CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you were watching WBTV News this past week you probably saw a story about a home here in Charlotte that had been struck by lightning and sustained major damage. And this is the second time this house was hit by lightning in the past five years.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 4,300 homes house fires are started by lightning every year!
Even if your home doesn't catch fire, a lightning strike can still damage or destroy sensitive electronic devices in your home such as computers, TV's, audio equipment and more. If the idea of lightning striking your house keeps you awake at night, you have options. One possibility is installing lightning rods.
It seems like you can never talk about lightning without bringing Ben Franklin into the conversation. Sure enough, after his famous (and incredibly dangerous) kite experiment, Ben Franklin is credited with designing the earliest lightning rod concept.
In simple terms, a lightning rod is a metal rod - typically with a pointy end - affixed to the top of your house. The rod is connected to a conductor which is installed down the side of your house and into the ground. The shape of the rod is designed to encourage positive electrical charges to build up in response the negative charges which typically build up around the base of a thunderstorm.
Thus the lightning discharge is much more likely to strike the rod and guide all the current down through the conductor and harmlessly into the ground.
Just Google 'Lightning Rods' and you'll see ads popping up for installers.
For a deeper discussion about lightning rods, click here.