Nashville TN Plumbing Advice

Fix It All Plumbing Blog

Old Wives’ Tale:Is it Okay to Take a Shower During a Storm?

main_rupture_37205_Nashville

Ever heard someone say don’t take a shower during a storm, you could get struck by lighting?

Being a plumber for 20 years I would tell you that your water pipe is two feet in the ground, and it could never happen. How could the lighting get to that water pipe?

Well it can happen, I will explain how below.

How does Lightning get to the Water Pipes?

Lighting strikes the tree in your front yard, goes down the tree to the root system that is all around that copper or galvanized water pipe. The lighting will travel up and down the metal pipe. Can go through the meter and run up the city water main and travel up to your neighbor’s house. The Metal Pipes and the Water inside the pipes conduct the Electricity form the lightning.

What Can Get Damaged when this happens?

I get a call one day, the lady on the phone tells me that lighting just hit her tree and she does not have any water coming in her house, but she can see water coming out of the ground in her yard. I have her call the water department for an emergency shut off and tell her I’ll get out as soon as I can. (In a emergency the water department will send someone right out to turn off your water. They will not fix the problem but will stop it from getting worst.) Someone had put a P.V.C. coupling on the galvanized water line, when the lighting went up the metal pipe the coupling just exploded. The lighting went across the meter up to her neighbor’s house. He also had a P.V.C. coupling on his water line that also exploded. I have never seen anything like this before and have talked to a lot of other plumbers that have never seen this either. After seeing this I will never take a shower during a storm again.

main_rupture_37205_Nashville

How could this be prevented?

If you have a metal water pipes (copper or galvanized) you could have it changed to pex. Pex is a flexible poly pipe that electricity cannot travel down. I have copper coming into my house with two big maple trees in my yard and I’m not changing mine out, but it would fix it so I never had this problem. I found this to be an interesting fact. So if lighting ever blows your water line up give us a call at Fix It All-Plumbing to take care of all your water needs.

Blog by Kevin Sipes,

Master Plumber

Nashville, TN