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5 Foolproof Solutions To Prevent Lightning Damage In Your Home

Nov 14, 2023 | Life

It’s not uncommon in South Africa for people to be struck by lightning. In fact, according to some data released by the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences, lightning-related deaths make up most of South Africa’s weather-related fatalities. Yes, we’re lucky in that our country isn’t beleaguered by most natural disasters, including immense torrential rainstorms that occur in Asian Pacific countries or the tornados wreaking havoc in North America.

But we do have lightning to contend with.

While not all areas of South Africa experience the same levels of lightning strikes, the fact is that across the country, we are exposed to the danger of lightning strikes – and the ensuing damage these strikes cause.

With this in mind, we have gathered a few foolproof solutions to prevent lightning damage to your home.

It’s Not Cheap But It Works (Lightning Rods)

Lightning creates an incredible amount of power and heat, and one solution that’s frequently used by both residential and commercial buildings is the lightning rod system.

Lightning rods rely on Benjamin Franklin’s principle of grounding, whereby a metal rod is positioned at the top of your home and is connected to a copper wire that runs down to the ground. This wire links up with another metal rod that’s buried underground (hence the grounding), and it’s this system that safely redirects the lightning’s current into the ground and away from your home.

It has to be said that while lightning rods do prevent most surges and strikes to your home, it isn’t a fail-safe option. Realistically speaking, at certain voltages, lightning rods simply cannot divert all of that energy, and some may travel into your home.

It’s also worth noting that lightning rods need to be installed by a professional.

Surge Protective Devices (IT’s More Affordable)

There are certain types of devices, like surge protection plugs, which can be used to protect against over-voltage and fires, such as devices that you can install at your main electrical panel. There are also plugs which have surge protection built into them, helping to protect your electronic equipment when lightning strikes.

The plugs in particular are easily found in-store or online and are effortless to ‘install.’ Just keep in mind that surge protective devices aren’t always absolutely effective.

Unplug Your Electronics (The Humble, Free Solution)

A fantastically effective solution is to unplug any and all electronics in your home. This way, if lightning strikes your home (which it could do even if you have lightning rods), the electrical surge that *could* burn out almost any electronic equipment can’t actually do any harm to these items. Nor can it set off a spark that may ignite something in its nearby vicinity, causing a fire in your home.

Yes, this solution requires some effort and could be inconvenient, but it’s free and rather effective.

Don’t Overload Power Outlets (A General Rule)

Do what you can to avoid overloading the power outlets in your home. Particularly those outlets where you have appliances that use high amounts of electricity plugged in.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea not to have computers, laptops, widescreen TVs, Internet modems or routers plugged into the same power outlet. These are your top contenders that tend to use a lot of energy and have sensitive circuit boards, too.

Again, this is a free solution that only requires a bit of thoughtful planning and perhaps even the use of a power surge strip.

Install TVSS (It’s Absurdly Expensive But It Works)

A Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (TSVV) is a system designed to shut down all electronic equipment connected to the circuit board when a lightning strike or surge is detected. It is, quite frankly, an excellent prevention system that requires minimal input on your part.

That said, this is quite an expensive solution, and it requires a professional to do the installation.

Feeling Informed?

We trust that these tips will help you protect your home, but genuinely, lightning can strike at any time. In spite of your best efforts, it’s also very possible that a strike could damage your home. If that should happen, it’s best to know that you have the right buildings and home insurance to help you carry the financial burden.

Don’t forget that AA Inform is home to a range of useful tools and resources – including access to multiple car and home insurance quotes from the AA Insurance Supermarket and a Free Property Valuation Report.

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