How Lightning Damages Homes and Tips for Prevention

Lightning Damages Homes and Tips for Prevention

When Mother Nature decides to unleash her fury in the form of lightning, she can be relentless and often causes frightening experiences. For a start, the electrical power of a lightning strike can wreak havoc on your home – if you’re not properly prepared. Reports indicate that one in every 200 homes across the U.S. is at risk of lightning damage annually.

Maybe you’ve experienced the reality of lightning damage. Hence you may scour the web for residential electricians you can trust to rewire your home, upgrade or repair your electrical panel, or troubleshoot your system. Thankfully, you can turn to NW Pacific Electric – a team of dedicated and friendly professionals with a reputation for high-quality workmanship.

Or perhaps you want to ensure your home is safe from such a strike. Either way, it pays to know how to avert potential lightning-related disasters advises Redsail, a property management in Chesapeake VA. But first, let’s discuss the impact of lightning strikes on homes.

How Lightning Rears its Ugly Head

Lightning often results in tragic events. For starters, it can lay waste to roofs, walls, appliances, and electrical wiring. In extreme cases, the intense heat from a lightning strike can start a fire, quickly razing a home to the ground.

Even if the lightning doesn’t directly strike your home, it can send surges through power lines and into your house. And before you know it, your electrical appliances are fried. Likewise, it can sneak into your home in various ways.

For instance, the metal pipes transporting water and gas into a home can act as electricity conduits. Let’s also say you’ve installed a satellite dish atop your roof. Such a metal component is prone to electromagnetic surges, which can wreak havoc on your television equipment.

Along the same vein, objects such as trees, gutters, and windowsills can act as paths for lightning. In short, lightning does not discriminate when seeking a pathway into your home – it can snake its way through anything conductive (be it your electrical wiring, pipes, irrigation systems, or home).

How to Ward Off a Lighting Strike

In 2020, homeowners filed roughly 70,000 lightning-related damage claims across the U.S. This signifies that lightning is a major concern and you need to take proactive measures to safeguard your home. To avoid being a helpless victim of nature’s wrath, consider taking the following proactive steps:

1. Install a Lightning Rod

Lightning is a large electrical current looking for a path to the ground. Installing a lightning rod or ‘air terminal’ can divert its course and safely discharge the current. Your electrician may recommend the installation of one or more rods to protect your home.

Typically, the rod is affixed to the highest point of the roof (usually the peak) and connected to copper cables running down the home’s sides. The metal cables, in turn, terminate at a grounding rod buried several feet into the ground. Thus, once lighting hits the rod, it is diverted safely to the ground.

2. Unplug Electrical Appliances

Get into the habit of unplugging electrical appliances during a thunderstorm. We’re referring to items like televisions, computers, microwaves, fridges, and other appliances. Needless to say, unplugging them can help avert damage due to power surges occasioned by a lightning strike. If you can’t unplug some of your appliances, at least avoid running or using them when a storm is looming or at its peak.

3. Invest in Surge Protectors

Surge protectors are devices used to safeguard electronics from power spikes caused by lightning. They work by providing a convenient outlet for the excess electricity from lightning – thereby averting over-voltage or the risk of fires. They are particularly useful in areas prone to lightning strikes as they help protect your appliances.

Alternatively, get a professional to install a whole-house surge arrestor. Such a component blocks or diverts electrical surges to the ground before they enter your house. Thus, it’s a worthwhile investment if your home lies in a lightning-prone area.

4. Inspect the Wiring

The state of your home’s electrical wiring can determine its vulnerability to lightning or surges. For instance, worn insulation reduces your wiring’s resistance to a lightning strike, making your property or home more susceptible to damage. Likewise, if the wiring is obsolete or doesn’t meet current standards, ditto.

Therefore, call in an electrician to inspect the outlets, switches, wiring, electrical panel, and other components to ensure they work as expected and are in good order. By so doing, your home can be safer.

5. Keep Trees Away from Your Home

If trees surround your home, keep them at a distance. The taller the tree, the higher the risk of lightning striking it and transferring the current to your home. Therefore, trim or cut down trees close to your home.

The effort you put into lightning-proofing your home may be what saves it in the end. Hence, to reduce the risk of lightning damage, consider putting the pointers above into practice.