Do Lightning Protection System installers need to be licensed electrical contractors?
Yes. For a complete Lightning Protection System, it includes both direct strike and surge protection measures. Surge protection measures include a Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor [TVSS] and|or a Surge Protection Device [SPD].
In Texas, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation [TDLR] under Subchapter D, License Requirements, Section 1305.151, except as provided by Section 1305.003, a person or business may not perform or offer to perform electrical work or residential appliance installation unless the person or business holds an appropriate license issued or recognized under this chapter.
Electrical work is defined by the TDLR under Subchapter A, General Provisions, Section 1305.002(11) as any labor or material used in installing, maintaining, or extending an electrical wiring system and the appurtenances, apparatus, or equipment used in connection with the use of electrical energy in, on, outside, or attached to a building, residence, structure, property, or premises. The term includes service entrance conductors as defined by the National Electrical Code.
Can an electrical contractor install my Lightning Protection System?
Lightning protection installation is a specialty discipline, so homeowners should not assume that roofers, general contractors or electricians are qualified to install lightning protection systems.
Be sure the contractor is listed with Underwriters Laboratories [UL] and holds certification with the Lightning Protection Institute [LPI].
Ask for a written proposal and|or design detailing the job to be performed prior to agreeing to have any work performed. Check to be sure materials and methods will comply with U.S. Safety Standards for Lightning Protection Systems such as LPI-175, NFPA 780 and UL96|96A.
Homeowners concerned about quality control can contact www.lpi-ip.com for affordable inspection options, as a third-party inspection of the lightning protection system can provide peace of mind and help ensure proper installation.
I live in Texas, are we potentially exposed to lightning strikes or surges?
Yes. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2018 Texas Ranked #4. Texas has 4,559 claims valued at $67.6 million and the average cost per claim was $14,819.
What causes lightning?
Lightning originates around 15,000 to 25,000 feet above sea level when raindrops are carried upward until some of them convert to ice. For reasons that are not widely agreed upon, a cloud-to-ground lightning flash originates in this mixed water and ice region. The charge then moves downward in 50-yard sections called step leaders. It keeps moving toward the ground in these steps and produces a channel along which charge is deposited. Eventually, it encounters something on the ground that is a good connection. The circuit is complete at that time, and the charge is lowered from cloud-to-ground. The flow of charge [current] produces a luminosity that is very much brighter than the part that came down. This entire event usually takes less than half a second.
What is a Lightning Protection System and how does it work?
The highly conductive copper and aluminum materials used in a lightning protection system provide a low resistance path to safely ground lightning’s dangerous electricity. These materials and components are UL-listed and specially manufactured for lightning protection. When a lightning protection grounding network is in place, the strike is intercepted and directed to ground without impact to the structure, occupants or contents. A lightning protection system that meets national safety Standards of NFPA 780 and UL 96, UL96A includes strike termination devices, down conductors, bonding, and surge protection. Failure to follow the Standards or use of non-listed materials or methods can result in inadequate protection.
alone protect from a direct lightning strike?” style=”square_outline” custom_font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23333333|line_height:1″ custom_google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:600%20bold%20regular%3A600%3Anormal” use_custom_heading=”true”]No. Surge protection alone is not intended to prevent or limit physical damage from a direct lighting strike to a facility or structure. Rather, it is intended to defend against indirect lightning effects imposed upon the service wiring to a structure as part of a coordinated lightning protection system installed in accordance with U.S. Safety Standards for Lightning Protection Systems such as LPI-175, NFPA 780 and UL96|96A.
Is Lightning Pros licensed and insured?
Yes and Yes. For verification of insurance, a copy of our certificate of insurance can be sent to you upon request. For current information on our State of Texas electrical contracting license, refer to this link: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/LicenseSearch/SearchResultDetail.asp?1=EECELE00027247
Will my insurance company offer a discount for a Lightning Protection System installation on my home?
Insurance companies in most states offer premium credits for security systems, fire alarms, residential sprinkler systems, permanently installed back-up generators and other protective measures for the entire perimeter of the home. Lightning protection systems are generally recognized as “protection for the entire external perimeter” and as such, are often considered for credits. Homeowners interested in securing an insurance credit or discount for their lightning protection system installation should check with their provider. Policies about lightning protection discounts vary by insurance company. Since some providers don’t have set policies regarding credits or incentives, the homeowner should contact their agent or broker for assistance in determining their eligibility for a discount.
Do Lightning Protection Systems attract lightning?
No. This is a common misconception about lightning protection. Lightning protection systems and strike termination devices [rods] simply intercept a lightning strike and provide a safe and effective path that takes lightning’s harmful electricity to ground. Lightning will strike a location whether there is lightning protection in place or not. When a system is in place it provides a preferential low resistance path for lightning from its intercept location to a ground destination. A lightning protection system directs lightning’s harmful current to ground, instead of it traveling through a building’s plumbing or electrical system.
Is a Lightning Protection System expensive?
Each structure has its own specific lightning protection design and installation so the cost can vary. Lightning protection is an affordable amenity that offers protection against a leading cause of property damage. While pricing generally runs less than 1% of the value of the structure, costs for protection vary depending on the size of the structure, location, construction, roof type and grounding conditions. As a rule of thumb, lightning protection is typically less expensive than other building systems and amenities like security, plumbing, generators and specialty lighting fixtures. Another thought, the average Lighting Protection System cost is less than the average cost per claim in the U.S. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average claim in 2018 was $11,668.
How effective are Lightning Protection Systems?
A great deal of data on lightning protection system performance was collected during the first half of the last century.
Farmers Mutual Insurance Companies of Iowa studied lightning fire losses from 1905-1912. They determined that the efficiency of lightning rods installed can be estimated at nearly 99%.
Similar statistics were reported by Patrons Mutual Fire Insurance of North Western PA for 1910-1918 during which they paid 414 claims for lightning damage to unprotected buildings and no losses were reported in buildings protected by lightning rods.
In Canada the Ontario Fire Marshall’s inspected lightning protection systems and tracked lightning damage. During 1918-1939 they documented 17,982 lightning related fires of which just 17 involved structures with lightning protection installed. This is an efficiency of 99.999 percent. They also reported that “in no case has a building rodded under the Lightning Rod Act been destroyed by lightning after having been inspected by the Fire Marshall’s office.”
The US Dept of Defense tracks lightning damage at explosives storage facilities, which number in the 1000s worldwide. In the 82 years from 1918-2000, they report 59 incidents of lightning damage. Of these, 4 were to structures that were equipped with lightning protection.
The FAA tracks lightning damage to its facilities, which are protected by lightning protection systems. FAA documents all lightning strikes within 20 nautical miles of Doppler radar installations. In July 2000 alone, they documented over 250,000 lightning strikes within a 20 nautical mile radius of their sites with just 3 lightning related radar malfunctions. In two Florida locations during this single month, 25,000 and 20,000 cloud-to-ground strikes were recorded with no equipment failures.