Lightning storms trip GFCI

I've had this happen several times now. Whenever we have a lightning strike that's relatively close (as judged by the time between the flash and the bang), our GFCI outlet will trip.
During regular rainstorms (even very hard rains), it will not trip. I have tested it and it is working properly otherwise. From this, I'm concluding that the problem is not caused by a water leak.
The circuit itself is indoor only. There are three outlets connected to it. Two of them are idle, and the third has a chest freezer and a dehumidifier plugged into it. The last outlet is only a couple feet away from our sump pump (which is on its own circuit).
We do have many trees in our backyard, and our house does sit higher than our neighbors'. I had a friend tell me that this was important due to "streamers", but I don't know what those are.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to remedy the problem?
Thanks, Jeff S.
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I've heard this story a number of times. I don't know how old your GFCI receptacle is, but they came out with new standards for quality and operation two years ago. You might want to try replacing the GFCI with a new one.
Just for the heck of it, I would also check the grounding electrode system for your dwelling. Is the grounding electrode conductor connection to your water pipe tight? Do you have one or two ground rods installed? Are the ground and neutral connections tight inside of your main panel? Is all of your interior metal piping bonded? Is your telephone block and cable TV block grounded?
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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On 3 Oct 2005 07:59:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@altair.com wrote:

W_Tom will probably be along and point you to polyphaser but I would suggest a panel protector of some sort and verifying your ground electrode system as John suggested. Be sure it also bonds the phone and TV cable Dmarks.
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I suspect that a panel GFCI or arrestor would probably not make a great deal of difference - sounds more to me like a grounding problem. John's suggestion of thoroughly checking the grounding system out and/or replacing the GFCI with a new one is more likely to bear fruit.
I'll note in passing that electrical codes don't require GFCI's on freezers, but that assumes it's on a dedicated single outlet circuit.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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You might want to reconsider having GFCI's on your freezer and sump pump circuits. The theory is that you want to avoid nuisance tripping on something that could really cause a problem if the power cuts out on these circuits. Since lightning is a problem for you... I would consider the highest qualitity surge protection for these individual devices and perhaps a whole house surge protector.
If you live on the highest hill in the area, lightning theory suggest that the downward streamers prior to a lightning stroke will seek out attractive elevated conductive features on your property (antennas, gutters, chimney flashings, vent pipes, and so forth..) This would be in preference so similar features at a lower elevation. It is all based on probability, however, and the fact that you live in a lightning prone area suggests that additional mitigation steps would be worthwhile.
Beachcomber
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