Is lightning protection required in Florida?

lightning over house

Lightning Protection System

Lightning can be dangerous; one bolt has so much electrical energy that it can cause a surge or fire in your home, and is actually the number one cause of fires in many states. Some states are more prone to lightning damage than others. For example, Florida is often referred to as the lightning capital due to the amount of tropical storms that hit the state. In 2020, lighting cost over 2.1 billion dollars in insurance losses in Florida. Additionally there were more than 70,000 lighting damage claims last year in the US. The average cost per claim is around $30,000.

Many Americans believe only tall buildings are at risk for lightning damage. While tall buildings are at a higher risk, there are other factors to consider. Location is a big factor, as mentioned earlier, some states are prone to experience lightning more often. The material of the home can also increase risk. For example, wood, concrete and masonry can increase your vulnerability to lightning. Metal roofs are less likely to catch on fire compared to wooden roofs. You also should consider the environment. If your home is isolated, it can increase your chances of lightning strikes. If you are at any risk, it is a good idea to install a lightning protection system. 

Do lightning rods on houses really work?

Lightning rods were invented by Ben Franklin. For more than 200 years, lightning rods have helped homeowners avoid disastrous situations. They work by intercepting lightning and re-routing it to the ground. They do not prevent lightning from striking, but they do prevent surges and fires. However, in southeastern states they do not work as well because of the dry sandy soil. Without additional protection, lightning rods alone are not enough to prevent damage.

What is surge protection & lightning protection?

Surge protection and lightning protection minimizes the chances of potential damage from lighting. Surge protection prevents damage to your equipment by monitoring the voltage in the currents. If the voltage is too high, it diverts it to the ground. There are two kinds of surge protection: whole home and point of use. Whole home surge protection guards against internal and external power surges. The cost can range from $150 to $750 dollars. There are many factors that play a role in the cost, such as location. These have to be professionally designed. While this may seem pricey, it is more affordable than replacing all appliances/devices due to lightning damage. Point of use surge protectors are for one or more specific appliances. They are installed between the chosen appliance and the wall outlet. They can be found at stores for a price range between $20- $150. However, with some appliances such as a refrigerator and washing machines, it is not recommended to use a point of use surge protector. A better solution would be a whole house surge protector.

Surge protection alone is not enough. A complete lighting protection system is the best choice to make. They include lightning rods, surge protection, conductors and more. The cost of installing a lighting protection system varies on the size of your home, the height of your roof and the number of rods you need. You should have a comprehensive electrical inspection with an electrician to discuss these factors. The range of cost for a lighting protection system ranges from $400 to $2,000. This price includes material and labor. Some locations may require you to get a permit, which may increase the cost.

How do I make my house more lightning proof?

As mentioned above, the best thing to do is to install a complete lightning protection system. Speaking to a licensed electrician can help you decide what your home needs.The only way to ensure complete lightning protection is to unplug any devices or appliances during a storm. However, this option is not always feasible. Installing surge protectors will help protect equipment without having to unplug everything. Lastly, you want to review your insurance policy. Not all policies cover lightning damage to your home and devices. 

Protect your House from Lightning

Palmer Electric has served Central Florida continuously since 1951. We provide professional surge protection installation in Orlando, FL. We will ensure that your home is properly grounded and the system is installed correctly so you and your appliances are protected during the next storm. We also service Osceola, Seminole, Volusia, Brevard and Lake County for whole house surge protection. Contact us to set up an appointment, or call us at (407) 646-8700 for more information about surge protection installation.

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