Lightning is a common occurrence in many areas, and the danger it poses to structures has been known for centuries. But, thanks to modern technology, there are several methods of mitigating lightning damage to buildings and other facilities.
Which system will be used depends on the type of structure being protected and the environment in which it exists.
Systems may consist of only a few components or incorporate dozens of parts depending on their purpose and location. The most basic systems include:
- Rods: These are made from metal and extend upwards from the ground to around 30 meters (100 ft) altitude. They look like poles with cones at their tips and can be attached to buildings, utility towers, and other structures (e.g., radio masts).
When there’s a thunderstorm overhead, lightning may strike them instead of whatever they’re connected to; if this happens, they will conduct the electricity into the ground harmlessly.
- Air Terminal: As its name implies, this device’s job is to provide a safe way for lightning to reach the ground by intercepting it before it hits something that would be damaged or destroyed by the strike (e.g., buildings).
It usually takes the form of a sharp cone at roof level (although some types are large poles) and can be used on its own or in conjunction with metal rods; either method provides an excellent defense against lightning.
- Ground Wire System: These wires also connect to whatever they’re attached to. Still, instead of rising upwards like rods, they run outwards (near horizontally) away from it towards points up to around 15 meters (50 ft) away.
They are more of a secondary defense than rods are but can provide extra protection against lightning strikes, especially on tall buildings with pointed roofs which concentrate the electric field around them.
- Surge Arrestors: These devices absorb any lightning currents that make it past the first line of defenses and safely dissipate them into the earth.
A few types also protect against power surges caused by nearby lightning strikes or switching operations in the electrical grid.
Want To Learn More About Lightning Protection System Components or Have Yours Installed?
Please chat with our experts at RS Lightning Protection. We provide lightning rods to protect your home or business against damaging strikes in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio and the surrounding areas.
We also offer a free site visit and quotation. Call us on 1-866-415-2231 for more information.