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Protect Your Home From Lightning Strikes

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 31 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Lightning Home Weather Research Property

With regard to the British weather, most of us are familiar with using our common sense when it comes to thunder and lightning when we’re outdoors. We’ll know not to shelter underneath trees when lightning is in the air as well as trying to get indoors as opposed to remaining exposed such as being in the middle of an open field, for example. However, what many of us fail to address is in protecting our home from lightning strikes.

Lightning Rods

Lightning strikes don't just affect high rise office blocks or property which is located on a hill or a mountain. They can affect anybody’s home at all. The most effective way to safeguard your home from lightning is to install a lightning rod and ground system. Usually, you’ll only ever tend to see these on high rise commercial buildings but if your home has ever been hit by lightning before, research into other domestic properties have shown that the chances are that the property is vulnerable to lightning strikes. A well used saying that has to be one of the biggest myths of all time is that “lightning never strikes twice”. Seriously, if it has struck in a place once, it has done so because the location is susceptible to such a strike so a lightning rod may end up saving your life if your home has been struck by lightning previously.

Rooftop Aerials

Rooftop aerials are usually made of metal and are usually the highest point of your home. Therefore, you should ensure that they are grounded. If you’re in doubt, call out a local aerial specialist and ask them to check it.

Surge Protectors

Electrical appliances are vulnerable to being burnt out during a lightning strike. It’s not so much the lightning itself that will create the problem but the electrical surge that accompanies it. Therefore, you should fit surge protectors to your computer, TV and hi-fi equipment as well as things like your washing machine, dishwasher and tumble drier. Surge protection devices can also be installed at the main electrical panel or meter. Other less commonly thought about items that also require surge protection are weather vanes and satellite dishes.

It’s important to remember that whilst direct strikes from lightning are the most devastating, they only account for about a fifth of all problems caused by lightning. The vast majority are caused by the surge of power as a result of an electrical storm and the storm doesn’t even need to be overhead. Research shows that many people have had appliances affected as the result of a power surge when a storm has been located a few miles away. In fact, a storm that may be a mile away can exert enough energy to destroy a TV set or computer.

Important Things To Remember

Other things you should remember when it comes to thunderstorms and the home are to ensure that any children who might be playing in the garden as well as any pets you have are brought inside immediately. With pets in particular, they can often sense the onset of bad weather and they'll know a storm is brewing long before we do so they’ll usually have a favourite place to hide. Learn where that is so you can be sure you can account for them. Make sure that any trees that could cause damage to the property should they be struck by lightning are cut back to the extent that they’d cause only minimal damage at the worst if they were felled by lightning. Also ensure that any patio or garden equipment is either securely tied down or placed inside a shed, garage or brought inside.

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