Protecting your home from lightning

Lightning is a common occurrence here in the Lowcountry, especially during the summer months (Josh Braunreuther/WCIV)

By Sonya

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's Lightning Safety Awareness Week across the country and experts are trying to inform people that lightning is not only a danger to you, but also to your home.

In Mt. Pleasant alone, there is an average of 12 house fires a year caused by these electrical storms.

Lightning is a common occurrence here in the Lowcountry, especially during the summer months. It is an awesome sight from a distance, but up close can cause major damage -- over $5 billion in the U.S. every year.

"It's just an added way to protect your home and your family and things that can not be replaced by insurance," said Christina Schulz with SC Lightning Protection.

This demo shows how a few safety features can go a long way.

"So what's going to happen is the lightning is going to come down, it's going to strike the lightning protection system, it's going to be safely transported through your lightning protection system to the ground," said Schulz.

These options may come at a hefty price, but it may be a price worth paying.

"It's not exactly cheap but your insurance may offer a co-pay or may offer a lower premium on your home, since you're adding that added fire protection to your home," said Schulz. "I mean 5,000 to 9,000 dollars seems really small when you think about your laptop computers, your desktop computers all your electrical appliances in your home -- your refrigerator, your microwave, your TV, your DVD player -- all these things that are plugged into our home that can be easily damaged by a lightning strike."

Lightning strikes the tallest object, and in an open field it would strike a tree, but trees around your home won't protect it from getting struck. The lightning is attracted to the wiring in your home.

When thunder roars, you go indoors, but is your house really as safe as it could be? It's definitely something to consider the next time you're in a storm.

The cost of insurance claims for lightning damage increased 28 percent from 2004 to 2008.