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Be Prepared: Lightning Strikes at Your Home or Business

During a thunderstorm, you may be thinking about how to keep your children or pets from being scared by thunder. But have you considered how to keep your house safe from a potential lightning strike? Today we’ll look at a real-life example of a lightning strike on a home in West Michigan and the steps we took to minimize this risk in the future.

This fall, one of our clients suffered spectacular damage from a lightning strike on their home. The surge came through the sprinkler system and irrigation control box, completely frying the outlets in their garage. Part of the garage caught fire after some wires burned up.

The voltage blew apart valves on the control line, blasted the irrigation controller off the wall, and sent fragments of plastic and metal into the car parked inside. There were rocks, dirt, and materials flying everywhere—in addition to the dangerous voltage.

Inside the home, the living room dimmer switches exploded. Screws from the switch plate flew across the room and scratched their TV. There was a lot of damage to repair, but thankfully no one was injured.

Amy, the homeowner, was inside the house when it happened. “It’s kind of a miracle that no one was hurt,” she said. “I called the fire department first, and then we called Butler Electric. Bryan came out really quickly and got everything fixed enough so that I didn’t need to leave the house.”

When Butler Electric came in, we were able to restore enough power so Amy could stay at home. Then our team worked on rewiring the whole garage. Amy said, “I have nothing but positive words about Butler Electric. They came out quickly, they were on time, and worked quickly. They were very polite and Bryan communicated really well.”

Lightning bolts can vary in intensity. When they strike near a home, it’s often because they hit the shallow phone or irrigation control line running through a yard.

We recently returned to Amy’s house to add a whole-house surge protector. This type of equipment blocks a surge of voltage from entering a home circuit. This helps provide more complete lightning protection and surges from other events, such as a downed power line.

Some companies specialize in lightning protection systems. They might place rods and mesh to help deflect the voltage away from your home if a lightning strike does occur. Another tool to consider is a generator, so that if a power outage does happen, you can keep the lights on and essential services running.

We’re so grateful that Amy and her family were safe, and we were able to help resolve their situation quickly. You can’t stop the storm from coming through, but you can prepare for it. Contact us with any questions on lightning safety or other electrical projects.


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