How to protect your home from a damaging lightning strike

by: Katie McKee Updated:


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Lightning can cause severe damage if it hits your home.

But sometimes, even when you don't get a direct hit, it can cause some serious problems.

Gary Hopkins has been working with American Electrical Contracting in Jacksonville for the last 15 years.

When hurricane season begins, he said the company's warehouse is overstocked with whatever crews may need to help people get their power restored.

“In the past few weeks since it has started we have had a lot of calls for surge protection and lightning protection,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said they are two very different ways to protect your home.

“Some houses do have lightning rods on them to protect them from lightning but those houses are few and far between (because) the systems are very expensive,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said lightning protection can cost thousands of dollars.

He says the route people usually lean toward is the use of surge protectors, which vary in size to accommodate the size of your home.

He recommends that people have a professional install them, adding that in his experience insurance companies are more likely to pay for damages that happen if there is proof.

Hopkins said there is also another simple step you can take when it’s storming.

“If you want to protect your flat screen TVs, your electronics, your microwaves, you unplug it from the wall. If you want to protect your AC systems, unplug the disconnects outside. It's a black box on the wall next to your AC system,” Hopkins said.

A massive tree was left twisted in one yard and a 400-pound transformer was left dangling from a power line after a storm in Arlington a few months ago. Hopkins said his crews have seen it all and it only takes a matter of seconds  to cause the damage.