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What Will Happen if my Home is Struck by Lightning?

What will happen if lightning strikes my house?

Remember in Back to the Future when lightning struck the clock tower?  The surge of power provided enough energy to get Marty McFly and Doc Brown back to where they belonged in 1985.  Power surges from lightning may not actually be able to allow us to time travel, but they sure can be a pretty powerful source of electricity with big impacts.

What will happen if my home is struck by lightning?

During a lightning storm, the lightning is doing whatever it takes to get to the ground.  If your house is in the way, it will run through whatever it can in the house to make its way to the ground including through wiring, gutters, and plumbing. Unfortunately, lightning does not care about the damage it will cause in the process.  If your home suffers a direct lightning hit, the power surge caused by it will almost instantaneously fry all of your electronics that are plugged in.  The best way to avoid damage is by unplugging all of your electrical devices before this happens.  However, the National Weather Service advises, Do not unplug equipment during a thunderstorm as there is a risk you could be struck.”

But, what about surge protectors?

Surge protectors do help to protect your home from power surges, but a direct lightning strike will be too powerful.  However, surge protectors can still help protect from power surges if lightning strikes elsewhere on a power line.  Or, from other power surges, such as power being turned back on after a power outage.  You can either invest in a whole house surge suppressor that is connected to your electrical panel or in individual surge protectors that plug into your outlets.  If you choose to go this route, make sure they are actually surge suppressors and not just power strips.

Will my family and I be safe?

Typically people in the homes stay pretty safe if lightning should strike because a home offers plenty of pathways for lightning to get the ground, but you still want to avoid using appliances that are wired.  For more lightning safety tips, click here.

For more information about protecting your home’s electronics and electrical system, contact Flame!

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