Why Your Roof and Utility Wires Are a Shocking Combination

Chances are you don’t normally spend your time thinking about different ways to be electrocuted. Utility wires, power lines, and service drops pose an immediate shock or even be an electrocution hazard if they touch your roof. When the conditions are just right, you and your family could be at risk. When it comes to inspecting your house to make sure your roof is safe, here are some things you need to know.

Power lines and shingles do not mix

The most common roofing materials in the U.S. today are asphalt shingles. These shingles offer many options; they are colorful, durable, and inexpensive. While variety is a great benefit, the chips that are in the asphalt’s color make for a bad scenario. If the chips make contact with the power lines, not only can the asphalt crack from the heat, but it could result in a shock or electrocution of your roof. In theory, asphalt shingles are like strong sandpaper. They have ceramic chips that are sharp around the edges, and when that mixes with the sheath of the power lines that is particularly soft it could be extremely dangerous.

If push comes to shove, what is the worst possible outcome?

In order to understand the dangers of exposed wires, think about all the unencumbered electricity that is flowing through them. There are no fuses or breakers between the pole and service entrance so thus there is nothing to protect you or your family from being electrocuted if you come in contact with the bare wires.

The only thing that will protect the house is the ceramic chips because luckily they are not flammable. But underneath the ceramic is. The bare wires that are touching the shingles may not start a fire today or tomorrow, but it will only take one breeze or one specific movement that will let the neutral touch the hot. If this happens things will go from bad to worse very quickly.

If something does happen then who is responsible for the repairs?

Normally the service drop is both maintained and owned by an electric company, so when a power line comes across a roofline the responsibility could be on them to make sure it gets fixed. Homeowners should call their utility company to report a down wire and to report an accident if necessary.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified roofers, contact Landmark Exteriors today!