As the title says, is there any danger in touching the water tap or sitting in a bath tub etc. inside the house during a thunderstorm?

I heard that it is dangerous, as the lightning could hit some water pipe which is electrically connected with my tap and "fry" me.

But I don't really believe this. My thought is that the lightning is a current between the clouds and the earth due to the difference of electric potentials. So why should the current search its way through my body, which is a great detour with much more resistance than flowing directly into the ground.

So please tell me which theory is correct and explain why.
And are there any conditions that have to be met by the house/pipes/bathtubs/... to be able to be safely used during a thunderstorm?

  • $\begingroup$ Lightning rods should do the trick (as they are a path to the earth with a resistance many orders of magnitude lower than through the pipes and your body). $\endgroup$ Jun 10, 2015 at 16:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See this Skeptics post on your exact question: skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/3777 $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Jun 10, 2015 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


Looking up "what happens when lightning strikes a house" on google


(it is a .php file so I had to use printscreen)

See also this youtube video.

So yes, avoid taking a bath during a close by storm.

Have a look at this answer What will happen when lightning strikes on the surface of the deep sea? which has some numbers of the energy in a strike. By the time part of this energy reaches the plumbing it is like any other dangerous short of electricity wiring, and more because of the power behind a strike.


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