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can lightning destroy a house

Once the visible bolt of lightning has connected the charged air from the clouds to the ground, the current associated with the lightning discharge can travel along the ground for some way before it dissipates enough to be harmless. Your crews are very professional & did a great job. Brick and stone chimneys are particularly susceptible to this kind of damage, as the vibrations can damage the mortar and shake loose flashing (potentially allowing water to leak in through the gaps). Many victims of lightning strikes are struck as the current moves in and along the ground. You will want to assess the risk of a strike and weigh the costs versus benefits. If your home is struck by lightning, it can sustain significant damage—both visible and hidden from view. If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles of a storm—within the strike zone for dangerous lightning. Do not take a bath or shower, wash your hands, do laundry, use an icemaker, or otherwise use running water when there is lightning danger in the area. Most lightning is a discharge of static electricity between negatively charged particles in a cloud and positively charged particles on the ground. As air currents and moisture move around during a storm, these opposite charges connect and form a spark, discharging the buildup of energy. A professionally-installed and well-grounded lightning protection system will reduce or eliminate the fire and injury hazards if your house happens to be struck directly. A strike doesn’t have to contact your home directly to cause damage. Your insured expensive electronics can be replaced, after all. You did a fantastic job!”, “Our roof and gutters are awesome. For example, lightning may first connect to electric lines in the attic of a house, then jump to better-grounded water pipes on the first or second floor. Since sound travels more slowly than light, it takes longer for you to hear the noise of lighting than to see the bolt of light. Would highly recommend your business to anyone needing work”, “Thank you for the great work. Insurance may be a more cost-effective option, especially if you live in an area of average to below-average thunderstorm frequency. Lightning current will produce significant damage to a house that is not equipped with a good protection system. Pros and Cons of Installing Heat Cables to Combat Ice Dams, The Pros and Cons of Stone-Coated Steel Roofing, 10 Warning Signs that Your Roof Is Failing, What to Do If Your House Is Struck by Lightning, Copyright 2020 Hedrick Construction Inc. | All Rights Reserved |. It is safest to wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving a protected area. Lighting that strikes a home’s windows, gutters, or other exterior conductive materials can jump to the electrical system. You’ll need to replace or repair shingles, siding, insulation, or windows that have been damaged. Read more about lightning protection systems. This almost certainly will destroy the wires and may cause a fire, as the wires melt and possible ignite the materials surrounding them. It can also jump through the air from one conductive path to another in what is called a side flash. The best thing to do is to unplug any high-value item you wish to protect during storms, as surge protectors and UPS units can't provide direct-strike protection. Once the charge finds a conductor, the energy can travel and branch out in its quest to quickly and easily find the ground. Especially immediately after a strike, do not touch metal window frames, pipes, or electric cords, and do not use your water. The surge of power through the wiring can destroy computers, televisions, and other electronics. Did you know that the sound of thunder is actually a shock wave, caused by the rapid expansion of heated air around lightning? By Heather Hedrick on May 11, 2017 10:04 AM. However, consider irreplaceables such as the data saved on your computer (photos, videos, work files, etc). Wear shoes if walking in a basement, garage or patio. Most houses are filled with many potential routes for lightning to follow in its journey. To prepare your home before another large storm hits, read through our guide to severe weather. Most garage floors are especially unsafe because the concrete floors typically contain a wire mesh. The roof looks great! People on or in or near water are among those most at risk for lighting strikes during thunderstorms, both inside and outside the home. Surge protectors can protect against small surges but are unlikely to prevent damage from a direct lightning strike; it is wise to unplug appliances, electronics, and other items during a storm. If you have a land-line phone, do not use it when there is a threat of lightning strikes. Water is a good conductor of electricity, and many homes have metal pipes (themselves fantastic conductors ). Burns and electric shock injuries can occur when someone is in direct contact with one of lightning's chosen paths to ground. As it travels through these surfaces, the current has the potential to ignite flammable materials in and around your home. Burns and electric shock injuries can occur when someone is in direct contact with one of lightning's chosen paths to ground. Lightning Strikes to Chicago's Skyscrapers, Lightning and Ipods, Walkmans and headphones. Once the storm has passed, assess the damage to your home. If you are located in a zone if frequent lightning activity (such as Florida and the Gulf Coast regions of the USA), a protection system may offer more of a benefit. The most common indoor lightning injuries involve a person talking on a corded phone or resting on/looking out of a metal-framed window. Our local community has been devastated by the derecho storm that blew through Iowa. Seek shelter and take precautions as indicated here to avoid being struck. Lightning passing through a house will often 'branch' and utilize more than one path to ground at a time. We would recommend your company to anyone. Direct contact with them should be avoided. If your home is hit directly by lightning, your immediate concern should be for any fires that may have been ignited. At this time, we are currently dedicating all of our resources to our local recovery. Fires inside the walls and in the attic spaces can smolder for hours undetected, so consider calling the fire department if your house has been hit even if you don’t see smoke or flames. While it is rare, yes, it is possible to receive a lightning injury inside a house. These fires inside enclosed spaces may not be visible in their beginning stages. If you are in need of a full roof replacement, please contact us after you have received your assessment of damage from you insurance adjuster. This can include gas and water pipes, electric lines, phone lines, cable TV/internet lines, gutters, downspouts, metal window frames - anything conductive in a house is 'fair game' for the lightning to follow. Some could argue that the risk of a direct strike to any given house is too low to justify unplugging everything for every storm that passes overhead. Since lightning current can travel through soil and across moist concrete, wear shoes if walking in a basement, garage, or patio. Lightning can travel long distances in both phone and electrical wires, particularly in rural areas. Not only can lightning striking your home travel through your pipes but lightning can travel stealthily into your home through shared pipelines that have sustained strikes some distance away from your home. While it is rare, yes, it is possible to receive a lightning injury inside a house. Strikes can cause fires directly on contact, while additional materials can ignite when current passes through them and heats them to the point of ignition. When a lightning charge travels through electrical wiring, it can cause an explosive surge. If your home has gas piping, lightning strikes may damage valves, regulators, or appliance connectors, causing leakage of flammable gas and subsequent explosions. It can even jump or “arc” through the air from one conductive path to another, a phenomenon called “side flash.” For example, lightning may first connect to a home’s gutters before arcing to window frames or better grounded water pipes. In fact, telephone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. You should also strongly consider contacting an electrician to have your home's electrical system inspected for any damage that might present a future fire hazard. Lightning can cause serious damage if it strikes your home. Although it seems counterintuitive, a stone-coated steel or metal roof is extremely fire-resistant and can help your home resist lightning damage. Thunder shock waves can also fracture objects and create shrapnel, flying debris that can be propelled at a dangerous rate around structures. Use an approved fire extinguisher to put out the flames, if possible, and call the fire department immediately. AT RIGHT: Lightning strikes a tree and house in Charleston, West Virginia in 1998. 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