Did you know that lightning bolts:
- Are up to 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun?
- Travel at 300 million km/h?
- Are the width of a human thumb?
These striking facts just reinforce what we already know: that lightning is very frightening indeed!
So it’s no wonder that lightning strikes can do significant damage to any home that’s unfortunate enough to be struck.
Therefore, it’s important to know exactly what to do on the off-chance your home does get struck by lightning.
Today, our emergency electricians in Melbourne explain what you need to do when your home gets struck by lighting.
So what happens when this awesome force of nature hits your home?
What happens when your home gets hit by lightning?
The voltages involved are immense – they’re so big in fact, that a single lightning strike could power a whopping 56 houses for a full day.
Needless to say, you can’t have that much energy flow through your home without suffering some damage to your structure and electrical systems and circuits along the way!
When lightning strikes your home, it doesn’t go straight down – rather, it bounces between conductive materials. For example, lightning may hit your roof, before jumping to electric lines for lighting before riding a downpipe to the ground.
Lightning can bounce between:
- Wires and data cabling
- Appliances that are plugged in
- Circuitry and phone lines
- Gutters and downspouts
- Metal window frames
And we haven’t even gotten started on the physical damage a lightning strike can result in!
1) Fire damage
Lightning strikes tend to land on your roof first. And since most homes are still built using wooden frames and rafters, this poses a problem.
That’s because wood and other flammable building materials can easily be ignited when directly exposed to lightning.
Another risk is that when lightning passes through your electrical wiring, it can burn them up.
This creates another fire ignition hazard, which is why we recommend not touching any appliances or using any appliances until you receive the all-clear..
2) Shock wave damage
No matter how structurally strong your house is, lightning is stronger.
The sheer power of a lightning strike can create a shock wave that can smash bricks, chimney, stone, and concrete. Holes in roofs and walls are a common consequence of a direct hit from a lightning strike.
When lightning strikes, we strongly recommend staying away from windows, as lightning is known to smash windows!
3) Power surge damage
Lightning strikes love travelling down your electrical circuits. That’s because electrical circuitry is designed to conduct electricity.
And since lightning is fundamentally electricity, it’s no wonder it’s drawn to your circuitry!
The thing is, very few domestic appliances or circuits are designed to handle that much capacity. As a result, the immense power can wreck electrical wiring, appliances, and devices, causing burning, melting and worse.
And you can also say goodbye to many appliances that were connected at the time of the lightning strike!
While modern electronics are much more capable than in the past, they’re also much more sensitive. And unfortunately, very few are capable of surviving a lightning strike.
To check your electrical system and appliances checked following a lightning strike (or any other power surge for that matter), we suggest calling an electrician in Melbourne immediately.
The first thing to do when your home gets hit by lightning…
… stay safe!
Your first priority when your house is struck by lightning is make sure that everyone is safe.
Once every member of the family is accounted for, get out and ring Triple Zero (000) and tell them your house has been struck by lightning.
The fire brigade will come to your property and assess the area for damage.
In addition to looking for signs of smoke or fire in your home, they’ll also use equipment like heat sensors and thermal imaging to identify burning tucked away inside your wall cavities.
Once the firefighters give you the all-clear, you’ll want to get in touch with your insurance company.
Finally, you should have your electrical system inspected for damage by a licensed and certified emergency electrician in Melbourne.
How to tell if your home was hit by lightning while you were out
Normally, it’s pretty easy to tell if your home has been struck by lightning – it’s hard to miss that new hole in your roof!
But what happens if you were lucky enough that your home didn’t suffer any immediately visible physical damage?
In these cases, don’t worry – as long as you remember these following telltale signs, you’ll be able to recognise a lightning strike and stay safe:
- Loss of power
- A strong buzzing sound
- Sparks or fire
- Structural damage in your property
- Smokey smell
- Melted plastic or wires
How to protect your home from lightning
You never know when lightning might strike – if the weather forecast predicts an intense lightning storm later on in the evening, we suggest:
- Unplug any non-essential appliances and devices
- Save data and files in cloud storage and make sure you have backups (this is good advice in general!)
- Stay away from common pathways (pipes, wiring)
- Try to avoid taking a shower or using wired appliances
- Stay away from windows
If you hear thunder claps getting louder and louder, we strongly recommend taking each of these precautions. When it comes to lightning, you can never be too safe!
Need an emergency electrician due to bad weather?
Lightning, storms, heavy rains, and thunder – there are just some things that one cannot control.
That said, you can control what happens afterwards!
Whether it’s a lightning strike or any other type of emergency, you’ll want to be as safe as possible. Every precaution should be taken when lightning strikes are involved.
That means not using any electricity until you’ve been given the go-ahead by an emergency electrician in Melbourne.
The sparkies at Briggs Electrical know that lightning strikes don’t operate on a fixed schedule – they can occur at any time.
That’s why we’re available anytime!
After-hours, weekends, public holidays – our emergency electricians in Melbourne are en route immediately. Your safety is paramount, which is why we make it our mission to get to you ASAP, no matter where you are in Melbourne.
Once we’re there, we’ll perform a thorough electrical inspection that assesses the potential damage from bad weather, as well as the risk to you.