Most of us are aware of the awesome power of Mother Nature, and never has this power been more frighteningly demonstrated than through lightning. A bolt of high-voltage electricity can not only injure or kill your loved ones, but it can also wreck your roof, especially if your home lacks the proper protection. Let’s examine how lightning strikes can disable your property.
Seeking a Path to Ground
While lightning sometimes seems to have a malevolent mind of its own, it’s really just the result of a thunderhead becoming charged with electricity as air masses within it rise and fall. The positive charge of the earth attracts a lightning bolt from a cloud that has developed a negative charge. The lightning mindlessly seeks a path to ground, which may cause it to strike the first object it encounters en route. If that object is the top of your house, what happens next depends partly on whether you have a lightning rod and other grounding devices attached.
If the lighting bolt hits the lightning rod, it’s found its path to ground and will follow it along whatever highly-conductive devices you’ve installed to guide the charge away from the flammable parts of your home. If it strikes the roof, it can easily blast the shingles off and ignite the wooden beams underneath, causing a major house fire. If it hits the chimney, it may send bricks flying everywhere — including onto your roof, possibly knocking holes in it while also wrecking your gutters. The lightning doesn’t even have to hit your roof to damage it, especially if your home is surrounded by trees that can be struck and knocked over.
If your house is not equipped with lightning arresters and other grounding devices, then the energy may travel randomly through the home’s other conductive networks, including electrical wiring, data cables, and phone lines. This erratic path can cause fires and circuit burnouts throughout the home, not to mention putting occupants at risk of electrocution.
What Can You Do?
Employing a preventative attitude against lightning strikes could make the difference between a minor scare and a full-scale roof replacement. Protect your home by equipping it with a chimney-mounted lightning rod. This rod in turn should be connected to a series of conductive cables and surge arresters, with the entire system terminated at a second rod and/or water pipe in the ground.
If you have wooden shingles, consider replacing them with Class A fire-resistant fiberglass/asphalt shingles or clay tiles. If lightning strikes your home, search vigilantly for any signs of smoke or charring in the attic, on the roof, or along walls, and monitor your electronic devices carefully for any signs of damage.
Keep in mind that the same storms that hurl lighting bolts at your roof may also cause sufficient damage to require roof replacement or repairs. High winds can rip shingles away, while hailstorms can damage your gutters — which in turn makes your roof more vulnerable to water damage from heavy rain. Give serious thought to having your roof and gutters examined by a qualified professional such as Moonworks. If the damage is already done, you’ll rest easier knowing that you have skilled roof repair experts already on the case. Either way, call 1-800-975-6666 and take the necessary steps to make your roof stronger and safer than ever!