Lightning effect on electrical appliances

Lightning sends large electrical surges, or ‘spikes’, into electrical appliances; the electrical appliances cannot withstand the electrical surge and ‘burn out’. The effect is similar to a high wind blowing the roof off a house; the roof can withstand a gentle breeze but not a tornado.

Nearby strikes can find their way into a home through pipes or wiring. A lightning strike can start a fire. It can ignite any flammable material it hits, or it can start a fire if it travels through exposed wires. As soon as it’s safe to, you should look for smoke, a burning smell, char marks and actual fire in your roof, your attic or anywhere else in the building. Once inside the home, a surge from a lightning strike can cause a fire in the wiring behind walls or in ceilings and damage sockets, switches, fixtures, electronics and appliances. Damage to wiring within walls can be very costly to determine. However, a direct or very close lightning strike can destroy ANY electric appliance, electronic or non-electronic, if the large lightning current flows through them. Lightning current can burn up wires inside appliances, motors, and household electrical circuits.

Storms and strikes. Though not the most common cause of circuit breaker tripping, storms can certainly do it. We recommend looking into whole-home surge protection systems to prevent this, as well as to protect vital and high-cost home appliances.

According the the Lightning Protection Institute, a protection system is a combination of highly conductive copper and aluminum materials used to provide a low resistance path to safely ground lightning’s dangerous electricity. “strikes cost millions in homeowners insurance losses.” If you live in a very tall home, have trees taller than your home less than 10 feet away from its structure, or live in an area with a high lightning strikes, however, installing a lightning rod is recommended.

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