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What to Do When Lightning Strikes Your Home and How to Protect It From Future Strikes

Storms are often powerful and unpredictable, so you retreat to your home for comfort and safety. Unfortunately, your home is not always safe from the elements of nature. Lightning strikes homes on a regular basis. Sometimes the damage is minor, and other times, homes are destroyed.

Lightning always seeks a quick route to the ground. When it strikes your home, it flows along your plumbing and electrical wiring on its way to the earth. The damage to your wiring, appliances and electrical equipment can be substantial.

When you're jolted from the couch by the boom of lightning striking your house, you may wonder what you should do. Knowing the following steps in advance will help you be prepared when nature strikes.
Call the Fire Department Due to the Risk of Electrical Fire
Getting your family out of the house is the primary concern after a lightning strike. Fire is a real danger, and you may not have much time to gather your kids and pets and head for the door. Once you're safely away from the house, call 911 and report the incident.

Don't think you're safe from the fire because one doesn't break out right away. When lightning travels along electrical wires and burns through walls, it heats them up tremendously. They may burst into flames right away, or the intense heat may smolder and develop into a slow burn.

Don't enter your home until the fire department gives permission. Firefighters use thermal equipment to check for hot spots of intense heat between the walls and in your attic that could start to burn later. The fire department may also turn off the power to your house until you can have the wiring inspected by an electrician.

Chances are your power will be out anyway after a lightning strike. Once the initial emergency is over, call your insurance agent. Your homeowner's policy may cover damage from lightning, and you should know the details before you hire contractors to repair damage to your home, which might include roof damage, attic damage, electrical and plumbing damage, and smoke or water cleanup.
Call an Electrician to Assess the Damage
The first step in restoring your home is to have an electrical inspection. During an inspection, the electrician will locate melted or destroyed wires that needs to be replaced. There might also be outlets blown out of the wall that need to be repaired, and your circuit panel outside may be destroyed.

Severe damages will be obvious to the eye. However, subtle damage may not be as noticeable. Your electrician will perform various tests with specialized tools and equipment to show whether your wiring and electrical system are working as they should, even if nothing appears to be damaged.

Lightning has an amazing amount of electrical energy. It is many times more powerful than your home is designed to handle. However, it is unpredictable as well. Your oven may be destroyed, but the refrigerator next to it spared.

When there is a direct hit of lightning to your home, it's possible that many of the appliances and electronics in your home will be destroyed. It can happen even when you have them plugged into surge protectors since a direct hit of lightning is so strong.
Prevent Future Problems by Protecting Your Circuit Panel
Now that you know what lightning can do and who you should contact when your house is hit, you probably want to know how to protect your home and belongings. If you're home, unplug electronic equipment such as televisions and computers when a storm approaches.

Remember that lightning will travel along any line that comes in your home, whether it is for electricity, the phone, or cable. Talk to an electrician about installing a whole-house surge protector to stop a powerful surge before it flows through your lines. It is attached to your circuit panel and offers better protection than individual surge protectors, although you may want to use those in conjunction with the whole house unit.
While protecting your wiring, electronics, and appliances is important, the safety of you and your family is paramount. Stay away from electrical equipment during a storm. Don't use your computer, and don't use water, since lightning travels through plumbing pipes too.

If you want to protect your home from lightning or if you need an inspection and repair after a lightning strike, contact Nicotri Electric Inc for prompt, expert service.