Lightning Protection: Earthing Facts, Fiction and Function
LI Lightning Protection | Long Island Earth Grounding
When developing a lightning protection system, a key part of the installation is proper installation of the grounding equipment. When lightning strikes a protection system, it looks for an easy path to ground, where it then dissipates into the earth. The problems start if this part of the system is not installed correctly.
Electrical grounding systems for utilities and commercial systems require that the grounding equipment be tested when installed. The reality is perhaps some aren’t tested at all, or are tested incorrectly. The same can be true with a lightning protection system. If the grounding system is not adequate, than the high voltage from the lightning strike will find another way to ground — through your home. It will look for electrical wiring, plumbing, or any other path it needs to reach ground potential.
There is no point in having a lightning protection system with poor grounding. The results can be expensive or even catastrophic:
- Damage to the structure
- Electrical systems
- Computer networks
- Audio equipment
- Fires resulting from the electrical energy passing through the home
- Injury or death to the occupants
For those interested in the technical aspects of grounding tests, an old method used was called fall-of-potential (FOP). It gave results that were inconsistent and not indicative of a good grounding system. A newer method is Smart Ground Analysis, which analyses the existing grounding site and compares it to a computer model of the system being tested. The results are more accurate, reproducible, and provided a greater assurance that you have a proper grounding system.
Keep in mind that all systems are great when new and installed properly, but age and other factors can cause a degradation in your system’s protection. Contact Applied Lightning Safety Group and let our lightning protection company inspect your system. We will test it properly to ensure a correctly designed and maintained lightning protection system.