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Lightning protection for homes/buildings Sign In/Join 
Picture of conrad
posted
Our 84 year old neighbor's house got hit with lightning about 10 days ago. LOTS of costly damage, electrical appliances, roof, gutter toppers, underground sprinkler system wires, and the list goes on. We live in an area of mostly ranch style homes and large mature trees. Although trees have gotten hit occasionally, this is the first major house issue I am aware of. (Actually her ginko tree was also affected, so maybe it started there and jumped to the house)

Going through all kinds of C-rap with her insurance company over this.

Curious for discussion. Do you have lightning rods or protection on your home, and how expensive was it?
 
Posts: 9615 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had it come through my phone line one year. Big ball of fire in kitchen and made a black spot on the wall. Scared the poo out of me.
 
Posts: 2213 | Location: Arkansas Zone 7 | Registered: Aug 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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It can do weird things to a home, for sure.

I would hate to buy a home that was struck by lightning in the recent past. So many issues with internal/wall wiring could be hidden...until a failure, short or even a fire resulted. The electrician told my neighbor she was lucky to not have water damage. She had a ground run to a water pipe in the basement and that switch was fried, plus the ground wire insulation was burnt. He said it was not unusual that this could cause a burst pipe.
 
Posts: 9615 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think part of the problem is that lightening rarely hits a house unless it is the tallest thing around. Most of the time it it enters the house through electrical wires, phone wires (these two being the most common) or through metal pipes. Tis usually happens from what I understand when it hits the tree or ground near by.

You can get whole house surge protectors though there is some debate on whether it is cost effective. Lightening rods as used by tall commercial buildings would likely also not be cost effective. Unless you have a tall house on a barren hill top.

These is just one of those wierd things that happen once in a great while. I feel sorry for your neighbor. Quite a mess.
 
Posts: 7032 | Location: North MN & Northern AR | Registered: Oct 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of KeepYouInStitches
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In another location, a neighbor's house on a hilltop was hit several times during the 24 years I lived beside her. Once I was standing by my back sliding patio door with my hand on the aluminum frame. Lightning hit my back fence (small acreage with barb wire fence). I felt it through the aluminum frame and jumped back.

A few years ago, I was walking down the hall when lightning hit CLOSE. I screamed and jumped about 3 feet. It had hit DHs Ham radio tower and came in the cable which he ALWAYS unplugs. The hole in the counter where the radio and computer cables come up was blackened around it. We kept smelling "electrical" so DH went up into the attic to look. He looked with the light on then I turned it off so that he could look for flame. It was just the ozone smell. The lightning knocked the rotor out of his tower (turns the antennae to the correct direction). Thank goodness that's all the damage!

There's been a lot of debate in the past as to whether lightning rods work or not. I don't know enough about them to answer that question but realize that most of the entities that say that they do work are those in the business of selling and/or installing them.
 
Posts: 17053 | Location: Daingerfield, TX | Registered: Feb 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of JoW
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Yes, they work. They are essential on a church steeple and on top of the tallest structure in a neighborhood. The issues is for houses.

For many houses the tallest object is a tree in the yard. Lightning will hit the tree, not the lightning rod or the house.

I've lost a tv and a washing machine to lightning. In both cases the lightning strike was to a power line. A lightning rod would not have helped.
 
Posts: 8610 | Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA | Registered: Oct 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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I am thinking you are all....right.
Even the whole house surge protectors are not without their issues, I have been reading. Even a very small surge in the power grid can sometimes cause everything electrical in your home to shut down at the main, and require resetting.

Will carry good insurance, and hope for the best.Wink
 
Posts: 9615 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of JoW
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Insurance won't restore the files you lost when your computer fried. It won't undo the inconvenience of being without a washing machine for a week. I keep my washer and dryer unplugged when they are not in use. The outlet where the TV was fried now holds an old tv that's on its last legs.

I have all of my computer components plugged into a single outlet strip. I have a quick-connect plug on the intermet cable. I can unplug the whole rig in less than 30 seconds. I unplug when I see a storm coming or when one is forecast for while I'm going to be at work.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: JoW,
 
Posts: 8610 | Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA | Registered: Oct 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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We do similar JoW.
DH backs up both our computers once a week to a separate hard drive and to each other. GOOD Surge protectors on all expensive electronics. And we also unplug things when we are gone for days.

I don't unplug the washer/dryer. That is just too much of a hassle for me.

Side note from all the recent storms:
We have not needed to check the gutters for most of the spring, as we have had so much rain to wash everything out. However I did go up yesterday, and discovered some broken corners on shingles plus some quarter size spots where all the grit was gone. We must have had some LARGE hail sometime this spring, so I made a claim. Insurance adjuster will call in the next couple of days to come and inspect the roof.
Ain't one thing, then it's another?Frown

This message has been edited. Last edited by: conrad,
 
Posts: 9615 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of JoW
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The plugs on my washer and dryer are above and behind the appliances. I can unplug in seconds.

I have covered gutter that divert the leaves while catching water. All of my hail this spring has been small, nothing larger than a nickle. But a guy I work with, his parents house is in Euhling, and it looks like someone loaded a machine gun with baseballs and shot at the house. Its so bad it was a background shot on one of the national news programs.
 
Posts: 8610 | Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA | Registered: Oct 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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Hail is just as unpredictable as lightning in its spread of damage. It can vary significantly in size and amount, from just a couple hundred feet away.

Our comprehensive home and auto insurance is SO much less in the mountains, and mostly seems due to the smaller size of any hail stones.
 
Posts: 9615 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of KeepYouInStitches
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Unplug - OH MY YES!

I unplug my computer and printer as well as my sewing machines. I have also turned the television power strip off much to the chagrin of DH who leaves his computer not only plugged in, but also on. Nuh-uh. Not me! With our insurance deductible so high, lightning could knock out the refrigerator, washer and dryer and still have deductible left over.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KeepYouInStitches,
 
Posts: 17053 | Location: Daingerfield, TX | Registered: Feb 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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