How to protect your home when lightning strikes nearby

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When lightning strikes, nothing in its path is safe. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) When lightning strikes, nothing in its path is safe. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Tom Petteruti suggests buying a whole home surge protector that will absorb the electricity. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Tom Petteruti suggests buying a whole home surge protector that will absorb the electricity. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

When lightning strikes, nothing in its path is safe. A Mesa home was among several in the East Valley likely hit by lightning Tuesday night.

Every home nearby is at risk of the strike’s electric surge.

“When there’s a fault, it wants to find the easiest path to earth,” said Tom Petteruti.

[RELATED: Lightning possible cause for starting three house fires in the Phoenix-metro area]

Petteruti with Tap and Sons Electric said with lightning so common during our monsoon season, homes need protection to save appliances inside. That starts by having proper copper grounding and wiring, which older homes built before the 70s usually don’t have.

How do you know if your home is properly grounded? The outlet on your wall is a dead giveaway.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon 2018]

As long as you have three prongs, you’re good to go, but if you only have two, that’s a problem.

But it goes further than that. Petteruti suggests buying a whole home surge protector that will absorb the electricity.

“If you just protect the whole electrical panel, it protects everything,” said Petteruti “This will attract it and say, ‘Hey this is the easiest path to earth,’ so it’s not going in the home.”

[RELATED: House fire near Chandler may be lightning-caused, MCSO says]

He said they only cost about $400 but electric companies in the Valley aren’t selling many at all because people can’t physically see the risk.

“How many are you guys selling? Are you seeing these flying off the shelf?” asked Arizona's Family reporter Briana Whitney.

“We’re not. And we try to educate customers on why they should have it,” said Petteruti.

[SLIDESHOW: Lightning show from monsoon storm lights up Phoenix-area sky]

He said they generally only install lightning rods on commercial buildings because many HOA’s don’t allow for rods on roofs, and with technology so advanced, the small whole house surge protectors can protect just the same.

But it’s something to invest in now because a lightning strike won’t wait for you.

[RELATED: Late night monsoon storm lights up sky & possibly palm trees, brings rain to Mesa area]

If you are in an older home that only has a two-prong outlet, the proper wiring can be installed, but it will cost a pretty penny, somewhere between $6,000 to $10,000. 

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

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Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMY awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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