We knew we had to help...
..when a new found friend and client of The Whole Story found herself in quite the predicament this summer, as a ground strike from lightning ripped through her homes attic and electrical system with a fierce crack and clap, like she was too close to the fireworks display. Amidst a common Florida thunderstorm on the west side of Jacksonville, Mary (not her real name) found herself scrambling for the phone, after wailing smoke detectors affirmed her gut feeling.
More information and what this means for you.
A direct lightning strike to a home, although a rarity, is possible. Lightning strikes to homes and the science that explains them proves three main hazards to a home’s occupants; fire danger, power surge damages, and shock wave damages.
Lightning has one objective when traveling from cloud-to-ground: find the path of least resistance. There are many paths for a direct strike to take through a home, wiring, gas lines, plumbing pipes, aluminum windows, or any other conductive material, so be sure to ask your home inspector or licensed contractor about the risks your specific home has, if it were to be struck.
The best advice to follow in the midst of a lightning storm, stay away from wiring and plumbing systems, until the storm has passed. Some of the common home tasks to avoid are showering, doing the dishes, working on a computer, playing videogames, or using a wired telephone. (Wireless devices are typically deemed safe to be used, if operating via battery power.)
If you’re home is struck by lightning or you suspect a close call, your direct concern should be to check for fires or smell of smoke. Call the fire department! The most common place for fire will be in the attic, but lightning moves and carries extreme heat, so don’t rule other areas out. Remember, fires may not ignite immediately.
Professionals and licensed electricians can offer lightning protection systems which may reduce or eliminate fire hazards in case of a direct strike. However each home and system is different and should be evaluated based on cost effectiveness and value. Be sure to talk with your insurance representative to ensure the proper protections are in place on your home insurance policy.
Another version of home, this one from tomorrows best selling author, Taylor Tampa, @wethewriters.
I won’t lie, my first thought was, Is this real life? Everything seemed too perfect. The house was decorated with their antique finds they had found around the country. As the homeowners showed us the house (a 2/1, technically smaller than our apartment but the layout made it feel larger), I could picture our 75-pound furball romping in the yard, slipping on the slick original wood floors, and drooling on everything in sight.
We put an offer on it right then. We were the first couple to see the house since they put it on the market that day, and we were the only offer they entertained. For the next month I tried not to think about the house (and failed miserably), because you know as soon as you start envisioning yourself in the house it’s going to be struck by lightning or something else equally impossible and horrible. Let me tell you, house hunting is fun, house paperwork is not. But it all worked out when we received a call from our lender with our closing date.
The owners brought us a card and a bottle of wine to celebrate as they signed over the place they called home for the past few years. We were now the owners of our little cottage (as I like to call it)! And even though we can’t call maintenance to fix a plumbing issue (knock on wood - we haven’t had one yet) and we have to mow our own yard, having a place to call our own has been one of the best decisions we’ve made in our married life so far (aside from adopting our puppy, which technically happened before we got hitched so it doesn’t count).
Family began to become an ever increasing reality, with a blossoming two year old and new born infant. The homeowner pressure squeezed tighter. Time and tales of playing ball with the kids seemed lessened with the projects that continued to pile up at the house. So they turned back, and set out for a smaller, more manageable rental. To rest, to rejuvenate, to pour their hearts into their family like they had always dreamed to.
A little story spot, from a local home renovation blogger extraordinaire, Shaina Tillman...
My dad built a shed when I was young. I was in grade school and he was heavy into life, managing a career, a family, and a home. Every day after work and in his free time, my father was always working to improve the investment he had made in our home, but the shed was his biggest endowment to our home and my life.
Now the shed was no mansion or warehouse or garage. It was a shed; a heaping 12 foot x 12 foot shelter for our camping gear, bikes, tools and Christmas décor. It had a concrete slab, T-111 siding (the wood kind with vertical grooves cut in it), some shelves, and a shingled roof. He loved that shed; designed and planned it for months. He even painted it to match the house, body and trim, polishing it off with barn doors that to this day don’t seem to latch right.
Over the years he’s repaired that shed several times, and each year that I’ve studied and been more heavily involved in construction, he’s progressively asked my opinion on each repair. Never neglecting to mention, jokingly, “that shed is my life’s work, my biggest project yet”. I am always forced to remind him, tongue in cheek, that he built a pretty kick butt tree fort, a few years after. (Painted the same way, body and trim, like the shed, like the house.)
I spent a lot of years growing up on that shed roof and in that tree fort. Had a lot of conversations with God, learned a lot of lessons, and gained great laughs, tears, and scars, playing on and around what he built.
What he didn’t know is that he was building my future, my dreams, my soul, my purpose. Work ethic never came easy to me, especially when it came to volunteering my Saturdays to help him with the projects around the house. Mom would always interrupt my video gaming, to say, “why don’t you go help your father?” Over the years I would come to love it…
I never really appreciated or understood why he would always be picking crab grass, washing down dog poo, cutting the back yard into a baseball diamond, building lacrosse ball targets, or painting the shed for the third time, but I do now. John 14:2 , puts it this way, “In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
I’m not sure if my dad knows, or if a few days ago I even knew, but if it weren’t for his willingness to take the risk and explore unchartered territory of constructing a shed, and fiddling with home maintenance projects, I may have never become absorbed with the love of home construction and its science.
My passion for homes has grown every day since he laid the foundation for that shed, and I am comforted by every thought and memory of every nail we drove. Knowing now that it takes patient endurance to build a fortress and a cathedral,that no one could ever take from our family.
“For very house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.” Hebrews 3:4
About the Inspector
I'm Mark Riccaboni, and I love houses! Over the course of my life I have learned the difference between a house and a home.... I have been on every end of a real estate transaction, from buying to building, from framer to builder, from architect to engineer. Each has it's role, but none more important than the hands and feet of the homeowner, who truly make it home.
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