Be Prepared: Lightning Protection Systems

Be Prepared: Lightning Protection Systems

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - With over 25,000,000 strikes of lightning per year in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service, lightning doesn't even have to strike the same place twice to potentially affect your home or business.

Lightning strikes can't be prevented, but precautions can be taken.

Most houses are filled with many potential routes for lightning to follow in its journey, especially in this technological day and age.

Lightning is going to go to the closest, nearest, most efficient source of ground it can find. That could be anything from the oak tree by your house, your electrical system, the gutter, TV antennae, etc.  

The two main hazards from lightning striking your home are fires and power surge damage. Now, of course, you can always go the insurance route for damage that occurs.

But say that the damaged appliances are less than your deductible and you'd rather not risk any injuries that may occur. That's when you'd want to consider a lighting protection system.

Lynn Tidmore with Current Electrical and Generator Services says that when a lightning charge hits any of your components, the protection
systems, "take them to ground and grounds them out prior to going inside your home into your system, to your TVs, to your computers, things of that nature."

As for installing a lightning rod to your home or business, Mr. Tidmore says, "You have two components here: you're attracting lightning when you do that.

Lightning is going to go to the most effective grounding source that it can get to. Good or bad? Been in this business many, many years, we're still weighing the balance of it."

The cost of lightning protection systems can vastly vary from less than a hundred to thousands of dollars.

In any case, when you're weighing the odds versus the cost, you might want to consider your individual home's risks, such as: Is your home more exposed than the rest of the neighborhood? Does it sit on a hill, have any protruding tall objects?, or is it generally on the same level as the others?

Usually, a home's building material does not affect the chances of being hit. But having a metallic roof can increase the danger. Location is also key.

Florida's electric weather is unmatched by any other state, however, neighboring southeastern states, including Alabama, rank in the top 5.

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