Stormy weather can certainly put a damper on your outdoor run, but taking that run indoors can be just as dangerous. Using your treadmill during a storm can pose a serious safety risk for you and your equipment. Avoid that risk by unplugging your treadmill and enjoying a different activity until the stormy weather passes.
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As with any electrical appliance, the safety rules and operation instructions vary from one manufacturer and style to the next. To ensure safety while using your treadmill, consult the enclosed owner’s manual and safety instructions before you use the product. Some treadmill manufacturers specifically recommend never using your treadmill during an electrical storm. Other manufacturers, however, might simply suggest safety precautions when using the treadmill during a storm, such as plugging it into a surge protector. If you have any questions about your specific treadmill model, contact the manufacturer directly.
Plugging your treadmill into a surge protector could help prevent damage during a power surge. When your power goes out, then comes back on, there may be a "surge" of electricity higher than the 120 volts that usually powers your equipment. An Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed surge protector with a minimum of 15 amp protection should be sufficient to protect against power surges. The treadmill should be the only thing plugged into the surge protector and the surge protector should be the only thing plugged into the wall outlet. Although your treadmill’s safety manual should ultimately guide your use of the machine, general safety rules recommend staying away from all electrical equipment during a storm.
Along with the electrical dangers of using a treadmill during a storm, your own safety might be at risk. During a storm, your house can lose power without any notice. One second you could be jogging at a quick pace on your treadmill, enjoying the soothing sounds of thunder. Just one second later, your power goes out and the treadmill’s belt stops suddenly, sending you flying forward into the treadmill's console. If you must use your treadmill during a storm, consider walking instead of running. Although a power outage could still be dangerous, the risk of injury could be less if you’re moving at a slower pace.
If Lightning Strikes
If lightning strikes at or near your home, an electrical surge can send a powerful jolt of energy into your home’s plugged-in appliances. As the increased voltage courses through your power lines, it can send a tremendous amount of electrical current into your treadmill. This current produces a large amount of heat that can damage the treadmill’s circuit board and electrical components. While surge protectors can protect equipment against fluctuations in the electrical supply, the 1 billion or more volts of energy in a lightning strike is enough to burn out the surge protector and damage your treadmill. If possible, unplug all electrical appliances, including your treadmill, during a storm.