OT Lightning Protection- 2,000 sf residential new construction in rural NY
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    Default OT Lightning Protection- 2,000 sf residential new construction in rural NY

    Looking at estimates to construct a roughly 2,000 sf residential home in rural NY. There's a line item in one proposal that includes $8k worth of 'Lightning Protection'.

    My question is twofold:

    1- My layman's understanding is lightning protection consists mainly of several roof-top lightning rods bonded to insulated heavy gauge conductors leading directly to grounding stakes. I'm having a hard to imagining how those components plus installation could cost anything approaching $8k. Google turns up numbers in the $2-4k range. Does anyone have any direct recent experience installing a decent modern system? Is that quote way out of whack?

    2- I've always lived in urban and suburban detached single-family homes built 100 years ago (but surrounded by other homes, large trees, and with excellent access to fire hydrants and fire departments). Never seen nor heard of a lightning protection system installed in that context. The home we're building will admittedly be on an exposed hillside in a rural area, far from hydrants and emergency responders. How common is Lightning Protection for new construction in the middle of nowhere?

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    they make widgets for this now, mostly for when it comes in the power lines etc.

    Unless you are at the top of an exposed hill I cannot see the utility of actual lightning rods etc

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    For what it's worth, the site is top of an exposed hill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumpster_diving View Post
    How common is Lightning Protection for new construction in the middle of nowhere?
    i built a home in the middle of nowhere in 2007. lightning protection for house and 3k' shop was 3500. on another note - sadly it is not in the middle of nowhere any more in fact it, and everything around it for a few miles, is leveled making way for the new 28 houses per acre development.

    and you are correct on your description

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumpster_diving View Post
    For what it's worth, the site is top of an exposed hill.
    Gonna need some more info from the builder as to what you are paying for,
    rods, salt brine, voodoo dolls etc.

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    My shop (metal building), and home in Texas (wood 2x4 construction w/metal roof) are on an exposed hill, not much for trees or other structures nearby, we get some fantastic lightning storms, yet to best of my knowledge neither structure has been hit (20+ years).

    I forget why, but I did some reading on lightning rods some years ago, seems their effectiveness depends on who you talk to, and the science ain't clear. Is installing this system a mandatory code thing, or just the builder saying you need it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    My shop (metal building), and home in Texas (wood 2x4 construction w/metal roof) are on an exposed hill, not much for trees or other structures nearby, we get some fantastic lightning storms, yet to best of my knowledge neither structure has been hit (20+ years).

    I forget why, but I did some reading on lightning rods some years ago, seems their effectiveness depends on who you talk to, and the science ain't clear. Is installing this system a mandatory code thing, or just the builder saying you need it?
    my location - florida - it was not required (just the handicap bullshit). it was suggested by my brother the builder

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    My understanding is you will never know if the lightening rods work or not. They do not catch bolts and lead them to ground. rather they slowly drain off the static charge and send it to ground. This is like a bleed resistor on a capacitor. So the voltage never gets high enough to jump to ground, in theory.
    I have read of people seeing corona discharges on the tips of the rods. I have also heard of radioactive tips to ionize the air for better conductivity.
    Bill D,
    Flat part of California where we do not get lightening to the ground.

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    Is anything else is included in addition to the rods and cabling, like some form of active UL 1449 protection on the service entrance, interior panel, etc?
    None of it will do any good unless the grounding system is optimized for the soil there.
    When I lived in Western upstate NY, the house was basically built on an ancient glacial moraine.
    No conductivity at all, you could pour a gallon of water on the sand and it would just disappear.
    At the current house here in Florida, sand is much the same, virtually no conductivity .
    To ground the shop, I had to bury a “halo” system all around it. as per Motorola R56 standards.
    That has worked well, lots of close hits over the years, nothing damaged.

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    The OPs Google numbers sound closer to reality. I had lightning rods put on my house and detached garage and shop for way less than $8K.
    We are on a ridge here that gets hit often I can point to several lightning damaged trees close to the old trailer spot and the present building locations. I am in a volunteer fire dept and here of an average one house catching fire with each major thunderstorm.
    Having watched the guys do it I could have done a better job myself if I had a supply of the correct parts. Having said that, I get the willies stepping from a ladder to the roof and probably would still pay someone else to do it.

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    There are a couple of distinct levels of lightning protection that I know of, perhaps more these days.

    One is to protect the structure. The other is to protect the structure and its electronic contents.

    If you will have a shop with processor-controlled (CNC) equipment or even DROs, or other expensive electronics you care about, you will want the latter. The latter requires a ground *ring* around the entire building, to which every single ground is bonded. Power, telephone, cable, all of it. Each service that enters the ring requires one or more surge suppressors. This is not Radio Shack stuff; each suppressor can cost $50-500 or more. The idea is that the whole area's voltage goes up and down with the strike and the bleed off, so there are no significant voltage differentials inside the ground ring. Ground rods driven in every 10' or so with low-inductance cable or strap form the ring, and more cable or strap connects the ring to all the suppressors and to any and all lightning rods.

    In addition, large MOVs on the power feed are actually cheap and effective in preventing surges from reaching your electronics. I have two, each about the size of a brick, that protect my entire house from surges, which are frequent in this part of NYS.

    When I was an amateur radio repeater trustee, we had a direct strike counter in the shack on the mountaintop where the repeater was housed. When last I saw it, I think it read "9." We lost an antenna once in a while to direct strikes. We never lost electronics or had structural damage.

    You don't need to buy their devices, though they used to be the best on the market (I've done no recent research), but Polyphaser's book on lightning protection will illustrate what's needed. I'm not sure it's sold any more, but I'm sure it can be found. It's "The “Grounds” for Lightning and EMP Protection, Second Edition, PolyPhaser Corporation, 1993."

    All that said, doing it for my house to the standards from that book ran perhaps $1,000, 20 years ago. I expect I could do it again today for $3-4K at most. There are Polyphaser suppressors on every antenna wire and on the cable system in addition to the MOVs in the power panel. It is theoretically safe to operate the radio equipment in a thunderstorm, but I don't.

    HTH,

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    What n2zon said.

    "Close to" what we had to do for Army SigC (Northrop-Page. Wrote "a" book on site bonding and grounding, IWCS, Phil-Thai-Oki-RVN FPTS sites..).

    By the time I had grey hairs, also had a good Cable & Wireless veteran Director of Engineering as could parachute into a problematic Caribbean island, sort their hash on neglected and gone erratic or failing bonding for a full-island satellite ES atop an old volcanic peak or flat-assed coral atoll, either one.

    There ARE books and such "out there". C&W / Marconi had been dealing with this all over the world since the US, not English Civil War. So, too all other old telco's and power-grid operators.

    No point in half-measures.

    Worth doing properly PLUS "over the mark" ELSE get f**ked frequently off "near miss" strikes & c. as to randomly dodgy, unpredictable, or outright partially-fried CNC and household electronics far more often than getting set afire and burnt-out.

    THAT is where the "ROI" comes paybackish.

    The small, but dreadfully chronic shit and its economic drain, downtime, inconvenience.

    Up-holler Appalachia, it is also why we build IN the "hollow", never atop the ridge!



    Cheaper than way. Less wind damage and lower heating bills, too!

    Page Two:

    If no budget for anything better?

    Go by the Sporting goods outlet. Buy yerself a solitary Golf club. A "one iron".
    Mount it abuse-the-ball-end upwards at the high point of the roof.

    No ground wire needed.

    Any experienced Golfer will tell yah even GOD cannot hit a one-iron!


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    I honestly think lightning protection is a wish & a prayer at best.

    Nobody knows how much juice is in a lightning strike. It's kind of like hurricanes. The last hurricane had winds of 125 MPH, so we built houses to stay together in 125 MPH winds. Too bad the next hurricane to come through was blowing 150 MPH and the house was blown to bits.

    We offer lightning protection packages on some equipment we sell (40' tall metal towers). System includes a lightning rod, braided cable, a voltage arrestor and a surge suppressor. We don't warranty the system though. Lightning strikes will blow it all.

    We get our stuff from Delta Lightning Arrestors Delta Lightning Arrestors

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    Much appreciate all the input. For the moment, no details on what the GC is thinking in the $8k (but I will get behind that number before proceeding). No CNC, just manual equipment in a home shop. But VFDs and PCs and the like (even refrigerators have computers in them nowadays). In my circumstances, I could tolerate a surge taking out the electronics but want to avoid burning the new house down. And it is an exposed hill-top location.

    So from the collective wisdom I'm gathering $2-4k is more reasonable with the caveat that a paired-down system won't protect electronics from surges and the further disclaimer that my millage may vary on whether lightning protection works at all.

    Very helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumpster_diving View Post
    And it is an exposed hill-top location.
    Like Dis ?.....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails garylarson-mountaingoat.jpg  

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    I live near the gulf coast of FL, not far from Tampa. We are the lightning capital of the US and I don't see any houses with lightning rods. Not saying there are none, but it's not very common I would guess, which is *odd since we get so much lightning.

    Is Florida really the lightning capital of the world? - Orlando Sentinel

    *If they indeed help mitigate the lightning damage

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumpster_diving View Post
    Much appreciate all the input. For the moment, no details on what the GC is thinking in the $8k (but I will get behind that number before proceeding). No CNC, just manual equipment in a home shop. But VFDs and PCs and the like (even refrigerators have computers in them nowadays). In my circumstances, I could tolerate a surge taking out the electronics but want to avoid burning the new house down. And it is an exposed hill-top location.

    So from the collective wisdom I'm gathering $2-4k is more reasonable with the caveat that a paired-down system won't protect electronics from surges and the further disclaimer that my millage may vary on whether lightning protection works at all.

    Very helpful.
    Lightning hitting a roof and starting a fire is a different animal than a lightning surge coming in on the wires. Years ago I was running screw machines in a barn like structure and watching a storm out the bay doors. Lightning struck several hundred yards away and the transformers leading to the screw machines shop had a foot long arc across them for several seconds. The screw machines had 7 1/2, 10, and 15 horse spindle motors and never missed a beat. Really I should have turned them all off till the worst part of the storm had passed. A friend in another shop told me about having to rewind every motor in the shop after a lightning storm. In my own shop I have plugs on all my machines and unplugged them last night as a heavy electrical storm was coming. Also the electrical boxes in shop and home have the heavy duty commercial surge protectors.

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    We had a.c. load centers with built in mov blocks at point of entry that saved our butt many times.

    The strike or drunk hits a nearby power pole and it comes in on the power lines.

    The supressors located directly on the internal buss bars get it before distribution.

    Changed many cooked ones.

    There are many forms that install at load center.

    Motorola R56 is good guide.

    You need a master ground and as others mentioned, conductivity is critical, there were some who would pee on the later ground rod to get a passing reading, you need reliable ground and everything bonded to it.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by CatMan View Post
    Nobody knows how much juice is in a lightning strike. Delta Lightning Arrestors
    bull, it's exactly 1.21 gigawatts.

    My house got hit by a bolt while I was building it. Blew about a 6" dia hole in the concrete slab. Scared the living shit out of me. I haven't done anything in the way of lightning protection, but it doesn't seem like a bad idea

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumpster_diving View Post
    Looking at estimates to construct a roughly 2,000 sf residential home in rural NY. There's a line item in one proposal that includes $8k worth of 'Lightning Protection'.

    My question is twofold:

    1- My layman's understanding is lightning protection consists mainly of several roof-top lightning rods bonded to insulated heavy gauge conductors leading directly to grounding stakes. I'm having a hard to imagining how those components plus installation could cost anything approaching $8k. Google turns up numbers in the $2-4k range. Does anyone have any direct recent experience installing a decent modern system? Is that quote way out of whack?

    2- I've always lived in urban and suburban detached single-family homes built 100 years ago (but surrounded by other homes, large trees, and with excellent access to fire hydrants and fire departments). Never seen nor heard of a lightning protection system installed in that context. The home we're building will admittedly be on an exposed hillside in a rural area, far from hydrants and emergency responders. How common is Lightning Protection for new construction in the middle of nowhere?
    I live on a hill and had lighting strike about 200 ft from my house,it blew a 8" oak out of the ground and split it to where it looked like a blooming onion.
    So i had a system put on my 3800 sq ft house.it was about $3000 15 years ago.
    One man did it in about 3hrs.


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