An often-overlooked danger in South Florida is lightning. Storms and squalls can develop quickly, with little warning, and contain a significant amount of lightning. Installing a lightning protection system conforms to the Florida Green Home Designation Standard and is now eligible to earn individuals a credit on their insurance. However, policy holders should verify that their insurer offers a discount or credits.
Lightning is the No. 1 cause of house fires in Florida. A lightning protection system that includes surge protection can cost an average of $1,500 to $2,500. The systems can also provide protection from lightning generated by wildfires. To be eligible for the credit, the system must be installed by a UL and LPI certified company. The company must be an actual dealer and contractor, not just a member of the organizations.
Lightning Protection Systems
With a lightning protection system, lightning rods are placed on the roof of the home. The rods are connected by wires to a piece of metal buried 10 feet underground. In the event of a lightning strike, the electrical energy is directed underground where it’s dissipated harmlessly. A surge arrestor is also installed in the electrical box to prevent the electrical surge generated by the lightning from entering the home’s internal wiring.
According to the National Lightning Data Network, Florida has the designation as the lightning capital of the U.S. The state averaged over 223 strikes per square mile in 2021 and some counties have recorded over 800 strikes per square mile. A structure doesn’t have to take a direct hit to sustain damage.
Even a nearby lightning strike can result in a surge that damages a home’s electrical system, appliances and electronic devices. The damage may not be immediately evident, but can eventually require the home to be completely rewired. There’s also an increased risk of shocks and fire as the electrical system continues to deteriorate.
Lightning protection systems are recognized as a form of security and/or weatherproofing mitigation measure for the perimeter of the home, but not all insurers provide credits or a discount on insurance rates. Individuals should check with their insurer.
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The Sena Group
6501 Congress Ave., Ste. 100
Boca Raton, FL 33487