CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - They don't call Florida the lightning capital of the country for nothing. A Polk County family knows about it, firsthand.
Kyle Bumbalough recorded video of a giant lightning strike outside his house last week. The blast blew his home’s breakers and fried the cable, internet, and phones.
This past summer there have been a series of fires caused by various lightning strikes, including a large house fire in south Tampa and an iconic stilt home in the gulf.
While many commercial buildings are affixed with lightning rods to pull a bolt away from critical infrastructure, most homes don't.
Pinellas County resident Julie Kovich has learned the hard way the possible benefits of a lightning rod.
A recent lightning storm left its mark on the condo she shares with her teenage son.
“It was really scary,” 15-year-old Victor Kovich said.
Julie said their TV router, printer, stereo, speakers, phone chargers, and USB hubs were all damaged by the strike.
Victor was playing video games when it hit.
“There was just a flash and I saw it right as it happened,” he said.
The TV and his phone froze. His PlayStation would turn on, but then turns right back off.
Since then, Julie’s condo association has voted to install lightning rods but experts say it takes more than that.
“You have to do grounding, surge suppression, and structural lightning protection,” CEO and owner of National Lightning Protection Bruce Keiser said.
Keiser suggests spending money on surge suppression for a residence, instead of a lightning rod, because that's how most damage in homes occurs.
“They need to put a surge protector on each surge that's coming into the building: AC power, cable TV, [they] may or may not have phone wires from the old days,” he explained.
Julie is following that advice. In addition to her condo association’s lightning rod, she added a heavy-duty surge protector to her unit.
With every method, the idea is to defer the power of the bolt.
For more information from Keiser’s Clearwater-based business, visit www.lightningmaster.com.