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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    87
    Location
    Vassalboro, Maine
    Tractor
    1981 Ford 1200

    Default Lightning strike

    On Saturday afternoon my brother-in-law and I were mowing and doing some other tractor work and got in the house just in time to beat a major down pour and electrical storm. I was washing up at the bathroom sink and talking with the brother-in-law when we saw a white flash and my hand in the water got shocked. It was just enough to send a pain through my hand and a tingle through the rest of my body. While we were talking about what had just happened we stepped into the kitchen and saw another flash along the island counter top. There are electric outlets along the counter. A circuit breaker was broken. Broken and will not reset. I replaced it and reset the GFI on the kitchen counter and now everything is working. I assume we were hit by lightning, maybe twice. My question is where did the electricity come into the water supply and then the electrical system? Could it come through the well water? Is there anything I should be looking to change such as grounding or just look at it as a freak of nature? Anybody ever had this happen?
    Maineiac

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,368
    Location
    N.E. KY
    Tractor
    Century 3035

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    What is the pipe that runs form the house to the well made of? IF its copper then there's the conductor for the electric into the water. Heck, a plastic pipe probably isn't going to slow lightining down too much. As for the breaker, it was probably a hit on the power pole nearby. I've had this happen before, but it didn't fry the breaker but some X-10 switches and a dimmer were shot. I've also had lightning hit the telephone lines and have lost 2 modems and an answering machine.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member gotrocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    769
    Location
    Phenix City Alabama
    Tractor
    B-2910 delivered 8/23/01

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    Ah yes brings back memories from high school days (40's). We lived on place with a dug well and a pump in pit by the well. During thunder storms I remember standing on the screen porch and watching the stand water pipe that came through the screen over the old steel sink that had a drain back to ground. Looked like Dr. Frankenstein between the stand pipe and the sink. Zap, zap.......

    Then in the 60's had a strike on pecan tree. It ran down the tree and hit the shallowell pump, went (along the roots??) to my under ground elec. and water lines to shop in the back yard. Burst the PVC water pipe. Ran into shop and back to main in house. Shattered two breakers, shattered a switch on saw in the shop plus a few other things. We have low voltage "touch plate" system in the house and none of that was affected. Thank goodness.

    Glad you were not injured. That must have been nerve racking to say the least.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    87
    Location
    Vassalboro, Maine
    Tractor
    1981 Ford 1200

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    The pipe from the well is plastic with copper supply through the house. There is a ground post outside at the electric service and meter. I don't think there is a ground on the copper water pipes inside. I did not find anything that looks burnt or charred no even the breaker.
    We are have had an unusual number of storms this summer. Unlike Kentucky and other parts of the country, thunder and lightning storms do not happen often in Maine. Back home in Ky. we sat out on the porch and watched the show on many summer evenings but we were never hit. I grew up in the suburbs and now live out in the country. Maybe that's the difference. I had a metel roof put on the house recently and wonder if that makes any difference?
    Thanks for the thoughts.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,373
    Location
    Goffs Corner, KY
    Tractor
    IH 2444

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    Do you have an electrical water heater ? If so does it still work properly ? I have found that lightning will come in on the power line and arc over to the plumbing thru the electric water heater elements, damaging them.
    Also a garbage disposal might provide a jump over path for the lightning to jump from the power to the plumbing.


  6. #6
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    87
    Location
    Vassalboro, Maine
    Tractor
    1981 Ford 1200

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    The water heater is propane and we don't have a garbage disposal. I did a quick internet search on lightning. Of course I found that electrical and plumbing systems are the most likly entrance points and carriers in a house. The site did not give information about how to protect against strikes and damage. It did say stay away from water during a storm.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,373
    Location
    Goffs Corner, KY
    Tractor
    IH 2444

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    One thing I have learned over the years is that lightning pretty much does what it wants to do.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,427
    Location
    Central Ma.
    Tractor
    7275 Cub Cadet

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    It sounds like the lightning strike was real close to your house. It doesn't matter what you have for pipes or wiring. At that range you will get blasted. We have had our well nailed before. The transformer on the light pole in front of our house has been fried by lightning. Both times I heard snap crackle pop in our modern house. Water is a great line of travel for electricity. Don't take a shower in an electrical storm.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member gotrocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    769
    Location
    Phenix City Alabama
    Tractor
    B-2910 delivered 8/23/01

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    <font color="blue"> Don't take a shower in an electrical storm.
    </font>

    Yeah, and don't take a leak on an electric fence in fair weather.

  10. #10
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    304
    Location
    Pa.

    Default Re: Lightning strike

    Maine,
    The only thing sure about the path of lightning , is nothing...
    My old house was hit twice and our new home once.
    We lost the normal stuff, ie: phones, TV, VCR, and one computer. Surge suppressors help but you have to get into the better quality ones for a faster interuption time and usually they're still not fast enough with the right kind of strike.
    I know I'm not fast enough :
    Several years ago I was just getting home from work and we were about to get a tremendous T storm. I thought I'd let the truck set out and get her washed off a little.
    I parked about 40 ft from the back door and thought I make a dash for it.
    I just got out of the truck and walked about 10 ft. when I heard one of the loudest explosions I can remember and was knocked to the ground. As soon as I could , I got "collected" and ran to the house.
    After the storm passed and I settled a little, I went outside.
    Lightning had hit the truck:
    The truck's computer was blown, two back tires( all the steel belts looked a big ball of tumbleweed) and about a 30 ft ditch was cut from the back wheel across the drive and down thru the woods. The ditch was 6 " wide and about 12" deep and had sheered off roots 4" in diameter laying all around.
    I'm not lecturing, just be real careful.
    Needless to say , I don't mess with lightning and thank the "Big Guy" a lot ...
    I was real lucky !
    GrayBeard

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