top of page

Lightning Doesn't Have To Strike Your House To Cause Serious Damage

Updated: Jan 6

Lightning in night sky with home in foreground with lights on inside

You may have heard the maxim, "When thunder roars, go indoors." Inside you'll undoubtedly be safer

yourself, but your home is always at risk, even if a strike is a mile away. In fact, Richard Kithil of the National Lightning Safety Institute says indirect lightning strikes are 2000 times more likely to cause "mischief" than a direct strike.

Lightning is the most consistent weather killer on earth. It kills more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods. Each year, approximately 24,000 around the world are killed by lightning. Another 24,000 are struck and injured but survive.

In the United States, only three out of 10 people struck by lightning die. The immediate cause is a heart attack. More often than not, lightning flashes over the outside of a victim. The heat and percussion of the strike, however, can cause serious injuries.

We all know not to use water during a thunderstorm, stay away from windows, and get off the phone. But here's how lightning can damage your home even if there isn't a direct strike.

How Lightning Travels Into Your Home

Invisible Fences

In western Virginia, a homeowner installed an invisible fence system to contain her golden retriever. During a lightning storm, a bolt struck the ground in a next-door neighbor's yard. The current traveled through water in the ground and was absorbed by the wiring used in the invisible fence. That current then traveled into the home, "frying" TVs, stereo systems, the AC unit, appliances, and more. The total cost to repair the damage was well into the five figures.