Can Lightning Strike A Chimney? 6 Helpful Answers

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If you’re wondering like many homeowners, can lightning strike a chimney, you’ve come to the correct spot. We’ll give you six helpful answers.

Lightning can strike a chimney. It is one of the most common places for homes to be struck by lightning. This is because lightning strikes target the highest point in an area. Since chimneys are often the tallest structures in a house, they are more likely to be struck than other home parts.

The metal rod that extends from the top of the chimney is an excellent conductor of electricity and can easily attract a lightning bolt.

Insurance Information Institute, commonly known as Triple-I, found that insurance companies paid more than $2 billion in claims to lightning victims in 2020. These claims included over 71,000 policyholders in the U.S.

Therefore, if you live in an area where thunderstorms and lightning are common, it is crucial to take measures to protect your home from a lightning strike. And in this article, we will show you how.

What Happens if Lightning Strikes a Chimney?

Despite the fact that a lightning strike is only one of many causes of chimney damage, it can still do significant harm, from shattering masonry and mortar to cracking or warping metal components such as your chimney’s liner.

That’s not all. The intense heat from the lightning can also cause fires in your attic or crawlspace.

On top of that, the following can also occur:

Chimney Lightning Damage

Probably the most obvious damage is to the physical structure of the chimney. A direct hit can cause cracks, chips, or destruction.

If you have a metal chimney, it can even bend out of shape or tear from its moorings. When this happens, it can no longer do its job of venting dangerous fumes from your home, putting you and your family at risk.


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Structural Chimney Damage

In case of a direct hit, the damage can be so severe that it will cause the chimney to collapse. A chimney collapse isn’t just a minor annoyance.

It can cause serious injury, even death, and considerable damage to your home. If the chimney falls through the roof, it can also take part of the house.

Electrical and Fires

Lightning is an electrical phenomenon, so it stands to reason that electrical damage is one of the dangers of a lightning strike.

This can cause a fire in your home, as the electrical current can ignite combustible materials. Even if the lightning doesn’t cause a fire, the intense heat can cause damage to wiring, insulation, and other materials.

Masonry Damage

While most masonry can withstand a lightning strike, some types of brick are more vulnerable than others.

For example, sandstone is a type of sedimentary rock that is composed of grains of sand. This makes it less durable than other types of stone and more likely to be damaged by a lightning strike.

Chimney Leaks

Of course, there are those instances where the chimney may be damaged but not destroyed. In these cases, you may still experience problems like leaks.

A lightning-struck chimney can develop cracks that allow water to seep into your home, causing damage to your ceilings, walls, and floors. This is still a cause of concern as it can lead to mold and mildew growth, among other problems.

Cracks in Your Chimney’s Crown or Chimney Flue Liner

The chimney crown is the concrete or masonry structure that caps the top of your chimney. It’s designed to keep water out, but a lightning strike can cause cracks that allow moisture to seep in and cause damage.

The same is true for the chimney flue liner. This clay, metal, or concrete structure lines the inside of your chimney and protects it from heat and corrosion.

A lightning strike can cause cracks in the liner, which can lead to water damage, among other problems.

Can Lightning Come Down a Chimney?

Lightning can come down a chimney. This usually happens when lightning strikes the top of your chimney and travels down the chimney. Using the chimney’s access, it travels down and exits either outside or inside your home.

When this happens, you can experience the abovementioned problems and a few others. Suppose the lightning comes down your chimney and exits through an electrical outlet, it can cause an electrical fire.

How Can You Tell if Lightning Struck Your Chimney?

You can check for several signs to see if your chimney has been struck by lightning.

  • One is whether or not the metal flashing surrounding your chimney is bent or damaged. If it is, this is a strong indication that a strike occurred.
  • Another clue is if you see any cracks in the bricks or mortar of your chimney. These can be either small or large and may even cause the chimney to lean to one side.
  • Lastly, it’s easy to see or hear if your chimney has been struck by lightning if you have a metal roof. Often, the strike will cause the shingles to be blown off or charred.

If you notice such signs or anything else out of the ordinary with your chimney, it’s best to call a professional to take a look. They can determine if a strike occurred and can make any necessary repairs.

Lightning strikes are powerful and can cause severe damage, so it’s essential to be aware of the signs and take action quickly if you think your chimney has been hit.


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What Do You Do if Lightning Hits a Chimney?

You should do three things immediately if you think your chimney has been hit by lightning.

1. Call 911 and Your Local Fire Department

The first action every homeowner should take after a lightning strike is to call 911 and immediately contact their local fire department.

Even if there is no damage, it’s always a good idea to have a professional come and check things out just in case. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Stay Away from the Chimney

If you see damage to your chimney, the best thing to do is stay away from it and keep everyone else away. If the bricks are cracked or any mortar has been loosened, the chimney could collapse at any time.

In addition, if you can smell gas or see any sparks or flames, it’s crucial to evacuate the premises immediately and call the fire department from a safe location.

3. Schedule Chimney Lightning Strike Inspection

Lastly, it’s essential to contact a professional chimney sweep or a mason as soon as possible for an inspection.

They can determine the extent of the damage and make any necessary repairs to ensure your chimney is safe to use again.

Lightning strikes are powerful and can cause severe damage, so it’s essential to be aware of the signs and take action quickly if you think your chimney has been hit.


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How to Protect Your Chimney from Lightning Strikes?

While you can’t completely prevent your chimney from being struck by lightning, there are things you can do to reduce the risk.

1. Install a Lightning Rod on Your Chimney

A lightning rod, also known as an air terminal, is a metal rod you can install on your chimney.

This rod acts as a conductor for the electricity and can help dissipate the energy of a strike, thus protecting your chimney from damage. In case of lightning targets your chimney, the rods can also save your life.

2. Keep Trees and Shrubs Trimmed Away from Your Chimney

Another way to reduce the risk of your chimney being struck by lightning is to keep trees and shrubs trimmed away.

This can help prevent the strike from traveling through the branches and into your chimney.

3. Avoid Using Your Chimney During a Thunderstorm

While it’s always tempting to cozy up by the fire during a thunderstorm, it’s best to avoid using your chimney during this time.

If lightning strikes, the fire can help spread electricity throughout your home, which can be extremely dangerous.

4. Consider Getting Insurance for Your Chimney

Lastly, you may want to consider getting insurance for your chimney. This can help cover the repair cost if lightning strikes and damages your chimney.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your chimney safe during a thunderstorm.

How Much Does a Lightning Protection System Cost?

The cost of a lightning protection system can vary depending on the size and type of system you need.

However, on average, you can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for a complete system.

Lightning Protection RangeAverage Cost
National Average Installation$1,400 including labor
Average RangeFrom $500 – $2000 including labor
High-end servicesUp to $3,000 or higher


Even if the odds of your home being struck by lightning are low, it’s still important to take precautions. Lightning strikes are powerful and can cause severe damage. Therefore, you need to be aware of the signs and take action quickly if you think your chimney has been hit.

If you see any damage, immediately call 911 and your local fire department and stay away from the chimney.

Once the authorities have given you the all-clear, schedule an inspection with a professional chimney sweep or mason to make any necessary repairs.

You can also take steps to protect your chimney from future strikes by installing a lightning protection system or lightning rod.


Do chimney caps attract lightning?

Chimney caps can attract lightning but can also help to protect your chimney from lightning strikes. The metal cap acts as a conductor for the electricity and can help dissipate the energy of a strike, thus protecting your chimney from damage.

What are the odds of your house getting struck by lightning?

The chances that you’ll be hit by lightning if you live to be 80 are 1 in 15,300 in the United States. In 2020, there were just 17 verified direct lightning strikes in the United States.

However, the chances that lightning will strike your home are considerably higher: roughly one in 200 dwellings in the United States each year.

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.