Lightning strikes can be highly destructive and fatal, but there are several ways on how to prevent lightning from hitting your house.
In this article, you’ll not only learn about how to protect your home from being struck but also the nature of lightning and what to do in case your house gets a truck.
Protect yourself from lightning strikes by installing a lightning rod on your building. Don’t use a landline telephone during a thunderstorm, but you can use your cell phone if you have to. If it starts to storm, stay away from water. If there’s an electrical surge, it could make electricity run through the water faster and possibly electrocute you if you’re touching it.
Some folks love watching a summer storm roll in. Others are terrified by the first flash of lightning or the rumble of thunder.
Either way, thunderstorms produce lightning that can be dangerous.
A lightning strike typically propagates in a branching pattern, with the electricity going down into the ground and branching out in all directions.
Proximity to Tall Structure
Anyone close to an object that lightning faces have struck as much danger from subsequent branch strikes as from a direct strike.
As the Empire State Building is struck by lightning more than 100 times each year, it serves as a lightning rod for surrounding buildings.
Fact: Being struck by lightning is a dangerous and sometimes fatal occurrence: about one in five people are killed instantly; others suffer severe burns and neurological complications.
How to Protect Your House From Lightning
Here are the tips and tricks on how to prevent lightning from hitting your house:
Install Lightning Rods
From the moment it’s emitted by a cloud, lightning is out of human control.
But the voltage created by a bolt of lightning is so intense—believed to reach 100 million volts—that it can be damaging or even lethal if it reaches the ground, touching anything wet such as wood, metal and people.
To protect both people and structures from this high voltage, experts developed lightning rods placed on the roof of a building or home.
These rods are connected to an underground rod made of solid copper. This rod conducts electricity safely into the ground, away from everything else.
The Fault in Lightning Rods
Lightning rods can help protect your house, but they aren’t always practical.
The lightning rod system is designed to divert a lightning strike’s electrical energy into the ground instead of into your home.
The voltage of a lightning strike can be too high for the diversion system to divert all of the energy, so some may travel down into your home.
And installation of lightning rods should be performed by a professional, and they can cause an immense amount of damage if installed incorrectly.
Note: Lightning rod systems can get pretty pricey too, at about $1,500 on average, for a copper six-rod system installed.
Unplug All Devices
Although lightning can cause fires, it doesn’t permanently destroy electrical devices in the home.
Power surge damage caused by lightning is a problem that can be prevented with a simple step.
It should be noted that lightning can damage all kinds of electrical devices and appliances, not just the ones with wires.
For example, a power surge can fry your toaster or cause your battery-operated radio to short out.
Taking the simple step of unplugging electronic devices before a storm hits can help keep your home safe from lightning damage.
Devices to Unplug
- Portable Appliances
- Gaming Systems
- Charging Stations
Large appliances, such as the washer, dryer and stove, sometimes cannot simply be unplugged before a storm.
In these instances, do not operate these appliances during the height of a storm.
Install Surge Protectors
For example, when you are travelling, it is important to unplug your electronics so surges will not damage them.
You can protect your electronics from surges by installing transient voltage surge protectors.
Surge protectors may not completely protect your house and devices. However, transient voltage surge protectors can help protect your electronics from surges by limiting the amount of current that runs through them.
Affordable Protective Measure
Installing these devices is a fairly technical job, and you should be very careful.
Professional help might be worth looking into if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
These whole-panel surge arrestors are reasonably priced, ranging from $150 to $300 or so, depending on how much protection your home needs.
Fact: According to the National Weather Service, homeowners suffer more than $739 million in damage from lightning.
Location! Location! Location!
Standing in a flat field during a lightning storm is dangerous, and so is building your house on a hilltop.
If you’re looking to get a new home, think about where you prefer to make it to avoid lightning strikes.
Scientists believe that lightning is caused by a buildup of electrical energy within clouds and the release of this energy in the form of lightning.
The positive ions within clouds, which like to gather at the top of tall objects, are attracted to objects on the ground, like houses and trees.
Buildings in raised terrains and trees are thus more likely than shorter ones to be struck by lightning.
Note: In 2014, researchers at State Farm found that lightning is a common occurrence in the southern United States.
Some of the most lightning prone states are Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina.
Evaluate your Grounding System
The National Electrical Code requires that ground wires be connected to the system grounding electrode. This is established by a continuous connection to the earth near the service entrance.
This connection aims to protect people and property against lightning strikes that can cause fires or electrocution.
If lightning strikes a home without an effective grounding system, the charge will build up inside the walls and other electrical fixtures, causing damage that can range from blown-out light bulbs to significant fire damage.
A home with older wiring or an ineffective grounding system is more at risk for this type of disaster.
Newer Homes and Construction Patterns
When a home’s electrical system is grounded, it protects both its occupants and the electronics in the home.
It also protects the occupant from being harmed by lightning strikes or the entire house getting hit.
Grounding systems are now a standard requirement of the construction process, but before 1980, they were only sometimes installed. An electrician can check your electrical grounding system if you suspect a problem.
Frequency of Lightning Strikes
As many as 100,000 to 200,000 home insurance claims are made each year because of lightning strikes. Many homeowners experience devastating damage from windstorms, hail, and floods.
Although the amount of damage caused by these events is similar to that of lightning strikes, fewer homeowners file insurance claims for damage from these natural disasters.
When lightning strikes tall structures such as light metal poles, it can cause electrical damage to the pole or the wires attached to it.
Most often, the lightning’s current travels down the wire to a power station and then enters the ground through a water pipe.
However, suppose there is an inhabitant of a house or apartment nearby. In that case, the lightning can quickly jump from wire to human via metal objects within reach, such as plumbing or air conditioning wiring.
The above measures are easily some of the best tips on how to prevent lightning from hitting your house.
Of importance is to ensure your loved ones or family members are enlightened on the dangers of lightning as well as first aid measures just in case lightning strikes someone in your household.
No matter how many steps you take to keep your home safe from lightning, you’re still going to want to make sure that your homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance cover damage caused by lightning.