When buying a house, it’s essential that you look for one that has some safety measures that will protect it from natural phenomena, whether it be an earthquake-proof structure or lightning rods. But are houses built with lightning rods?

The overall trend of building houses with lightning rods has been declining. Honestly, it’s unlikely to find a house built with a lightning rod now more than ever. Most people understand that the risk of their house getting hit by a lightning strike is minimal, so they do not feel the need to protect their property.

Keep reading below for more information.

What Are Lightning Rods?

Lightning rods are metal (typically copper) devices that are installed on the roof of a building to deflect lightning and prevent damage. Lightning is an electrical discharge that occurs during thunderstorms when electric currents become unbalanced.

The accumulation of positive and negative charges in the storm clouds causes sparks to fly when the charges reach a critical level. These days, when thunderstorms are likely, most people have to rely on lightning rods, which are essentially just long metal poles attached to buildings and other structures.

Lightning rods can be traced back to a suggestion made by Benjamin Franklin in 1752 during his lectures on electricity. While his ideas were ultimately rejected, lightning rods have become commonplace on homes nationwide in the wake of his passing.

For more information about lightning rods, watch this video below:

How does lightning rod work

Are Houses Built With Lightning Rods?

Most homeowners don’t bother with lightning protection because they believe that their home is unlikely to be struck. However, there has been an increase in lightning strikes. From 2015 to 2016, claims related to lightning increased by nearly 10%, with June through August continuing to be peak months. 

Recent estimates place the number of fires caused by lightning in the United States at 22,600 annually. 

Is A Lightning Rod Necessary to Keep My House Safe?

Lightning rods are unnecessary for the vast majority of single-family homes. However, since recent lightning strikes have increased in the United States, it’s important to consider the risk factors. 

A lightning rod and other forms of lightning protection are unnecessary unless the following are true:

  • Lightning strikes are common where you live.
  • The house is a good height.
  • Trees that are taller than the house are located within ten feet of the structure.

The Benefits of Using Lightning Rods

A lightning rod could save your home if you live in a state prone to lightning strikes. Even if you have home insurance, you should still install lightning rods because of their benefits.

Value for money

Lightning rods have the potential to be a cost-effective and reasonable solution for homeowners and property owners who have insurance through a business. As such, it offers a cost-effective safeguard against lightning’s destructive potential.

Quick and Simple Setup

Insurers who don’t mind seeing lightning rods on buildings won’t raise their premiums for having them installed. You won’t need any expert assistance in order to set up the system. Still, checking in with the roofers is a good idea to ensure you’re installing everything properly.

No Maintenance

Lightning rods are effective as one-time investments because they don’t need to be serviced after installation. There isn’t much to worry about so long as the cables aren’t damaged or otherwise compromised (which should be checked periodically).

Protection Against Electrical Damage

The most obvious benefit of installing a lightning rod is preventing damage caused by lightning. They won’t prevent you from getting struck by lightning entirely, but they’ll lessen the likelihood of it happening and the damage it could do.

The Drawbacks of Using Lightning Rods

Lightning rods have the potential drawback of actually attracting lightning. Metal lightning rods can be dangerous because they can transfer the electricity from a nearby lightning strike and start a fire in the structure they are attached to. 

Some people may not be able to afford the expense of having such rods installed and maintained.

Non-Visible Structures are Not Protected

Your home must be clearly visible for a lightning rod to do its job. Because lightning rods can only shield open areas, they are useless to those living in high-rises or beneath parking garages.

The Impact Is Reduced with Increasing Storm Size

Lightning rods are useful for resolving issues on a smaller scale but are completely ineffective when dealing with catastrophic events. Lightning rods can help lessen the destruction from a moderate thunderstorm, but they are largely ineffective against the widespread destruction caused by powerful electrical storms.

Can Draw in Electricity

Some people argue that lightning rods work because they are more electrically conductive than the air around a building. While the impact is minimal on purpose-built conductive structures, there have been instances where the resulting increase in conductivity has damaged poorly prepared structures.

Requires Weather Monitoring

Those residing in regions prone to thunderstorms and lightning strikes must keep a close eye on the forecast and take extra precautions to ensure no lightning is present. There isn’t enough time to get everyone to safety before you have to take shelter from the storm. 

Although beneficial for specific buildings, lightning rods are not necessary for entire neighborhoods.

May Attract Lightning

Long metal poles on building structures can be unnerving to several people since they look like they’re inviting the lightning inside rather than discouraging it. Lightning has been known to strike through the pole and into the building below, so their concerns are not wholly baseless. 

It is possible to lessen the likelihood of this risk by installing a second lightning rod at the highest point of your structure; however, it is still wise to exercise caution.


Lightning rods are a great way to keep your house safe from a lightning strike. If you live in a region that is prone to thunderstorms and lightning, you must take the appropriate measures to protect your property and family.