Lightning Rods: Do They Really Work? - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Lightning Rods: Do They Really Work?

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by Heather Graf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - We've seen it happen time and time again this summer: homes struck by lightning, and then destroyed by the fire that follows.

Local lightning protection specialists say their phones have ringing constantly ever since lightning lit up the skies last week.

"Typically after a bunch of storms," said Jeff Jenkins with Power Com Solutions.  "We get  lot of activity.  People calling, asking what can they do for their home.  We find out what's most critical for them."

Jenkins says a lightning rod, oftentimes, can make a world of difference.  When properly installed, he says it can actually intercept a bolt of lightning, conduct it to the ground, and minimize damage.

At Trinity Church Of the Nazarene on Vultee Boulevard, the pastor says he has proof just how effective the rods can be.

"I think it served its purpose," Pastor Mike Proctor said, as he showed us the charred lightning rod that once sat on the top of his church's steeple.

The steeple was struck by lightning last Thursday.  It fell to the ground, but the rest of the building was unharmed.

"When the lightning struck, it went through the rod, and it was confined," he said.  "Otherwise, it could've just went out through the roof and set the whole roof on fire."

Jenkins agrees, and says there is a good chance it was in fact the lightning rod, installed in 1989, that saved the rest of the church.

Years ago, we often only saw lightning rods in rural areas.

Now, Jenkins says they are actually becoming much more common, on commercial buildings and in residential areas.  The cost of installation varies depending on the size of your home.

If you don't want to spend a lot of money, there are a few small steps you can take to protect your home.

Surge protectors are a good place to start, and unplugging your electronics during a storm can help as well.


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