control panel. You may want to apply some force when pressing it, as the buttons could have been damaged.

Your TV staying off, even if you plug it into another outlet, is a good indicator that it was damaged during the storm, either from direct or indirect lightning.

There’s a Burning Smell

Nothing starts your day like the smell of burning electrical hardware and plastic in the morning emanating from your TV or its electrical socket.

TV is burned due to lightning

You may even see a dark shadow and ash outline the socket.

Burnt electrical outlets can be scary, but it’s important to remember to do the following:

First, be thankful that your home did not catch on fire.

Second, head to your home’s fuse box and switch off all electricity. If you find your fuse box is burnt, do not touch it. Also, do not touch the burnt electrical outlet or attempt to unplug the affected appliance.

Finally, call an electrician and explain the situation. Describe what the affected electrical outlet looks like and voice your concerns about the lightning strike.

TV Plug’s Prongs Are Burnt

If you’ve already unplugged your TV (which we don’t recommend doing until you’ve confirmed the outlet has not been damaged), take a look at the prongs.

Have they darkened or changed in color?

If so, the electrical outlet could have been struck by lightning, quite literally burning your TV’s cable.

Picture Quality

If your TV does turn on, take a look at the picture quality. Is it consistent, or is it crystal clear one moment and blurry the next?

Blurred TV

Is the coloring okay, or does it randomly become black and white or over-saturated? You may also want to observe the pixels and see if any are dead or stuck.

If your TV does have poor or inconsistent picture quality, it could have been damaged during the storm. However, the good news is that your TV is still working, and you may be able to just repair the screen instead of replacing the entire unit.

Sound Quality

Lightning strikes can damage a TV’s sound quality. At first, the TV’s speakers may work normally but may start to falter after a few minutes.

sound quality is affected by lightning

The volume level may suddenly change, instantly becoming louder or quieter. You may also find that the sound cuts out or sounds fuzzy.

A short-term fix would be to use external speakers, but speaker damage is usually only one symptom of lightning damage, and, likely, other components aren’t working as well.

Things To Check After a Lightning Strike

There are a few things you should check after a lightning strike.

Have you been looking for a lightning storm checklist? Well, here it is!

Bear in mind that several of these options involve unplugging the TV, so please take care when doing so to avoid burning or electrocuting yourself.

Let’s get started!

The TV Outlet

Before proceeding to the other steps, please check your TV outlet or power strip.

a person plugs TV into wall outlet

If it’s burnt or emitting a smell, do not touch it. Instead, call an electrician.

This is extremely important, as you could hurt yourself if the plug is still carrying an electrical charge, so proceed with caution.

If It Can Be Soft Reset

If your TV is turning on but lagging, displaying a distorted picture, or making strange sounds when powered on, you may want to perform a soft reset. To be sure you are not plugging it into a damaged outlet, perform this reset using another outlet in your home.

Unplug it, then leave it unplugged for an hour. This is also a good time to check that the plug’s prongs and wires aren’t damaged.

a hand unplugs the power cord of a device

Now, plug it back in and turn it on.

See if it’s picking up any signal or connecting to a network if it’s a smart TV. Try changing the channels and adjusting the volume and input.

If all is well, your TV has probably been spared from the lightning strike.

Standby Light

A TV’s standby light usually turns green when powered on, and is red, yellow, or orange when turned off but powered. So, when your TV is plugged in and turned off, can you see its standby light on?

If the standby light is on, your TV power board was spared during the lightning strike. This is great news, as your TV won’t need to be completely rewired to work again. It also means that your TV’s plug probably wasn’t damaged, at least severely.

If there isn’t a standby light, your TV’s power board could have been damaged and needs to be replaced. If you take your TV to a technician, they may find burn marks along the power board, which cannot be repaired. There’s also the possibility that heat affected the surrounding internal hardware.

If this is the case, you may also find your outlet, power strip, or surge protector is burnt or not working.


Component on the Mainboard

It’s common for satellite dishes to be struck by lighting since they’re made of metal, placed on your roof, and exposed to the weather.

In severe cases, you may see some heat damage on your satellite dish, though the first thing you will probably notice will be a burnt coax socket.

Coaxial cables connect your satellite to your TV. So, when your satellite is struck by lightning, the electricity travels through the cable right into your home.

Though this won’t damage your TV’s power board, it can damage the mainboard. In some cases, the mainboard will be burnt, covered with a thin layer of soot.

Other Outlets in Your Home

Finally, it’s a good idea to check other appliances in your home. If your phone was plugged in at the time, it or its cable could have been damaged.

You may also want to visually inspect all other outlets in your home to ensure they haven’t been burnt.

power cord plugged in outlet

If you find any additional damage, please call an electrician and don’t touch the outlet until they’ve given you the all-clear.

ShopJimmy on YouTube has a great video explaining what lightning damage on a TV looks like and how to know which parts of your TV have been affected.

TV Not Working After Storm - TV Lightning Strike & Storm Guide for Power Surge Problems

Does Thunder Affect Smart TVs?

Thunder will not affect smart TVs, but lightning will.

Thunder does not carry electrical force, so it’s not dangerous to your TV, though you may want to cover your ears. Lightning, however, comes before thunder and can electrocute people, trees, and yes, your TV.

So, thunder indicates that there’s lightning in the area and more on its way.

Lightning can harm your smart TV, even if it’s not connected to a Satellite dish via a coaxial cable. The lightning could burn the electrical outlet, leading to a fried power board.

If your smart TV suffers a direct hit, it could be permanently damaged.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair a TV Struck by Lightening?

How much it costs to repair a lightning-struck TV will depend on which TV components have been affected.

If you’re lucky, only one or two parts of your TV were damaged by lightning. So, you won’t need to replace the entire TV just yet.

A man repairing a broken TV

If your outlet and TV plug’s prongs are fried, then the power board will most likely be the issue. Depending on your TV’s model, this will usually cost about $100 to $300 to fix.

If your satellite dish is struck by lightning, your mainboard will probably be burnt. These will cost around $190 to $210 to replace.

If everything seems to be working properly with your TV but the screen has a few dead pixels or constantly changes in color or brightness, you may need to repair or replace it.

Screen repair costs vary widely depending on the type of screen your TV has. LED screens are the cheapest at around $100 to $125. Plasma TV screens cost up to $400 to repair.

Smart TV screens usually cost $100 to $400 to fix, depending on the screen type.

However, depending on the estimated costs of repairs cited by your technician, you may want to consider purchasing an entirely new TV.

Will My TV Warranty Pay for the Cost of Repairs If My TV Was Struck By Lightning?

No, your TV warranty will not pay for the cost of repairs.

TV warranties typically only cover faulty software and hardware, so they’re not going to replace or repair your TV if your home was struck by lightning.

Homeowner’s insurance, however, is a different story. This insurance will usually cover lightning damage, and pay for a portion of the repair costs.

Homeowners insurance

However, every homeowner’s insurance policy may differ, so read your contract closely and contact the insurance company for more information.

We also recommend taking detailed pictures of the affected appliances, outlets, and fuse boxes.

Wrapping Things Up

It only takes one lightning strike to burn your TV’s insides to a crisp. The event may be terrifying, but as long as the lightning hasn’t triggered an electrical fire, you should be safe.

See if there’s a burning smell around the area and check the outlet’s condition. Remember to call an electrician if there are any signs of burning or if you see smoke.

Your TV may be completely unresponsive or have some minor picture or sound issues.

Whatever the case, soft reset your unit and take it to a TV technician for further inspection.

In the future, unplug all appliances when there’s a lightning storm coming your way.

What’s your experience with lightning striking your TV? Did you decide to repair your TV or replace it entirely if it was damaged?

Let us know in the comments below! (And stay safe!)

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