When they connect, lightning occurs. Whether you're a homeowner or renter, there are steps you can take to prevent your property from being damaged. To protect family members, stay away from all plumbing including toilets, sinks and faucets as the pipes of your house make excellent conductors. Severe weather in the form of powerful electricity and heat make lightning doubly dangerous. Your homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover damage from lightning. Your house has a greater chance of being hit on a hilltop than on a hillside. If that area has a tendency to be charged, that's due to the nature of the area. The other 80 percent usually suffer from severe burns and other, Best Of Mother Earth News: Heat Your Home For Free E-Book, Natural Cold Storage: Fresh Food in Winter, Keeping Crops Cool During Hot Weather: 13 Ways to Beat the Heat, Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. They don’t increase or decrease the chance of lightning striking your house; they just provide a path for the electricity to reach the ground more safely. Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST). This bolt of energy has neither rhyme nor reason to where it hits. That can be relevant in San Francisco. The highest concentration of lightning occurs in Florida. Lightning rods will not keep lightning from striking but will help direct it safely away from your home if properly installed. If lightning hits your house or nearby power lines, it can follow the wiring or phone lines into your home — ruining computers, TVs, stereos and other electronics. Ice particles must also be present for lightning formation. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. When lightning hits the ground, a tree, a tower or even a building, it doesn’t go straight down but usually spreads along the ground first, so being near something that’s struck by lightning is almost as dangerous as being hit directly by lightning. Lightning can damage the electronics, telephone and other systems in your house connected to an electrical outlet. Do not install a lightning rod yourself: find an electrician certified to install lightning systems. The lightening conductor is normally a thick strip of metal that being earthed in the ground offers a 'big temptation' for the lightening. The rods at the top of the building are only the first part of a good system. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only). Already a Member? You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues. A registered nurse, she has published various pieces, including web content, numerous newspaper and magazine articles and columns and six books. Carrie Cross has been writing for profit and pleasure for more than 35 years. Lightning rods protect a building from catching fire, not from electrical surges. Make sure your house is equipped with smoke and fire detectors. One of the most accepted theories is the separation of electrical fields within the cloud. However, terrain does play a part in where lightning strikes. Lightning also tends to travel across the ground, so if you’re considering planting trees in your yard, keep the taller ones at a safe distance from your house. Disconnect Internet, antenna and satellite-dish connections, even if your TV antenna is grounded (connected to the Earth by metal wires or cables so electricity has a quick path to the soil). But when lightning strikes, the electricity needs to move to the ground. If you look to the rooftops of some period buildings, you can see a row of sentinel-like lightning rods—often adorned with glass balls—stationed along the ridge, on chimneys, or atop turrets. To prevent this capricious element of nature from hitting your home is not always possible, but protecting your house is. Lightning rods do not attract lightning but do provide a path of least resistance if lightning hits your house. Stay off the phone as well. Sign in with your online account. Cables conduct electricity from the lightning rods to the ground stakes (buried metal rods), and each connection must be secure so lightning doesn’t jump to the building. What Appliances Can Be Connected to a Portable Generator? San Francisco is fortunate to be in one of the areas least hit by lightning strikes. But what you CAN do is … The easiest way to protect your appliances is to unplug them when you first hear the clap of thunder. But there are easy steps you can take to protect your home and property (and your life) from lightning. An invisible channel of negative ions from the cloud, called a step leader, reaches down to the positive ground ions as they reach up. Avoid using landline telephones and water (showering, washing your hands or dishes) during a storm. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. What Is a Hardwired Fire Alarm With a Fire Panel? The National Weather Service maintains that the mechanism of lightning creation is still unknown. Electricity follows wiring and metal pipes, but water also conducts electricity so you could be electrocuted if you’re touching water. Like to read more content, Join the Mother Earth News Community Today. Hi, thanks for stopping by. The lightening could strike your house and do damage. According to the National Weather Service, 4 percent to 5 percent of people struck by lightning were talking on their corded phones. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, San Francisco and most of the Pacific west coast receive the least amount of lightning flashes in the United States. Her background includes business, real estate, entrepreneurship, management, health and nutrition. Canadian Subscribers - Click Here Use a home lightning protection system One of the best ways for homeowners, in particular, to protect their homes from lightning is to install a home lightning protection system. The positive ions on the ground tend to climb up tall objects, such as telephone poles, trees and houses or collect in open areas, such as baseball fields and meadows. Here are four ways to protect your home from lightning: 1. In less than a microsecond a lightning discharge can generate upwards of 200,000 amps of … You may want to invest in a lightning system installed by a professional company that takes your entire house, surrounding structures and landscaping into consideration when grounding for lightning strikes. Register now to get access to ALL current video workshops and prerecorded webinars plus anything new that we add through the end of 2020. Prevent lightning damage with lightning rods. Some people love a great thunderstorm; others are petrified by the first flash of lightning or rumble of thunder. When this happens, anything — or anyone — in its path could be in danger. Add a lightning rod to your roof. (It actually functions as a lightning rod for surrounding buildings.). Lightning is so hot that fires caused by direct strikes are instantaneous. don't have an online You can't really stop lightning from hitting your house. And it can strike the same place twice: The Empire State Building is struck by lightning about 100 times each year. If you can see lightning or hear thunder, take cover! Ensure lightning rods are attached to your house’s roof securely and embedded in the ground by a cable. This can prevent the electric current from damaging your home. Lightning rods are not 100 percent effective in eliminating fires from lightning, but they reduce the likelihood of a lightning strike igniting the building. It can strike directly beneath the cloud that generates it or stretch 18 miles away. Surge protectors can help but are not fail-proof if the strike is a powerful one. Ways to Prevent Your House From Getting Struck by Lightning. About 20 percent of people who are struck by lightning are killed instantly. It’s been known to jump across an entire room (called side-flashing). Already a Member but How to Troubleshoot Household Electricity. Love ’em or hate ’em, thunderstorms produce lightning that is dangerous. You might want to consider protecting an entire building. A positive charge also develops on the ground below. LightningSafety.com: How to Protect Your House and Its Contents From Lightning, National Weather Service: JetStream - National School for Weather, NOAA National Severe Weather Laboratory: Severe Weather Primer, MotherEarthNews.com: How to Protect Your Home from Lightning, How to Protect Electrical Appliances From Lightning Strikes, How to Install Deep Cycle Batteries for Home Electricity. What Residential Electrical Circuits Have to Be Arc-Fault? Lightning hits the rods (instead of the building itself) because they’re higher than other points on the building. But one safeguard against electronics being “fried” by lightning is simply to unplug them whenever you’re expecting rain or a storm. 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