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Lightning Rods

SUBJECT: Lightning

I read This Old House Magazine every issue and watch the program on TV. I have some questions that should be of interest to several readers of the magazine.

Friends recently had their home struck by lightning. There was several thousand dollars damage as a result. I have noticed that older homes have lightning rods installed on the roof; however, newer homes do not. The first question is why?

The rest of the questions concern my home, which is about 40 years old with several large trees within 50 to 100 feet of the house. The home is a brick rambler. Should I consider installing a lightning rod system? If so, what are some of the items I should consider and is there a system that This Old House would recommend?

Thank you.
25 August 2009

Re: Lightning Rods

i'm no expert on the subject but i can tell you a few things. #1 is why are all new homes not required to have lightning rods. two reasons, "cost" being number one and "odds" being number two. the odds of a house getting hit by lighting are much smaller than electrical fires, fires due to other issues, floods and wind damage from falling trees. it's a rarity and insurance companies can handle it, otherwise there would be big deductions for homes that have lightning rods.

you say you have several large trees close to your house, if they're taller than your house you should be more worried about your trees getting hit and falling towards your home than lightning striking your house. small height differences can determine where lightning will strike, two trees right next to each other, one being 10' taller, the taller tree will be the one that get's hit.

Re: Lightning Rods

Most damage due to lightning is cause by induced spikes on telephone and electrical lines many miles away not by direct hits. There is nothing that will give protection from lightening. lightening can come in on a ground connection, roll across the top of a fence, and jump any device sold for lightening protection.

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