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Old 01-06-2015, 07:30 PM   #1
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Lightning Protection for the Meter and Weatherhead Assembly


My home is wired to code. The neutral to ground bond is made in only one place and that is the main distribution panel which is also the first disconnect and is located inside my house in the basement. The #4 GEC then exits the house and is connected properly to two ground rods in a continuous circuit.

As has been discussed many times here and many other forums, lightning should be directed to ground in as short and as direct a method as possible.

So I'm looking at my weather head sticking there above the roof line and following the metal conduit to the meter can and then the SEC cable into the house not inclosed in metal conduit.

Now it appears to me that a lightning strike at the weather head will probably be directed into the house and then has to reverse course and exit the house via the GEC to the grounding electrodes. A vary torturous route involving many sharp curves, definitely not a direct and short route to ground.

I'd like to provide a better path to ground but I don't think it is possible with the current code. I guess I could move the first disconnect to the outside of the house but that is a huge expense. It also occurred to me to connect the meter can to the rods with a secondary GEC but that would create a parallel neutral which is definitely a violation. Is there any alternative to mitigating the risk?
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:18 PM   #2
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Lightning protection is a specialty. It requires air terminals placed and spaced properly according the building. The cabling used is special multistrand. The routing and bending is also important. I would suggest you contact a local specialist on the subject.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:37 PM   #3
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There are many houses built like this, and not very many burn to the ground every year from lightning strikes. Perhaps your time and money would be better spent elsewhere.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:04 AM   #4
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You can't train lightening. It goes where it wants; and sometimes it comes down chimneys and across the living room floor in a fireball, sometimes it hits pole transformers, etc. Whatever you do it is still able to do what it wants to and is therefore unable to be out maneuvered. To think otherwise is a fools errand. Your move.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:03 AM   #5
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I agree with you DanS26.I would like to only see meter/main disconnects where your bonding /grounding is all outside.Firemen would like it also, I hope. Cost is a factor the builders say,but so are arc fault breakers.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chemman View Post
There are many houses built like this, and not very many burn to the ground every year from lightning strikes. Perhaps your time and money would be better spent elsewhere.
I'm not really worried about my house burning down, but I am concerned about a lot of high priced electronics and digital controlled appliances.

Years ago when these electrical codes and practices were developed, lightning did not pose as much of a threat to equipment....maybe a few motors and TV's. Different story now where a side strike can wipe out thousands of $ of digital equipment and appliances even if you have multiple SPD's.

I guess my point is that a code compliant house should not direct a high voltage event into the house and then back out. I'm amazed that insurance companies are not all over this issue.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:28 AM   #7
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The biggest exposure here is electronics that cross connect a couple of utilities. DSL and Power, Cable TV and Power, Satellite TV and power.

These type of product are particularly exposed due to differing ground references.

There are a few things you can do to lower the risk.

1) Ensure the main power ground rod/ufer/water pipe connection are all sound and proper, no corrosion, proper gauge wire and tight connections. Confirm it is properly terminated in the main service panel
2) Ensure the other utilities are bonded to the same ground scheme as the power utility. Avoid a separate ground rod for satellite, cable tv, or phone line. Its best they are all bonded together (ie the ground in the various NIDs is direct to the main ground).
3) Put a a three prong terminal strip with internal transient protection at the TV/set top box and plug these devices into the terminal strip. Same goes for the DSL or Cable modem.
4) Never hurts to add a whole home protection device to the main panel. They aren't that expensive now and particularly if you are fed from overhead services where you are more exposed than underground.

There is no such thing as 100% protection but make sure you do the basics right.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Lightning protection is a specialty. It requires air terminals placed and spaced properly according the building. The cabling used is special multistrand. The routing and bending is also important. I would suggest you contact a local specialist on the subject.
Thanks joed, this is probably the method I'm going to take. I live in a lightning prone area and have lost much time and equipment to strikes. I do believe the SPD's I've installed have helped recently.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:13 PM   #9
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If it is electronics you are wanting to protect I'm not how well they could be protected from a direct hit on your house no matter how hard you try.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
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If it is electronics you are wanting to protect I'm not how well they could be protected from a direct hit on your house no matter how hard you try.
I know you cannot control lightning and that a direct strike will do as it pleases. I also know that if I get struck again I want to keep as much of the energy as possible on the outside of the house. I know what it can do once it gets inside and it can be costly.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:47 PM   #11
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Here, read through this about lighting protection and electronics. http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.pdf



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Old 01-07-2015, 02:33 PM   #12
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Yes lightning can be destructive. I saw a house once where the telephone pole outside got hit. The bolt followed the cable TV wire to where it was attached to the side of the house. From the outside there was a small hole in the brick where the fastener was. On the inside the whole room was blown apart where the inside wall was blown off.
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