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How To Protect Your Home From Lightning Strikes

How To Protect Your Home From Lightning Strikes

We have talked before about how lighting can cause damage to both your home’s electrical and plumbing systems. However, what we have not talked about, is how you can actually protect your home from lightning damage. There are several methods out there that a person can use to reduce their risk of actually having their home be damaged by lightning strikes.

In this post, we are going to examine a few of the ways that a homeowner can help prevent their home’s electrical system and plumbing system from being damaged by lightning.

Now, none of these protection methods is 100% guaranteed to protect you from lightning damage, but they will significantly improve your chances.

Surge protectors

Surge protectors are not specifically designed to protect your electrical system from lightning strikes, but they are quite effective at it nonetheless. If you know anything about lightning strikes, then you know that one of the biggest dangers associated with lightning strikes is the possibility that they can cause a power surge.

Power surges occur when the lightning strikes a power line or somehow manages to get in your power system. The electrical power generated by the lightning is just too powerful for most electrical appliances to handle, and so they essentially get fried. A single power surge can wipe out a whole bunch of expensive appliances and turn them into expensive paper weights in seconds. A surge protector stops this from happening.

Now, lightning strikes are not the only causes of power surges. In fact, power surges can be caused by a whole host of things, including power outages, using too many appliances on one circuit, and other things like that. So, even if you do not live in an area that suffers from a lot of lightning, then you can still benefit from getting a surge protector installed.

Surge protectors work by essentially stopping any excess electricity from being delivered to whatever is hooked up to the surge protector. A surge protector will detect any unwanted electricity and divert it away from your appliances.

If you are interested in getting a surge protector, you have 2 main options. You can surge protectors installed on individual outlets. This is the cheaper option, but it is also riskier since many single outlet surge protectors lack the strength necessary to protect your appliances from power surges arising from lightning strikes.

The other option is to get a surge protector installed that covers your entire household. This is more expensive since you need to get the surge protector installed by a licensed electrician, but it is also much safer, since a whole house surge protector offers a lot more protection than outlet based ones. If you are interested in reading more about surge protectors, you can read this previous post we made on the topic.

Unplug appliances during lightning storms

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to protect your appliances during a lightning storm is to just unplug them. Sure, it is inconvenient and it requires you to actually be in the home when the lightning starts, but it does work.

If your appliances are not plugged into your home’s electrical system, then you do not need to worry about them being damaged by a power surge. It is still possible that your electrical wiring may be damaged by a lightning strike, but that is less likely than a power surge. So, if for some reason or another you do not want to get a surge protector installed, unplugging your appliances whenever there is a lightning storm can be a good way of protecting your appliances from a power surge.

Lightning rods

Lightning rods (also often referred to as “air terminals”) can be installed on individual homes to act as an extra layer of protection against lightning. The way lightning rods work is that they essentially act as a sacrificial layer of protection.

Lightning rods are made of a combination of copper and aluminum, both of which are extremely conductive of electricity and therefore very attractive to lightning. Thus, instead of your home being struck by lightning, the lightning is drawn to the rod instead.

Tall buildings will usually have their own built in lightning protection, but residential homes often lack the same level of lightning protection. This leaves a home’s electrical and plumbing systems vulnerable to lightning.

Is it worth it to take precautions against lightning?

Lightning strikes that actually cause damage are relatively rare, and so you may be wondering whether it is actually worth the money to invest in lightning protection. Getting a lightning rod or a surge protector installed can be expensive and a bit of a hassle, so you are right to wonder whether it is worth it to invest money in protecting your home against something as unlikely as a lightning strike.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether you want to take a risk or not. If a lightning strike were to cause a power surge, you could potentially suffer thousands of dollars in damages. Likewise, if a lightning strike were to damage your home’s wiring or piping (which lighting is capable of doing) then you are going to have to get rewiring done. In both of those cases, you will likely end up spending more money to fix the damage then you would have spent getting a surge protector or a lightning rod installed.

You also need to factor in location as well. The northern part of the country receives more lightning storms than other parts of the country. So, if you live in a place like Darwin, lightning protection becomes a bit more important.

 

These are the 3 best methods for protecting your homes electrical and plumbing systems from lightning. Remember, if you ever suffer damage from lightning, make sure you give us a call right away, so that we can come out and see the extent of the damage and determine the best way to fix it.