Saturday, February 25, 2012

Exploring the Possibility of Adding Lightning Rods


                In a prior post I discussed strategies for avoiding injuries to human beings from lightning.  This post is going to focus on strategies for protecting the structures themselves from being struck by lightning and from lightning damage.  Ardent followers of this blog might recall that this interest of mine has been piqued by the lightning strike of one of our large metal roofed outbuildings, while a family member was inside.  Our family member is still recovering from the damage received in last autumn's injury.   I am still doing research on exactly how we might have lightning rods properly  installed and grounded on the multiple types of farm buildings and the home we have, each of which have differing types of roof lines.
                 One cannot place metal lightning rods on the top of the building alone.  It is necessary to place a grounding wire from them and properly anchor it to ground.   Improperly installed lightning rods may be more dangerous than not having lightning rods at all.

The following information comes from:

Lightning Rod Parts   877. 866.3189

Their work product is provided between the two rows of undulating lines.   Please contact them should you need to buy articles in order to protect your own buildings from lightning.

(Comment by Jane)This is a simple drawing which illustrates that lightning rods need to be attached to grounding wires in order that the lightning may travel and dissipate in the ground, rather than through your building.

(Comment by Jane)This picture illustrates the complexity of lightning protection in a larger or more complex structure. Should you need to see this diagram larger than this, it is available at          The correct materials and the correct mode of installation are essential.  If you are unable to do this correctly, you should contact an electrical contractor with experience in lightning rod installation and lightning abatement. Be sure to check their references.


          Electrical contractors who specialize in lightning rod installation may be expensive, but damage to your home may be much more costly.  Before adding lightning rods to your home, you should contact your homeowner's insurance carrier.  A few of them will not insure homes with lightning rods on the off chance that installation has been done incorrectly.  
          In many areas, lightning is a rare phenomenon which tends to strike either in the hills or in the ocean.  For some of us though, especially those of us on properties with metallic ore in rocks or with buildings on a high perch, lightning strikes are a frequent and dangerous possibility.  We had a lightning storm yesterday, in February !


russell1200 said...

Lightning systems work. The likelyhood of a strike is roughly equivelant to the size of the building footprint. Homes have a small footprint. Most hits on homes I have seen are actually richochet hits from a nearby strike. Your system (unless you have a steel framed home) will do little for that type of strike.

You are better off buying more insurance, or paying off a little more of your mortgage.

JaneofVirginia said...

Russell, Thanks for your input. We have had multiple strikes, one to the main house which is new, one to the barn which is quite tall, and the most serious strike was in autumn to a large art studio/workshop building. The person inside the building was injured and is still receiving treatment. The theory as to why our farm and farms around it are sites for frequent strikes, is that there are multiple types of metals in ground rock, and the region is a site of multiple former mines. Other than having each building normally grounded, we have no specialized lightning abatement system, though I am continuing to research them.