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LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEMS
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This lightning protection system article describes common lightning protection systems, certification, installation, and lightning protection system inspection. We provide information about lightning strikes, lightning hazards, related equipment, sources of lightning protection system installers, and lightning strike risk assessment
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Lightning protection systems are examined and certified by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. Be sure your installer is listed by UL and that a Master Label application is submitted to UL for your installation.
There are other listing and certifying agencies as well, including the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Verify that your Lightning Protection System Installer is LPI-certified and your Lightning Protection System Components are UL-Listed
The Lightning Protection Institute certifies Journeyman and Master Installers and Professional Design/Inspectors for lightning protection systems.
These professionals pass a series of tests and are re-tested annually.
[Click to enlarge any image]
LPI-certified professionals are provided with an identification card, or you can contact the LPI to ask about someone's credentials by calling the Lightning Protection Institute at 800-488-6864.
Underwriters Laboratory, UL To verify that a lightning protection system or component is is UL-Listed or to obtain further information call the Follow-Up Services Department at the Underwriters Laboratory, UL, 1285 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747 516/271-6200.
UL has other offices in Northbrook, IL, Santa Clara, CA, and Research Triangle Park, NC.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about installers of & certification of lightning protection systems for buildings
Question: check existing electrical ground before installing a lightning protection system?
My home has had problems with lightning strike damage. We are considering putting in lightening rod/ESE etc but want to know the status of our current grounding quality - fixes needed? Which electrician type/or inspection do we need? - V.R., Leander TX
You raise an important question. Indeed, if a building's local electrical ground system, the conductor(s) and grounding electrodes, are improperly installed or even missing, the system may be more dangeous than meets the eye.
Virtually always, when a building lightning protection system is installed it includes a new ground rod, or more than one ground rod (grouding electrode) of a specified length & location depending on the site and building requirements.
Watch out: If your installer wanted to just connect the lightning system to the existing electrical ground system I'd be suspicious of his/her expertise.
In a companion article at Outdoor Lightning Protection Design we describe the typical components & connections of a building lightning protection system. There you'll see that once the new lightning protection system is installed, the building water piping (metal) is bonded to the new grounding system.
What would make sense to me would be to have the lightning protection system installed, and at that time, ask the installer to review the building electrical ground system, at least from the electrical panel out to your building ground connections. Depending on the age of your building and what's installed you may find this a good time to upgrade to current electrial system grounding specifications, such as providing at least two independent ground rods.
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