How to Prevent Lightning Damage to Your Home: Tips and Advice
Kelly Ohlmus

How to Prevent Lightning Damage to Your Home: Tips and Advice

Learn how to prevent and minimise lightning damage to your home during thunderstorms. Find out how to ensure that your electrics can withstand high voltages, unplug electronics and appliances, and keep external doors and windows shut to limit damage to your property.

Recent thunder and lightning storms across Ireland have resulted in near-unprecedented damage to Irish homes and to individuals over the last few weeks. It may well be a taste of things to come, with many scientists predicting that climate change will result in hotter temperatures for Ireland and an increase in such weather events.

So as a homeowner, what can you do to prevent lightning strikes to your property or, if it happens, minimise potential damage? Here we provide a few tips on the most important things to consider:

Preventing lighting and thunderstorm damage through home improvements

If your home is one of the unfortunate ones to take a lightning hit, it must have adequate lightning protection installed by a qualified professional. Sometimes called lightning conductors, this can involve installing a system of copper rods connected to grounding wires that will provide an escape route for electricity and help protect your home from an electrical surge. Often it is placed at the highest point of your home on the roof, or chimney. Get a quote from a qualified electrician to see how much this will cost.

Again, if your home does get hit by lightning, it's important to ensure the electrics can withstand the high voltages that such a strike will deliver. To do this you'll need to review the wiring in your home - particularly for older homes that precede current building regulations - and upgrade any outdated wiring that may not be able to handle the high voltage of a lightning strike. Again, you'll need an electrician to make this assessment in your home.


Preventing damage to your home during thunder and lightning storms

In the event of a lightning storm, the key is to prevent or limit damage wherever possible. To do this you should unplug all electronics and appliances during a thunderstorm, as power surges caused by lightning strikes can severely damage them. Similarly, disconnect any external antennas or satellite dishes from the TV set before a thunderstorm. Installing surge protectors on plug sockets or cable gangs can also assist here.

It's important also that all external doors and windows remain shut during such a storm, as open entrances could provide a direct access route for lightning to enter the house.

This month, we read about a rare but unfortunate event wherein a homeowner was struck by lightning while using her kitchen sink. Although she luckily survived, her experience teaches us a valuable lesson - during thunderstorms, it's important to steer clear of metal objects that could serve as conductors of electricity. These objects include plumbing fixtures, radiators, and electrical appliances. Stay safe and stay informed!


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