Q: Do people still use lightning rods?
A: More than ever before. With all the electronics installed in buildings today, lightning protection systems will protect the structure and help protect the electronic systems to keep the building up and running.
Q: Does a lightning protection system attract lightning?
A: No. Lightning protection systems do not attract or repel lightning; they simply provide a safe path to the ground, away from the nonconductive parts of your home (wood, brick, tile, shingles, etc.).
Q: What does a lightning protection system look like?
A: Lightning protection systems can be very inconspicuous, especially when it is designed into a new structure. Unless you were looking for it, you probably wouldn’t notice it. Most of the wires are run within the structure and are therefore concealed from view. There are decorative finials you can add for a more architectural look.
Q: Are steel framed buildings safe?
A: A steel framed building can conduct lightning but without a lightning protection system the lightning can jump to different components of your building like electric or telephone wires because the steel frame is not designed to conduct the lightning to the ground. A lightning protection system will direct the lightning harmlessly through the building and to the ground.
Q: Who can design/install/maintain a lightning protection system?
A: Only a certified lightning protection expert should design/install/maintain your lightning protection system. Electricians, general contractors and roofers are usually not qualified to do this type of work. You should be sure your lightning protection installer is UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or LPI (Lightning Protection Institute) listed with notable experience (i.e. has received UL Master Label Certificate or LPI certifications). These certificates indicate that the lightning protection system installers are qualified to meet industry required standards for a fully-operational lightning protection system.
Q: Do lightning rods really work?
A: Yes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and UL constantly update the standards with new findings and better equipment. The FAA, NASA, Department of Energy and the Department of Defense typically do not build any structures without a lightning protection system. Florida now requires hospitals, government and educational facilities to have a lightning protection system installed to new structures as a part of the new building codes.
Q: I have tall trees around my home; don’t they protect me from lightning?
A: NO! Many people believe trees afford their home protection from lightning, this is false! Trees are poor conductors of electricity, like brick and tile, and therefore don’t provide the lightning with an easy path to the ground. Lightning may seek an easier path by jumping and attaching to your home’s electrical wires or plumbing pipes, causing damage or a fire.
Q: Do I need surge suppression for my home? Can I just get surge suppression?
A: Surge suppression is an integral part of any lightning protection system as it helps protect your home from the harmful surge of a lightning strike. Just having surge suppression will not protect your structure from a lightning strike. The structure needs a full lightning protection system including surge suppression for electric, telephone and video feeds to the building to be fully protected. You must have a lightning protection system to capture the impending lightning strike, and then once that massive electrical energy is transmitted deep into the earth surge suppression can then help protect the electronics inside your home from stray currents. No surge suppression protects against a direct lightning strike unless a lightning protection system is in place.