Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ride the Lightning

So, I get home from work last night, after a hair-raising (theoretically) ride home in the pouring rain to find out that apparently our house was struck by lightning. The Mrs. and the kids were home, and according to TheBoy it sounded like "someone dragging a dumpster down the street." The smoke alarms went off for a short while, but then stopped of their own accord.

As far as we can tell, the house suffered no damage that we could see. I ran a visual check of the roof line and didn't see any holes, missing shingles, or other evidence of damage. No major electrical damage appears to have occurred, either, with all major appliances accounted for and an intact fuse box.

I posted a quick note on Facebook and got a flood of comments and texts. Some were folks relating their own experiences with lightning strikes, which can blast holes in roofs, destroy home electronics, and/or fry home wiring. From all accounts we got off lightly, which makes me wonder if one of the neighboring houses got hit and we got a secondary blast.

Or, maybe, just this once we got lucky...

That is all.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

12 comments:

firedigger said...

As a retired fire marshal and fire investigator, I've found that homes that have endured a lightning strike usually have a lot of electronic equipment fail within a year after the strike. Almost anything with a circuit board tends to suffer. You might want to contact your insurance company and let them know what happened, and also contact a lightning data center to get an exact location of the strike for documentation purposes.

Anonymous said...

About 35 years ago I was watching the late, late show when the antenna tower was struck by lightning. The TV was instantly fried as the coax cable conducted part of the charge into the tuner.

There are a lot of computer controlled appliances in the modern house. Your fridge, microwave, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher and HVAC systems all have electronics that could be affected by a lightning strike or power surge.

A set of lightning rods, some copper cable and a ground rod might be a good investment.

Al_in_Ottawa

Dave H said...

Firedigger has a point. Most electronics today can have latent damage from voltage spikes. They'll continue to operate but will fail prematurely.

I'm glad the structure and the family are okay.

Stretch said...

Check your electrical panel(s). Depending on the age of your house there may be an in-line surge protector on the main. Have that replaced.
Secondary surge protectors (those in power strips and UPSes) should also be replaced.
Their like crash helmets. Once they've protected you once they've been compromised.

Anonymous said...

We had a lightening Strike in Maine once that blew the Phone off the wall and pretty much melted the insides of it.

and a near miss in the car that was close enough to mess up the idiot lights temporarily without causing permanent damage, which is why I don't lightening storms anymore.

Glad you didn't have a fire.

MrsSci-fi

Anonymous said...

+1 on shorten life of products.

I came home to find shingles on the deck. When I climbed up on the roof the was volley ball size hole and the smell of smoke.

My one flat screen TV and computer modem died, but the computer seemed fine. It died a month later.

Good luck,

Gerry

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

got a fireplace? Open the damper and see if debris falls out.

Anonymous said...

The dumpster dragging down the street sounds like a high resistance short circuit arcing (oxymoron alert). It happened to our electric range in 1970. Water dripping into the pushbutton-style burner controls caused a few second arc. Stopped and then more water caused a repeat about 10 minuts later. Third time there was smoke and and a small fire.

None of the arcs tripped the range circuit breaker.

Old NFO said...

Get your grounding checked, and yes notify insurance...

Daniel in Brookline said...

Wow. Glad you and the family are okay!

I'm no expert in this. But from what others are saying, if electronics can fail a short time later, this is probably an excellent time to back up hard drives and such.

Ruth said...

My parents had lightening strike the telephone pole immediately outside their house. The electricity followed the wires to the house. Blew every single surge protector in the house, and yup, over the next 6 months they had to replace a lot of the electronic stuff....

Ted said...

Also inspect any tall trees nearby. Look for a strip of peeled bark. Lightning hit one of our tall pines next to the house. The surge tripped a number of breakers in the house and the tree was dead within a year.