If you’ve not yet noticed, we have a special connection with lightning. Here’s why.
For certain, lighting is dangerous can cause home fires and wildfires. However, our fascination lies in how it is so similar to the tiny faults that are precursors to electrical fires inside the home. In fact, our chief scientist is a leading expert in the physics of lightning.
Lightning can strike up to 25 miles away from its ‘source’ storm.
So it’s true; if you see it or hear it, it’s time to seek shelter.
In that same vein – risks arising far from their source – an electrical fault originating on the electrical utility grid can have a big impact on the local area, and at the same time, create a safety issue inside your home.
An average instance of lightning lasts about a quarter of a second but consists of 3 to 4 strikes.
Each instance of lightning creates an invisible impulse of energy that travels around the world in less than a second. Inside the home, arc-like events that are precursors to electrical fires are equally ‘random’ in nature, generate the same type of impulse as lightning but much, much smaller – and travel incredibly fast over your home wiring (which means you need to be skillful and quick, like Ting, to detect them).
Fun Fact: The Ting sensor detects the invisible impulses from nearby lightning. TRY THIS: During the next storm – from a safe location in your home – open your Ting app and click on ‘Real-Time’, and watch the lower graph spike as the sky flashes. No need to be outside!!
Lightning Strikes and Future Risk of Electrical Fires
Aside from the characteristics it shares with tiny precursors to electrical fires, lightning can also exacerbate electrical fire incidents in the home long after it strikes. How? When lightning strikes a house it can often cause incredible irreversible stress and hidden damage across your home’s electrical wiring and components, stress that can lead to a higher risk of a hidden electrical fire developing in the future (as compared to an identical home that has not experienced a lightning strike).
More Similar Than Not
The precursors to electrical fires from arc faults in wiring and devices are essentially a microcosm of nature’s lightning. These insidious home fires originate from tiny lightning-like events whose intensity is an incredibly small fraction of what we find in the sky. And yet, they cause far more injuries and deaths than lightning strikes.
You can find useful tips about lightning safety – and about all things related to severe weather – at the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.