Most of us are familiar with the famous story of Benjamin Franklin chasing a thunder and lightning storm on horseback, wielding a metal rod. Turns out, he was in the midst of inventing the very first – albeit rudimentary – lightning protection system.
The effects of thunder and lightning are momentous, and it’s likely that you’ve woken up after a thunderstorm only to discover blinking clocks that display a random time. But a lightning storm can produce more subtle effects on the computer boards of equipment, and it’s often difficult to make the connection between a storm and the damage. For example, a lightning surge can cause a ceiling fan to only work intermittently and on certain settings.
How lightning protection systems work
Lightning doesn’t need to physically strike your house in order to create damage. A direct strike –although rare — can certainly be disastrous, but appliances and electronics are affected more commonly through a nearby strike to enter the home through external wires and piping, like phone or cable wires. You can plug more sensitive electronics, like a laptop, into a surge protection strip, but the best way to keep your home safe from lightning is to combine surge protection with a lightning protection system.
A lightning protection system has a variety of components, including an air terminal that intercepts the lightning strike and a grounding system that guides the electrical current out of harm’s way. Lightning protection is not only essential for protecting electronics and appliances, but also for protecting an entire home from potential fire and structural damage. These systems protect against potentially deadly side flashes and shock waves caused by a lightning storm.
Whole-house surge protectors are another great way to guard against damage. These devices aren’t the typical surge protector strips that you can get at any hardware store; they stop the surge of lightning at the home’s electrical panel, which prevents it from traveling into the wiring of the house and damaging electronics and appliances.
No matter which route you take, it’s crucial that you don’t take on a lightning protection installation as a DIY project. Lightning protection systems are complex, and often custom-designed depending on the individual house and its unique requirements. Only a certified electrician should repair and install these intricate systems.
At HomeWiz, our licensed electricians are experts at dealing with lightning protection systems. We can carefully analyze your home and determine the right system that will protect your home and your family from the dangers of lightning.