Improperly abandoned lightning arrestor system (C) Daniel Friedman Inspecting & Evaluating Damaged, Unsafe Lightning Protection Systems

  • LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEM DAMAGED, UNSAFE - CONTENTS: Examples & photos of damaged lightning protection system components. How to inspect lightning protection systems.
    • Improper "abandonment" of lightning rods and ground conductor systems may actually increase the risk of lightning damage at a building
    • UL publication 200-81 11/87 and other local service company information about lightning protection systems (lightning rodsd) and lightning strike hazards
    • Underwriters Laboratory Standard UL96A requirements cover the installation of lightning protection systems
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about visual inspection to detect unsafe lightning arrestor or protection systems

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Basic inspection tips for lightning protection systems:

Examples & photos of damaged lightning protection system components & suggestions for how to inspect lightning protection systems are outlined here. This article series 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. Our page top photo is of the remains of a lightning protection system found on a Poughkeepsie NY home built ca 1935.

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Example of a Damaged Lightning Protection System

Photographs of lightning protection system components

We took these photographs of a damaged lightning protection system on an 1865 house in Orange County, New York. (Newburgh NY).

[Click to enlarge any image]

The air terminal and conductor were bent down away from the top of the home leaving the chimney and roof (a metal one in an area of frequent lightning strikes) unprotected.

This is an example of what can happen when someone who is not qualified works on the system.

The lightning protection system for this home was dangerously compromised when the maintenance crew simply bent components down out of their way.

[The photographs of details of an old lightning protection system shown here were NOT the work of any of the companies or sources described at this website.]



Example of an Improperly Abandoned Lightning Protection System

The two photographs just below show the remains of the grounding connections for a lightning arrestor system that was installed on a Poughkeepsie New York Home.

Improperly abandoned lightning arrestor system (C) Daniel Friedman Improperly abandoned lightning arrestor system (C) Daniel Friedman

But our third photograph (below) also shows trouble at each of the home's chimneys.

Improperly abandoned lightning arrestor system (C) Daniel Friedman

Leaving an incomplete lightning protection system on a building may actually be worse than having nothing at all, as especially combined with a masonry chimney (wet, conductive in a storm), a copper chimney cap, and a remaining lightning rod that is no longer connected to ground, this system may be saying to nature "go ahead, hit me!".

In the photo above, the arrow at upper left points to the lightning protection air terminal electrode, and the arrow at lower right in our photo points to the conductor cable that was cut off, perhaps by the roofers or by the house painters when they found that the lightning protection system wiring was "in the way".

We recommend removing rooftop electrodes and conductors that are no longer connected to ground, or if you believe that the original owner and installer felt that there was a reason for installing this system, it should be repaired by an expert.

Below: an example of secure bonding between the lightning rod and the current conductor between the lightning rod and earth. This lightning protection system detail is observed atop the Saxon Tower in Oxford in the U.K.

Electrical bonding between lightning rod and  lightning conducting  cabling to earth at the Saxon Tower, Oxford (C) Daniel Friedman\

Below we see the grounding conductor at its connection to the earthing rod at the Saxon Tower in Oxford.

Ground cable connected to earth at the Saxon Tower, Oxford (C) Daniel Friedman

You can see the lightning rod itself atop the Saxon Tower at LIGHTNING PROTECTION, HOW IT WORKS.

Inspection tips for Lightning Protection Systems

Lightning protection system inspection tag, Saxon Tower, Oxford, UK (C) Daniel Friedman


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