Protect Your Home From Lightning

Lightening can strike more than once. If your home is at high risk of lightening strikes then you need to know how to protect your investment.

What is lightening and how do you protect your home from being struck by lightening? Most home or building owners never give these questions a thought. If you have ever had your home struck by lightening or know someone who has you understand the seriousness of what can occur from a strike.

WHAT IS LIGHTENING?

A visible discharge of electricity in the sky is a way to define lightening. The electrical current from the discharge is searching for a place to ground. The streak you see is the current following a path to ground. That point of grounding can be a home, a building, a lightening rod, a tree, a person or any other object tall enough and in the area to draw the current to it. The electricity does not know the difference and has no concern over where is grounds.

Lightening can occur during storms of all kinds. If you think you are immune to a lightening strike because you live in an area that does not see hurricanes or tornadoes think again. Electrical storms do not necessarily carry water or rain with them and storms that bring rain are not necessarily hurricanes. Lightening makes its home all over the world and none of us are immune. Some of us, however, do have better odds than others of being a target.

HOW SUSCEPTIBLE IS YOUR HOME OR BUILDING?

Consider the following elements when assessing risk to your home or building.

1. Your home is in an isolated and open area.

2. Your home sits on the top of a hill or higher than those around you.

3. You have no surge protection on phone lines or electrical panels.

4. Your home is located in an area that receives an overly high percentage of thunderstorms per year.

5. Others in your area have had lightening damage.

6. Your home has had previous lightening damage.

7. Your home has one or a combination of the following:

a. Metal ridge vents

b. Metal chimney

c. Aluminum siding

8. There are tall trees close to or overhanging the building.

9. Your home is equipped with a television, computer, or stereo system.

If you can say yes to half of these questions you are at a moderate risk for lightening strike. If you can say yes to more than half you are moving into severe to critical risk. Either way you should evaluate the ways you can prepare your home in case of a lightening strike.



HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR HOME?

Protecting your home means giving the electricity a direct path to follow in order to ground it. In doing so you are preventing damage to your electrical wiring, your appliances and you and your family. If you do not give the electricity a relatively safe and direct way to ground, damage could result in injury or death of you or a loved one, not to mention further risk of a fire and loss of personal luxuries such as computers and televisions and a roof over your head.

There are four measures that should be considered when safeguarding your family and your home.

­- A lightening rod and ground system

­- A grounded television antennae

­- Grounded appliances

­- Surge protection throughout the home

Begin by surge protecting your computer, television and stereo equipment. This is relatively inexpensive to accomplish. Purchase high quality surge protectors with guarantees and warranties. Make sure they are on at all times. This is smart to do even if you are at minimal risk of a lightening strike. Power surges can destroy your equipment and they can happen at any time, lightening or not.

Grounding television antennae is important because antennae are usually the highest point on the house and therefore attractive to lightening. While you are taking care of the antennae consider trimming back any overhanging trees to push them further away from the house, especially if they are taller than the antennae.

Ask your electric power supplier what kind of secondary lightening arrester is appropriate for your homes electrical service and where to purchase one. Install it in the service wires at the point in which they drop to the house or building. This arrester will ground your appliances and protect them from surges due to lightening or other reasons. Lightening striking within a certain area around your home can cause electrical surges whether the strike hits you or happens somewhere down the street or several blocks away.

Installing a lightening rod system, although pricey, can mean the difference between safety and tragedy for some homeowners. A certified professional should be hired to install the system. Quality of the system and proper installation are important in accomplishing a working solution. Make sure the equipment has been certified by the Underwriters Laboratory or the Lightening Protection Institute for your own peace of mind.

Keep in mind a lightening strike cannot be prevented but can only be given a safe path to ground the electrical current. Give the electricity that path and you could save your home and your life.

© High Speed Ventures 2011