Those who have ever feared being struck by lightning would be delighted to learn that there are lightning protection systems that will keep them protected but unfortunately that is not what lightning protection is all about. Although the fantasy image of a person strolling down the street during a lightning storm with no concerns because they have a personal lightning protection device may seem far fetched, there are in fact lightning protection systems that can protect your home or office building from lightning.
What is Lightning Protection?
A lightning protection system typically consists of air terminals, cables, ground rods, and surge suppressors. The air terminals and cables are usually made of cooper and the ground rods are usually encased in copper. The cables are used to connect the air terminals and there are at least two ground rods buried ten feet below grade on the property. The lightning protection system is grounded to both the water pipes and the existing ground in the circuit box.
How to Determine Whether You Need Lightning Protection
Determining whether or not you need lightning protection on your home or business property is not a difficult decision. There are a number of risk assessments available on the Internet that incorporate a number of factors to determine whether or not you need to provide lightning protection on your property. These assessments evaluate your answers to a series of questions to determine your risk level for a lightning strike. These factors may include size of the property in terms of square footage; the materials used in the framework and roof of the building; the surroundings of the building and whether or not the building is located in an area that is surrounded by taller buildings; the topography of the structure including whether or not it is situated on a hillside, mountain top, or flat land; the usage of the building; and whether or not the property is located in an area that is prone to lightning storms.
Other Ways to Assesses Whether You Need Lightning Protection
Other lightning risk assessments use a more simple approach. In this approach a number of criteria are listed and if your property meets several of these criteria, you will likely require lightning protection. Some of the criteria typically listed include previous lightning damage, location in an open area, location on a hill, location near a body of water, location in an area that has frequent lightning storms, aluminum siding used in the construction, a metal, brick or stone chimney on the roof, a large tree overhanging the building and no existing surge protection in the building. In most cases, if a property meets more than a few of these criteria, lightning protection should be installed to reduce the risk of property damage from lightning.