When Lightning Strikes – How It Can Affect Home Security Systems

Posted by , , at 9:24 am

When we think about weather damage, we typically think about a storm wreaking havoc on the exterior of homes. Strong winds, heavy rain, and lightning are all capable of dealing mishap on the outside. However, it’s not too often that we think about what could happen to inside of our homes. Just take a look at what happened to a pair of homes in Summit, New Jersey:

…lightning struck a tree outside an Oak Ridge Avenue home, said Summit Fire Deputy Chief Eric Evers. The current made its way into the second floor of the home, where it damaged some wallboard.

Across the street, another lightning strike fried one home’s alarm system, Evers said. Firefighters were unsure whether the lightning directly hit the house, as there were no physical signs of damage anywhere outside.

Let’s take a closer look at how the alarm system was fried. Lightning does not have to hit a house directly to affect the things inside it. If there’s something around the house that can conduct electricity, there will be a pathway for the lightning to enter the house. According to the National Weather Service, there are three ways lightning enters a structure: a direct strike through either wires or pipes that extend outside, and through the ground.

Recently, we spoke to one of our customers who shared her experience of how her security systems reacted when her home was struck by lightning. Her wired system, still installed but cancelled, immediately started going berserk. Meanwhile, her FrontPoint wireless system continued to work as intended:

When I bought the house, about 30 years ago now, it already had a wired system installed. I used it for a few years, but this past March, I switched over to FrontPoint Security, which I’ve been very happy with so far.

There was one night though where there was a bad storm and lightning struck our house. I was home alone, so I was freaked out when all of the sirens and alarms from my cancelled wired system started going off! I tried everything to disarm them – from pulling out the batteries and yanking on the sensors – nothing worked! So eventually I just got a pair of wire cutters and ended up cutting the wires to shut them off.

Meanwhile, while all of this was going on, the FrontPoint system was on its backup battery and was working just fine.

We’ve covered the advantages of a wireless home security system before, so it’s no surprise that a wireless system would perform better during a storm. Old-fashioned systems rely on physical wiring, whether it’s a phone line or a broadband connection. Lightning will travel through these lines, ultimately reaching the security unit. The result will be similar to what happened to the alarm system in Summit. Also, since a wired system needs a constant connection via phone or internet, what happens when the storm knocks the power out? The internet and the phone are going down too, resulting in a home alarm system that won’t be doing its job.

In comparison, a wireless security system does not require a hardline connection since it sends out its signals through cellular communication. If lightning knocks out your power, the 24-hour backup battery will kick in and your connection will not be interrupted. A cell phone works perfectly fine during a storm; a wireless system is exactly the same.

A wireless security system has so many advantages over a wired system; we don’t know why anyone would choose to go with the latter. Rain or shine, lightning or calm, a wireless system is simply more reliable. FrontPoint knows this, that’s why we have 100% wireless systems as our only option. As the nationwide leader in wireless home security, and the #1 rated home alarm company in the US, FrontPoint Security is committed to offering you a system that is virtually impossible to defeat, even when the lightning strikes.

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