FAQ's Lightning Protection Frequently Asked Questions 


(1) I'M NOT SURE HOW TO INSTALL LIGHTNING RODS ?

You can purchase a copy of the Installation instructions which has complete details for $12.00 postage paid. We also have a Designer/ Installer available to help with your questions. If you read ALL of these FAQ's it will help you considerably.

(2) HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT YOUR EQUIPMENT WILL WORK ?

Excluding some ornamental items, all of our Lightning protection equipment is proudly MADE IN THE USA and is manufactured to meet the requirements of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). You can be sure that the equipment that you buy from us is manufactured to the highest quality standards. (Call for UL Listing reference numbers).

(3) I NEED A SPECIAL PART THAT I DON'T SEE ON YOUR SITE ?

We have hundreds of products for Homes, Trees, Commercial Buildings and special applications. If you don't see it please ask, it is likely that we have it. Parts are shown in Copper and Aluminum also prices are listed on the order form. For aluminum parts add the prefix "A".

(4) WHAT ABOUT PRICE ?

Our price is at manufactures wholesale. Our quality equipment is your best value. Others try to copy us but can not match us in Quality, Service and Technical Support

(5) WHAT ABOUT REFERENCES ?

Yes, References are important. Below are listed a few of our better known commercial systems

(6) HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE LIGHTNING PROTECTION BUSINESS ?

We are a family business that has done thousands of Lightning Protection Installations since 1972, you can count on us being there for you in the future

(7) WHAT IS YOUR RETURNS POLICY?

There is a 15% restocking fee on ALL returned items. NO Returns will be accepted after 20days. No returns on cable and special orders.

(8) HOW AND WHEN DO YOU SHIP ?

Most orders will leave the factory on the next business day or within three business days at the latest by UPS or US Postal Service whichever is the best way.

(9) DO YOU INSTALL OR INSPECT LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEMS ?

Yes, We can arrange for installation and inspections in selected locations. Please call for information

Technical FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions):

(10) What were the Glass Balls for?

Over 100 years ago glass balls were introduced to lightning rods as a decoration. They serve no function. Many people add them to lightning rods for fancy roof ornamentation. Contrary to belief the glass balls do not break when the rod is struck by Lightning but it has happened occasionally.

(11) I have a bare metal roof, what materials can I use?

Copper will stain and cause corrosion to Aluminum and Galvanized steel. Therefore DO NOT attach copper materials to these surfaces and DO NOT attach Aluminum to Copper for the same reason. In some cases, you can use Tinned (lead coated) Copper cable on some metal surfaces. If you do need to connect copper to Aluminum, we have special Bi-Metal connectors for that purpose.

(12) I have a Flat Roof and I dont want to use Nails or Screws?

Penetrations should NOT be made on commercial type flat roofs. We have adhesive equipment specifically made for that purpose, also special connectors for metal roofs.

(13) Will Aluminum Wire/Cable and Rods work as well as Copper?

It should as long as the installation rules are followed. Certainly Copper is a better conductor than aluminum but the Aluminum cable is larger than the copper therefore making up for aluminum's lesser conductivity.

(14) Cant I use my own electrical wire and parts for my Lightning Rods?

No! - Electrical equipment is not designed to handle the immense power of lightning. If you are going to Install Lightning Rods, DO IT RIGHT and use the right equipment and braided cable that is designed especially for Lightning Protection. Braided cable is only made for Lightning Protection, the braiding is very important. Don't make the mistake of using regular solid or stranded electrical wire or cable.

(15) Wont the cable get hot and burn my roof?

NO! - The specially designed braided cable does not get hot from Lightning. A correctly grounded braided cable of adequate size provides a low resistance path to ground. If there is No Resistance, Then there is No Heat. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that you can install Lightning Protection materials on or through wood and most other building materials. The key here is to use the specially Braided Cable that is specifically designed for Lightning Protection. Never use cable that is designed for regular electrical power or grounding.

(16) I have tall trees around my house, wont the Lightning hit the tree first?

It might hit the tree but with all of the metal, appliances, water pipes and electric wires that are in the house, lightning could flash over to the house on its way down the tree. A tree is NOT a substitute for Lightning Protection.

(17) I live in a low lying area, do I still need Lightning Protection:

If the Lightning discharge is above your house and if it is a shorter distance for the lightning to travel to your house than to nearby higher objects, then you will get struck. Your home which contains much metal and electrical wiring is usually a much better target for lightning than the higher terrain and tree's. With few exceptions, most outdoor areas are not immune from Lightning Strikes.

(18) Is it true that Lightning Rods attract Lightning?

NO! IT IS NOT. Lightning rods DO NOT attract lightning, however, since the rods are placed at the high points on roofs and when correctly grounded, lightning will strike the rod(s). If lightning were going to strike your home, it would strike whether the rods are there or not. An ungrounded Lightning Rod is no different than any other metal object on your roof such as metal vents, pipes, antennas, weathervanes, etc.

(19) Someone told me that Lightning Rods dont work?

Lightning Rods are installed on; State Farm Insurance headquarters, The White House, Space Shuttle complex, and millions of other commercial buildings and houses around the world. Lightning Rods work by two simple laws of Physics; (1) They Provide "The SHORTEST AND EASIEST PATH TO THE GROUND" and (2)THEY PROVIDE THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE.

(20) Someone I knew had Lightning Rods and had damage to; TV and Appliances. WHY?

Lightning Rods protect against a Direct Lightning Strike. Damage inside the house is sometimes due from Lightning entering through the Electric, TV, and Phone wires. A power pole can get struck (even miles away) and the current will follow the (above or underground) wires into the house and destroy electrical equipment. The Rods on the roof have nothing to do with that. That is why you should also install SURGE ARRESTERS on electric wires entering the house.

(21) I heard that it takes a specialist to install lightning rods?

If you use the correct materials, study the instructions and take safety precautions, then there is no reason why you cant do it yourself. A copy of the installation instructions are available here or by going to the UL and NFPA web sites.

(22) I thought that my house was grounded when it was built:

Yes it is grounded, but mainly to provide electric power. The electrical grounding is of little help if Lightning Strikes your roof and the Lightning has to travel down through your house to get to the ground. The Lightning Rods and Heavy Braided cable is the only way to protect the roof from damage.

(23) Technical facts:

Lightning Travels on the surface of the Lightning Rods and cable. The many strands in the specially designed braided cable adds greatly to its surface area. The BRAIDING in the Lightning Rod cable is very important. It has the effect of cancelling the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). As current travels down each braided strand of wire and since the strands criss-cross each other, and like charges repel. The braided cable has the effect of cancelling the EMP. Compared to regular electrical wire, the EMP around regular wire can couple with other wires under roof and behind walls and can transfer very high voltages into the electrical wiring. EXCEPTION: On structural steel buildings and below ground, un-stranded wire of sufficient size is ok since the EMP will be absorbed by the steel in the structure and in the earth.

(24) BASIC INSTALLATION DETAILS:

Rods (called Air Terminals) a Lightning Rod that is shorter than 24 should be spaced no more than 20 apart along Ridges and Flat Roof perimeters.If the Rods are over 24 tall they can be spaced 25 Apart.Rods should be placed within 2 of ends or outside corners. Each Lightning Rod should provide a two way path to Ground and one of the wires must maintain a horizontal or downward path to ground. - GROUND RODS or GROUND PLATES Should be placed 2 or more away from the building. The top of the Ground Rod as well as the copper connecting wire should be buried below ground. - No Structure shall have less than 2 ground rods (Aluminum wire should not be underground). - WIRES Should be attached to the building every 3 or less and the wire shall maintain a smooth flow with No Sharp Bends.BONDING: Anywhere that the Lightning Rod wire is placed within 6 of Large Metal Objects there should be a connection between the two to prevent a side flash.Utilities such as electric service ground should also be connected to the Lightning Rod System. Bare Copper should not be installed on Galvanized or Aluminum surfaces. ELECTRONIC SURGE ARRESTERS should be installed on equipment to prevent surges from entering through the utility wires.


    REFERENCES
  • AMERICA WEST AIRLINES
  • HERTZ RENT A CAR
  • THIOKOL ROCKET MOTOR DIVISION
  • DUPONT COMPANY
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, NAVY, AIRFORCE AND COAST GUARD
  • HARFORD MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
  • USF&G INSURANCE HEADQUARTERS
  • WORLDCOM TELEPHONE COMPANY
  • US WEST
  • GREYHOUND NATIONAL
  • USDA FOREST SERVICE
  • US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
  • UNISYS CORPORATION
  • BECHTEL CORPORATION
  • BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD
  • LOYOLA COLLEGE
  • WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC
  • BANK OF AMERICA
  • AND MANY OTHERS

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