What happens when lightning hits a house? A 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. A bolt of lightning is damaging enough on its own. It can puncture a roof, sear the surrounding materials, and tear through attics. … This bolt of energy doesn’t just travel, it can ignite anything that it touches. And if it travels through wiring, the damage can cause an electrical fire from exposed wires anywhere in the house.
How likely is it for a house to get struck? About 1 in 200 houses are struck every year. Various factors can affect your level of risk, including whether there are higher structures nearby (metal light poles can have a protective effect), the local climate, etc. It can travel through electrical systems, radio and television reception systems, and any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Equip your home with whole-house surge protectors to protect your appliances.
Does my house need a lightning-rod? 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 rate of strikes, however, installing a lightning-rod is recommended. Do you need a lightning-rod on a metal roof? In most situations, it is not necessary to install lightning-rods on your metal roof. Lightning strikes to homes are rare. If your roof is the highest point of a surrounding area, you may consider having a lightning-safety-system installed on your home.
Use the 30/30 rule! Go indoors if you see a strike and can’t count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.