"United Lightning Protection Services & Surge FAQ"
Does a Lightning Protection System Attract Lightning? Dispel lightning?
A lightning protection system has two objections:
1) To provide a safe path to ground for electrical current
2) Prevent destruction, injury or death as it travels that path
It is important to note that a lightning protection system does NOT attract lightning, it also CANNOT prevent a lightning strike. A lightning protection system does provides a safe path to ground for the electrical current.
Source: State Farm Insurance on Lightning Protection
If lightning was going to strike your home, it would strike whether the rods are there or not. To further dispel this myth all codes require a series of multiple air terminals (lightning rods). If lightning protection attracted lightning, all that would be necessary would be one lightning rod and nothing more. However, being lightning protection DOES NOT attract lightning, we must install rods in multiple locations. This includes locations such as ridge ends (location, no more then 2ft) and intervals (not exceeding 20ft)
Does a Lightning Protection System Really Work?
Yes. Lightning protection has been saving homes and other structures for well over 100 years. The basic science of lightning protection goes back to the days of Ben Franklin. The latest codes and regulations, including NFPA 780, UL 96A, and LPI 175, incorporate over 200 years of scientific study and provide the only way to reliably and consistently protect your building from lightning damage.
The FAA, NASA, Dept of Energy, and DoD typically do not build any structures without lightning protection systems. In fact, there was a federal report issued in 2004 that reviewed the technical validity of lightning protection and concluded that lightning protection systems are critical to protecting our national infrastructure. The American Meteorological Society issued a similar paper in early 2003.
Lightning Rods are installed on;
State Farm Insurance headquarters, The White House, The Washington Monument, Statue of Liberty, Space Shuttle complex, nuclear plants, electrical regeneration plants, commercial airports, department structures of the Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard etc. Millions of Buildings, small and large, commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural. ETC......
In Florida, the State Building Code requires lightning protection for all health care facilities including, outpatient buildings and extended care homes as well as for schools.
The Empire State Building in New York City is one of the most famous buildings in the world and a great example of lightning protection working. It is on average struck by lightning about 100 times every year. Lightning protection prevents these strikes from causing damage to the building and its contents.
UL, NFPA, and LPI do not put their names on codes that do not work.
NOTE: A lightning protection system will only work if installed correctly.
Will a Lightning Protection System Protect my Electronics?
No and yes. UL recommends 3 steps to effectively protect your structure from a lightning strike.
1) Install a UL listed lightning protection system in conjunction of all code requirements.
2) Provide a lightning arrestor/suppressor at the incoming electric.
3) Install surge protectors where receptacles and other electronics are located to limit the voltage to 1 1/2 times (maximum for solid state devices).*
*To simplify you need to remember that just installing the 2nd step is not sufficient. The power company's protector stating "whole home surge protector" is very misleading. What this protector is intended to protect are your large appliances (dryer, water heater, fridge, A/C, Furnace, etc...). Just remember, a cable, phone, or data line does not enter through your service panel. These communication devices go directly from the outside to the inside of your home bypassing the protector located at the service entry of the electric panel. This why it is essential to place protectors on these devices in the case lightning jumps on any of these lines, which is common in a nearby strike.
Protection must also be placed on solid state devices (tv's, computer's, other sensitive electronic's, etc ...). The reason for this protection is to remember that no matter what kind of protector you have on the electric panel a little can always get through called, "let-through voltage". However, it is very typical to install just 1 protector (protecting solid state) while also protecting the outside lines, making it cost efficient and very effective.
Our above answer states no and yes to the FAQ question. The only reason we say yes because properly bonding to the electrical, phone, and cable ground via our lightning protection system is essential to providing a safe path to ground for the lightning current. You can install all the surge protection you would like, but without proper grounding the surge protector will be little to no use. It is typical during installs to find a loose, or missing ground. Unfortunately, this is something the power company does not check while installing their surge protection device.
Won’t My Insurance Cover Any Lightning Damage to My Building?
Like fire alarms and security systems, a lightning protection system provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing a potential catastrophe has been dealt with proactively.
While insurance companies will often cover an initial lightning strike to a building (minus your deductible), policies are often non-renewed, rates hiked, or subsequent claims denied if your building is struck again.
In addition, imagine the personal loss and loss of productivity when your computers, electronics, and appliances are lost due to lightning damage. And of course, the catastrophic consequences of a fire to your home go far beyond the dollar amount you may collect from your insurance company.
There are tall trees and higher homes near me.
Won’t they protect my building from lightning?
No. Lightning is unpredictable, and will often strike a low-lying structure or even bedrock while not touching a nearby tree or higher or taller building. In addition, if lightning does strike a tree near your building, your unprotected building is often damaged by side-flashes which can easily be protected by a lightning protection system.
Can we install lightning protection ourselves?
Can our electrician, builder, or roofer install it?
An improperly installed lightning protection system can often be more dangerous than no lightning protection at all. Lightning protection is a specialized trade requiring trained, experienced technicians with knowledge of multiple codes and specialized equipment. Most electricians, contractors, roofers, and do-it-yourselfers are not qualified to install lightning protection. In addition, only a UL & LPI Certified Lightning Protection Installer can provide you with an independent UL Certificate of Inspection (formerly called a UL Master Label).
How Long Will My Lightning Protection System Last?
Your lightning protection system is designed to last for the life of your building. If you make structural changes or additions, you should have your system checked and updated if needed. NFPA and UL codes require re-inspection every 5 years. Additions can include satellite, dishes, generators, screens, roof vents and pipes.
Will Lightning Rods Ruin the Aesthetics of Our Home?
No. The modern, inconspicuous lightning rod system can be installed to blend in with the structure on which it is located, making it practically invisible from the ground. The system can be installed during construction or on existing homes hidden on the back side or painted to match the roof and walls.
How Do I Choose a Company to Install my Lightning Protection System?
An improperly installed lightning protection system can be more dangerous than no lightning protection at all. Lightning protection is a specialized trade requiring trained, licensed technicians with knowledge of multiple codes and specialized equipment. Please see our about us page.
Our Building has an Existing Lightning Protection System.
Can You Check it for Us and Update it if Necessary?
Yes, we offer free re-inspections. We will write out any code violations or any necessary repairs at the time of inspection.
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Locally installing lightning protection in, "The Villages", Ocala, Gainesville, Crystal River, Spring Hill, Lady Lake, Tavares, Eustis, Leesburg, Inverness and surrounding cities.
Servicing Marion, Lake, Sumter, Citrus, Levy, Alachua, Putnam Volusia and Surrounding Counties.
"United Lightning Protection Systems & Surge installs and services the entire state of Florida and provides consultation national and world wide"
Justin Lewis and United Lightning Protection Systems & Surge is certified as a Master Installer/Designer through the Lightning Protection Institute (Lic # 1097)
United Lightning Protection is a Proud Supplier of Surge Protection by Cyber Power. Cyber Power is UL listed under
UL # E196224