What to Do When Lightning Strikes Your Chimney During a Summer Storm
Every year lightning strikes cause around 22,600 fires and $451 million in property damage according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Most of these strikes happen in the summer during thunderstorm season. In the U.S., there are approximately 100,000 thunderstorms a year. Of those, around 10% are severe according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Since chimneys are the highest point on many homes, they are most likely to be struck by lightning. Learning how to respond if this happens to you can help you to protect your home and loved ones. Lightning strikes cause lasting damage and pose immediate risks.
Would you know what to do if a lightning bolt hits your chimney?
The first thing to do after lightning has hit your chimney is contact your local fire department or call 911 to report it. Even if you don’t see flames or smell smoke, it could have sparked a fire in the chimney or attic. It is much safer to let firemen investigate to see if the lightning has sparked a fire than to go looking for it yourself.
While they do their work, stay away from the chimney, especially the exterior walls. Lightning can do serious damage to masonry. If you stand to close, you risk the possibility of being struck by falling stones or bricks.
After the firemen leave, the next call you should make is to a certified chimney sweep to setup an inspection. Lightning strikes can cause a wide range of damage to a chimney including:
· Making a metal chimney liner buckle, warp or detach
· Damaging or cracking a ceramic tile liner
· Knocking out stones or bricks
· Destroying the chimney’s structural integrity causing it to collapse
Your insurance policy may cover the cost of repairs. It is a good idea to check your policy to see what it will cover.
Even if your chimney looks fine on the outside afterward, you should still have it inspected. Not all damage will be obvious. The most significant damage could be inside the chimney. Calling on a professional chimney expert to inspect your chimney is the only way to determine the full extent of the damage. If you wait, any problems it has created could become worse.
Water is the number one enemy of chimneys. Internal and external damage to a chimney increases the risk that moisture will get into the system. When moisture gets into the chimney, it can cause water damage to nearby walls, ceilings or floors and exasperate damage to the masonry or chimney lining. This additional damage will compound the problem and can significantly increases the cost of restoring your chimney.
Don’t leave your safety up to chance! If your fireplace has been struck by lightning, call on Northeastern Chimney, Inc. We are fully licensed and insured to repair chimneys. Our team of certified chimney sweeps will thoroughly assess your chimney to uncover any damage left behind. Your safety matters to us, it will be our priority to make sure that your chimney is safe to use the next time you strike up a fire in your fireplace.
If you need a professional chimney inspection, give us a call! We serve residents throughout central Connecticut.