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Home Safety

Should I Install a Lightning Rod?

Lightning in sky above house.

Does my house need a lightning rod? We hear this question a lot, and the answer is not always cut and dry. In this installment, we’ll examine the variables, helping you determine whether or not your home may be in need of lighting protection.

How Lighting Rods Work

A single lightning bolt carries 100 million to 1 billion volts of electricity. Lightning rods intercept this voltage, providing a safe path for lightning current into the ground. They do not decrease the likelihood your home may be struck, but provide a direct path to ground, preventing damage to your home from fire, explosion, and electrical surges that can result from lightning strikes.

How Many Homes Have Lighting Rods?

Lightning strikes are not a common threat to residential homes, so most homeowners forgo lightning protection. However, lightning strikes are on the rise. Lightning-related claims rose nearly 10 percent from 2015 to 2016, with June-August remaining peak months of activity.

How Often Do Homes Get Struck by Lightning?

According to the most recent data available, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 22,600 lightning-related fires per year. Based on a recent report from the Insurance Information Institute, the top 10 states for homeowner’s insurance lighting losses in 2016 include…

  1. Florida: 10,385 lightning claims
  2. Texas: 9,098 lightning claims
  3. Georgia: 8,037 lightning claims
  4. Louisiana: 5,956 lightning claims
  5. North Carolina: 5,889 lightning claims
  6. California: 4,764 lightning claims
  7. Alabama: 4,294 lightning claims
  8. Illinois: 3,870 lightning claims
  9. Arkansas: 3,422 lightning claims
  10. Virginia: 3,331 lightning claims

Should I Install a Lightning Rod?

Statistically, lightning is the most commonly experienced weather hazard. Contrary to urban myth, lighting CAN strike the same place twice: The Empire State building gets hit with about 100 strikes a year, however most homes do not experience this increased incidence. If you live in a very tall home, have trees taller than your home less than 10 feet away from its structure, or live in an area with a high lightning strikes, however, installing a lightning rod is recommended. They can cost a few thousand dollars, so many homeowners assume the rare chance of a strike happening a risk worth taking to save some money. Many homeowner’s insurance plans provide credits for lightning protection, recognizing them as “protection for the entire external perimeter of the home.”

What Forms of Lightning Protection Might Earn an Insurance Credit?

Contact your local insurer directly to learn more about incentives for these common lightning protection components…

  • Lighting rods
    Also called ‘air terminals,’ these vertically-mounted aluminum/copper rods are mounted at regular intervals to intercept strikes.
  • Main conductors
    These aluminum/copper braided cables connect lightning rods to ground.
  • Grounds
    These rods, driven deep into the earth, divert dangerous lightning current. (Some soil-types may require specialty installation.)
  • Bonds
    Bonds join metallic roofing components and grounded building systems to the main conductor, preventing lightning from jumping between objects.
  • Tree protection
    Trees taller than your home increase strike risk. Outfitted them with lightning protection can mitigate lightning danger.
  • Surge protectors, suppressors, and arrestors.
    Installed on your home’s electrical panel, these offer added protection for your electrical system and expensive electronics against lightning and other more common surge-related damage. 

Don’t get zapped by electrical storms. Prevent shocking experiences with the help of Mr. Electric today.

This blog is made available by Mr. Electric for educational purposes only to give the reader general information and a general understanding on the specific subject above. The blog should not be used as a substitute for a licensed electrical professional in your state or region. Check with city and state laws before performing any household project.

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