Lightning is one of the most powerful forces of nature. In an instant, damage can be extreme and irreversible. Strikes can cause fires, electrical surges, and other damage. The best way to protect your property and those you love from such damage is to lightning-proof your home. Make doing so a priority, before the storm clouds start rolling in.
What Are the Odds of Lightning Hitting Your House?
Lightning never strikes the same place twice, right? Wrong actually, but whether or not lighting is a repeat offender, one strike to your home is quite enough to worry about. Fortunately, in the United States, the statistics on lightning hitting people is relatively low, about 1 in 15,300. In 2020 only 17 direct lightning strikes were verified in the U.S.
Unfortunately, the likelihood that lightning will strike your home is significantly higher. Every year, approximately 1 in every 200 houses is struck directly by lightning and homeowners file more than 70,000 lightning damage claims. These claims total millions dollars, each claim averaging $13,000 to $30,000. The time to check your homeowners or renters insurance coverage is before lightning strikes. Even better, you can save yourself a lot of money and headache by protecting your home against lightning strikes.
How to Lightning-Proof Your Home
If you want to lightning-proof your home, it is wise to consult with the professionals to make sure you don’t miss anything. The results of inadequate precautions can be expensive and highly dangerous. The best way to protect your home from lightning strikes is by implementing redundant precautions. These four suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg, but they can go a long way to keeping your home safe.
Install a Lightning Protection System
A lightning protection system that is fully equipped is a 99% effective way to lightning-proof your home. Such a system includes elements such as main conductors, lightning rods, grounding elements, bonds, and surge protectors. Many of these are made of aluminum and copper to conduct electricity along safe paths into the ground where it is dispersed.
The initial installation of a lightning protection system commonly costs approximately $300 to $600. This is an easy investment in comparison to the thousands of dollars (and worse) a home lightning strike can cost. Make sure that a licensed electrician installs your lightning protection system to ensure that the job is completed correctly and that your investment is protected.
A surge is a sudden increase in voltage within an electrical system. Surges can occur even when lightning is nearby; it doesn’t have to strike your home for a surge to course through your system. Surges work a bit like the release of a blood clot. They can short out appliances with a swell of electricity. Even if the surges are small, if they happen frequently enough, they can eventually wear out appliances until they fail completely.
A good lightning protection system must include quality surge protection measures. This goes beyond simply having surge protectors within your power strips. Whole-home surge protection is essential if you want to lightning-proof your home. Ensure your system includes elements like surge protective devices (SPDs). In conjunction with a reliable electrical grounding system, such devices use metal oxide varistors to locate, block, and divert surges away from your home. When installed at the main electrical panel, surge protective devices help to protect against fires.
Install Lightning Rods
Lightning rods serve as a protected strikepoint for properties, the highest point on any building that conducts electricity from any lightning strikes through copper wires to other rods in the ground. Creating an easy path for the electricity makes strikes to the rest of the building less likely.
Unfortunately, lightning rods are not a fail-safe way to lightning-proof your home. They must be installed correctly in order to do the job, and it is always better to use lightning rods in conjunction with other safety precautions.
Unplugging appliances when they are not in use is the simplest way to lightning-proof your home. This is a wise precaution any time you leave the home, but it is especially important when there is a storm warning, whether you are home or not. Unplug things like computers, TVs, gaming systems, portable appliances like toasters and coffee makers, and charging stations. Larger appliances, like the refrigerator and dryer, can prove more difficult to unplug when a storm is on the way. The best practice for these is to avoid using them when storms are raging outside.