3 Common Types of Residential Lightning Damage

Lightning presents a significant threat to the integrity of your house and its belongings. Yet many people misunderstand the ways in which lightning can damage a home—let alone what they can do to minimize the risk.

Lightning is a surge of electricity so great that it is capable of making the jump from a storm cloud to the ground, in the process discharging an incredible amount of energy. When this energy directly comes in contact with an object, whether a tree, a house, or a stretch of wiring—it is known as a lightning strike. Unless the object has some means of protection against the lightning, the results can often be devastating.

Should a lightning strike happen to hit some conductive structure, its energy will continue to travel through that object. This is referred to as a current pulse. Incredibly, such a pulse represents a massive amount of electrical energy that it can travel a mile or more through utility cables.

If you would like to improve your knowledge of protecting against lightning strikes, keep reading. This article will introduce you to the destructive potential of lightning by outlining three types of lightning damage.

1. Power Line Strikes

Power line strikes, or lightning that has struck a nearby power network, like a phone, power, or cable line, are the most common type of residential lightning damage. Such wiring acts as a conductor and leads the surge right into your home, where its huge voltage will wreak havoc on any electronic equipment that happens to be plugged in. Certain lightning strikes are even so powerful that they can reach power lines buried underground.

Protecting against this type of lightning damage involves implementing what are known as Building Service Entrance Surge Protectors or SPDs for short. This type of lightning protection system is designed to prevent or at least limit situations where an excessive amount of voltage is flowing into the electrical system of your home by diverting the surge current generated by the lightning strike.

An SPD consists of numerous different surge protection components from metal oxide varistors and avalanche breakdown diodes to gas discharge tubes. Investing in such a system is generally considered the best thing you can do to protect your home against lightning surges.

2. Exterior Equipment Strikes

The next most common source of lightning damage occurs as the result of lightning that strikes a home’s exterior electrical equipment. This may encompass such things as:

  • Air Conditioners
  • Exterior Lighting Systems
  • Satellite Dishes
  • Pool Pump Equipment
  • Security Systems
  • Gate Control System

There is only so much you can do to prevent damage to such items besides trying to protect them within nonconductive structures. The more pertinent concern, however, is that lightning striking such exterior features will often be conducted into the home through the electrical connection. Thus, an SPD becomes even more important as a means of protecting against lightning.

3. Tree Damage

The third most common form of lightning damage involves lightning that hits trees on your property. A significant enough lightning strike can easily shear off limbs, or even cause the tree’s trunk to crack. This may result in damaged portions of a tree falling into your home, resulting in expensive forms of structural damage.

It is important to consider protecting trees against lightning damage even when your home is not directly threatened. Certain trees should be considered an investment since they help to improve the value to your property. This is especially true when it comes to old, rare, or especially beautiful trees.

Fortunately, you can protect such trees against lightning damage through the installation of a special copper cable system. A copper cable system is essentially a giant lightning rod for your tree. Its purpose is to attract lightning strikes and safely conduct the energy into the soil through a ten-foot ground rod.

If you want to protect your home and property from lightning damage, contact B & B Lightning Protection to learn more about your options.