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Lightning Arrestor Systems

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lou in North Carolina who’s got a really interesting situation. Maybe once but Lou’s house has been struck by lightning twice this year.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: What is going on? It is just shocking to meet you.

    TOM: Lou, did you go buy a lottery ticket after this happened, because you had such incredible luck?

    LOU: No but that’s a good idea. I don’t know. I think my luck might be in the opposite direction.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s true.

    LESLIE: Oh, no, no. You’re pretty lucky you still have a house that you’re living.

    TOM: That’s right.

    LOU: That’s true. Very true.

    TOM: So you got hit twice. That’s terrible. Did you have a lot of damage, Lou?

    LOU: No. Actually, we were very fortunate: just some electrical appliances that got fried but nothing that was terribly expensive.

    TOM: OK. So you may be a good candidate for a lightning-arrestor system.

    LOU: OK.

    TOM: And you know what?

    LOU: I’ve heard of lightning rods. When I was a kid, all the houses had those.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s part of it. Yeah, that’s part of it.

    LOU: OK.

    TOM: Here’s how they work. They’re just that: they’re metal rods. They look like the grounding rods and they can stick up off the roof of your house. Usually, you put two or three of them across the peak and they’re connected to a very heavy grounding wire.

    And that grounding wire is brought from the roof down to soil and attached to a grounding rod. But where it’s brought through, it’s brought in a way where it’s not going to interfere with any electrical wiring or appliances that are in the wall near where the wire goes down. Because as you probably noticed, wherever the electrical line strikes, that energy gets sort of absorbed into whatever wiring is nearby and it causes the spike that damages a lot of electronics. So it kind of …

    LESLIE: Even washers and dryers.

    TOM: Yeah. So it kind of anticipates the strike, grabs the current, runs it from the rod, through the wire to a ground which is actually in the ground. And it does so by keeping that wire away from anything else in the house that it can cause trouble. So I mean even away from your plumbing system, because if you have that ground wire go down the house and you’ve got a plumbing pipe right inside the wall – on the other side of the vinyl siding, for example – it will jump across and can electrify the plumbing system.

    LESLIE: That’s crazy.

    TOM: So, that’s something you might want to consider. And I will tell you that those lightning-arresting systems, some of them are very beautiful. There’s a lot of very ornate designs with glass bulbs and things like that and they can look pretty cool. So, that might be a good option for you, Lou.

    LOU: OK.

    LESLIE: Lou, were you home?

    LOU: We were at home, yes. It was in the middle of the night. The first strike woke us up; the second one almost gave us a heart attack.

    LESLIE: Wait, so it was the same storm?

    TOM: OK.

    LOU: Oh. Well, actually, the first – this was – no, this was two different storms. The first time was before we lived in the house; it was when it was in construction.

    TOM: Oh, OK.

    LOU: And then the second time, we were home, yes. But the house is less than a year old, so I was thinking this is not normal.

    TOM: Well, yeah, they always say that lightning can’t strike twice in the same place, except Lou’s house, apparently.

    LOU: Exactly. They were wrong.

    TOM: Alright, Lou. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LOU: Thank you.

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