The probability of lightning hitting your house is one in two hundred homes during thunderstorm season. While the probability is low, the risk of lightning is not eliminated. Hence, it is essential to understand what attracts lightning to your house.
Seven things that attract lightning to your house include the height of the structure of your home, the presence of metal objects, the usage of metal roofing material, tall trees, water bodies close to the house, outdated and damaged electrical systems, and ungrounded devices that are out in the open.
For more detail, please continue reading.
Tall structures are easy to reach by lightning. The closer that a structure is to the sky, the higher it is at risk of being struck by lightning. This is due to a path of low resistance provided by the lightning.
By nature, lightning prefers to travel on the path of least resistance to ground itself. Hence, tall structures have little resistance in their way and often become subjected to lightning.
Tall structures include tall houses, electric poles, or high-rise buildings.
Metal is a very good conductor of electricity; any metal objects found near or in the house will attract lightning. These objects include antennas, satellite dishes, metal wires, and gutters.
These are a huge hazard for the house and can cause significant damage. Moreover, the electric charge can stay in these objects long after the lightning has subsided.
Metal Roofing Material
Roofing materials come in a variety of states; these include asphalt, slate, and also metal. If you chose a metal roofing material for a specific purpose, your house is more likely to attract lightning.
Like metal objects, the roofing material is a conductor of electricity, can be struck by lightning, and can cause considerable damage to the house.
Trees are often the tallest objects in a region. Moreover, trees also retain moisture which makes them even more vulnerable to being hit by lightning. If trees are too close to your house or inside your house, your house may be at risk of being struck by lightning.
Even if your house is not struck by lightning directly, but a tree is struck that is close to the home, indirect impacts of the lightning will be felt on the house. This can be in the form of a power surge or a fire.
Water bodies attract lightning because of the conductive quality of the water. If your home is close to a water body like a pond, lake, or river, the likelihood of lightning striking your home increases.
As we already know, lightning chooses the path of least resistance; the water body may attract lightning but may have resistance. As a result, the lightning may look for a higher object to strike, which may be the structure of your home.
Electrical systems are installed in all houses, but they must be secured and not naked. If your house has an electrical system that is faulty or outdated, your house will attract lightning. Due to the conductive nature of the wires, if they are exposed to the open air, lightning would gravitate toward them.
If electrical systems are struck by lightning, this can damage all the devices and appliances in your home due to a power surge. If the lightning is very intense, explosions and fires may also occur.
Outdoor devices like bells, cameras, and lights are often ungrounded. Instead, they are connected to receptacles. This makes them unsafe and vulnerable to lightning strikes. If such devices are common in your home, lightning may hit them and, as a result, damage your property.
Protect Your Home Against Lightning
Below are some safety measures you may want to consider to protect your home against lightning.
- Install lightning rods – Lightning rods are designed to attract lightning and provide a direct path for lightning to follow, safely dissipating the electrical charge into the ground. Professional installation of lightning rods can significantly reduce the risk of lightning-related damage to your home.
- Ground your electrical system – Ensure a licensed electrician properly grounds your home’s electrical system. Grounding helps to divert lightning strikes away from your home and into the ground, reducing the risk of damage to your electrical appliances and systems.
- Avoid using electronic devices during thunderstorms – Lightning can travel through electrical wiring, so it’s important to avoid using electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and appliances to minimize the risk of damage from electrical surges.
- Unplug sensitive electronics – If you have valuable electronic equipment, such as computers or televisions, consider unplugging them during thunderstorms to protect them from potential lightning-induced power surges.
- Stay away from windows and doors – During a thunderstorm, avoid standing near windows or doors, as they can be dangerous if struck by lightning. Stay in the middle of your home, away from windows and doors, to reduce the risk of injury from shattered glass or lightning strikes.
- Trim trees and remove dead branches – Trees close to your home can act as lightning attractors. Trim trees and remove dead branches close to your home to minimize the risk of lightning-related damage.
- Install surge protectors – Use surge protectors for your electrical appliances and systems to help prevent damage from electrical surges caused by lightning strikes.
- Avoid outdoor activities during thunderstorms – When a thunderstorm is approaching, it’s best to avoid outdoor activities and seek shelter indoors. Stay away from open fields, water bodies, and tall objects, as these can increase the risk of being struck by lightning.
- Install a lightning protection system – Consider installing a comprehensive one that includes surge protection, grounding, and lightning rods. A professional lightning protection system can provide complete protection for your home against lightning strikes.
- Stay informed – Stay updated with weather forecasts and lightning activity in your area. Be aware of thunderstorm warnings and take necessary precautions to protect your home and loved ones.
Being well-informed about the factors that increase the likelihood of lightning strikes on your home is great. This helps you take proactive steps to resolve these issues and make your home safe for your loved ones and yourself.