Even if you don’t understand the science behind lightning, you likely know that it can cause a lot of damage. If your home happens to stand between the charges that create lightning bolts, they could complete their path through your Huntington, WV, home. The roofers at Maycon Construction Services has years of experience fixing what Mother Nature destroys—call us today at 304-208-8978 to discuss your options.
Lightning is attracted to conductive materials such as electrical wiring and metal. A stray bolt can quickly send one billion volts of electricity through your home. Starting at the highest point, then traveling through the water pipes, wiring, and rods to connect with the ground, lightning causes severe damage as it goes. In most cases, your home will require extensive repairs or a complete roof replacement after a lightning strike.
The Hazards of a Residential Lightning Strike
While a professional lightning protection system can prevent lightning damage to your home, most houses don’t have one. Lightning strikes are fairly rare and the systems are expensive. So, if your home is hit, you’ll likely have to deal with at least one of the following issues:
- Fire – Lightning’s electrostatic charge is incredibly hot and will burn through materials like insulation and roof trusses. Once they catch on fire, your whole house could end up in flames, leaving you with a huge mess.
- Power Surge – When lightning travels through your electrical wiring, the surge can damage or destroy your electronics and appliances. This may happen even if most of the current takes other paths to the ground. Your wiring won’t be able to withstand the charge and your home will lose power.
- Shock Wave – Just like the thunder it causes in the sky, lightning will create a shock wave when it hits your home. At close range, these waves can destroy your roof, breaking off shingles or chimney bricks, tearing off gutters, and even damaging the structure of your home.
Just because structures don’t contain pipes or wiring doesn’t mean they are completely immune to a lightning strike. Lightning can travel through a nonconductive fishing or hunting cabin just as easily as it travels through the air. If you’re caught in one of these structures during a storm, you should seek safer surroundings and come back to inspect for damage later.
Keeping Your Family Safe From Lightning
The best thing you can do during a storm is to keep your family away from anything conductive. Lightning follows a path through pipes and wiring. Avoid doing things like using wired appliances or phones, playing video games, using the computer, doing dishes, or taking a bath or shower. Wireless devices like your cell phone, remote, or cordless phone are still safe to use.
Lightning can also travel through earth and damp concrete. Avoid direct skin contact with these surfaces by wearing shoes if you have to go into the garage, basement, or patio.
Signs That Lightning Has Struck Your Home
Lightning usually leaves noticeable evidence behind. Some common signs of a lightning strike include:
- Power outage
- Sparks or fire
- The stink of smoke or melting plastic
- Structural damage
- Buzzing or humming noises
While you may notice these after the fact, if you are home when the strike happens, you’ll likely know it was hit because of the proximity of light and sound. If you believe your home was hit, call for assistance.
What You Should Do After a Lightning Strike
If there doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger, you should do the following:
- Check electronics, landlines, light switches, circuit breakers, and power outlets for burn marks and make sure they still work.
- Check your water pipes for leaks and run the taps to check your water pressure.
- Call a professional roofing company to check the roof for hidden damage.
If you hear a noise that suggests an electrical short circuit or see sparks or fire, you should immediately contact your local fire department or electrician. If your home sustained heavy damage, call the fire department even if you don’t see evidence of a fire. Sometimes flames start inside walls or other hidden areas and aren’t immediately apparent.
Preparing and Repairing Your Home
A well-grounded, professionally installed lightning protection system can reduce or eliminate the threat of fire and injury from a direct strike. At Maycon Construction Services, we can help you weigh the risk and cost against the benefits such a system would provide.
If your Huntington, WV, home has already been hit by lightning and caused fire or shock wave damage to your roof, call Maycon Construction Services today at 304-208-8978. We’ll inspect the damage and give you a free, no-obligation estimate. Contact us for all of your roof repair service needs.