Imagine yourself enjoying the sun on a gorgeous summer day when all of a sudden, the sky darkens, and you hear distant thunder. Have you ever wondered how your house or other structure will fare against a lightning strike as you seek shelter?
Installing a lightning rod is one of the best ways to shield your property against thunderstorms. It needs to be inspected and maintained regularly in accordance with national and international standards such as UNE21186, NF-C 17 102, and IEC EN 62305. These standards ensure that lightning protection systems are functioning correctly and can protect your property from the full force of nature’s fury.
This article will delve deeper into the importance of regular inspections and maintenance for lightning rods.
Why is Lighting Rod Maintenance Important?
Regular maintenance and monitoring are essential for ensuring the effectiveness and safety of lightning protection systems. Neglecting proper upkeep of rods can lead to uncontrolled lightning strikes.
A protection system’s overall safety may be affected when its many parts deteriorate over time. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that these parts are properly maintained to preserve their integrity and functionality and lower the possibility of destruction from lightning strikes. Here are some key factors to consider:
- In the case of the Early Streamer Emission (ESE) technology, the component responsible for emitting the upward leader must be in top working condition to ensure the measured time of the advance of the ESE air terminal is supported. This helps to minimize the risk of damage caused by lightning strikes.
- Are you thinking, how does a lightning conductor work? Down conductors transfer the lightning current from the air terminals to the grounding system, which must be preserved with continuity and securely fastened. This is necessary to prevent sparks and breakage that could compromise the safety of the system.
- The grounding system guarantees the lightning current dissipates quickly, reducing the risk of dangerous contact voltages and return currents that can harm people. To achieve this, the ground resistance should be kept below 10 ohms.
What is the Process for Conducting a Revision of a Lighting Rod?
The procedure consists of two types which are listed below:
1. Visual Examination
The following things need to be examined:
- Make sure all fixings are working rightly.
- Regularly inspect for signs of corrosion or damage.
- Verify the state of the equipotential bonding is correct.
2. Comprehensive Verification Process
Effective lightning protection requires more than just visual inspections. To ensure the utmost safety of your structure, conduct a comprehensive verification that includes not only visual inspections but also other essential measures.
One crucial aspect of verification is checking the electrical continuity of down conductors. This step is required to secure the proper functioning of the lightning rod according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Additionally, if you have installed Early Streamer Emission (ESE) air terminals, do check their correct operation. However, verifying the correct functioning of air terminals can be difficult, as they are typically installed at the highest point of the structure, at least two meters above any element that needs protection. Moreover, these terminals are usually mounted on a six-meter mast, making access to them even more difficult. This can put the operator at risk, making the inspection process dangerous.
You need to have a trained team to carry out these inspections safely and effectively. The Certified lightning protection companies will have the experience and expertise to conduct a thorough verification process while taking all necessary safety precautions.
Aplicaciones Tecnologicas has made maintenance tasks easier with the integration of a remote tester in the DAT CONTROLER REMOTE air terminal. This system allows for daily checks of the terminal’s state, eliminating the need for physical access. The updated data can be viewed through a web application at any time. The earthing system is vital to measure, and it is recommended to check it annually to ensure the system remains below 10 Ω. If high earth values are detected, it is essential to use a ground-enhancing product or add more earth rods to the system.
Inspecting the electrical lines for adequate surge protection devices is also needed to protect against overvoltages. Prompt repair and corrective measures are significant for optimum protection in case of deterioration or anomalies in the system. After the inspections, the person in charge must prepare a report detailing the inspections carried out, including relevant data and photographs.
When is there a Need to Review the Lighting Rod?
Lightning protection systems are required to be scanned whenever there are any modifications or repairs to the building structure or if the building has been struck by lightning. To facilitate this, having a lightning event counter or lighting protection testing can be very helpful in keeping track of the number of lightning strikes on the building.
A new system called the SMART LIGHTNING LOGGER has been developed for real-time alerts and recording of captured lightning strikes. This system is installed in the down conductor of the lightning rod and uses IoT communication to report the impact and its characteristics as soon as it occurs. This technology aids in ensuring the building’s and its occupant’s safety by giving real-time data.
Moreover, it can also be used to spot any possible problems with the lightning protection system and aid in mitigating the effects of upcoming thunderbolts. The following types of verification need to be carried out:
- Inspection of Levels I and II protection must be carried out annually, including both visual and complete verification procedures.
- Levels III and IV protection require visual inspection every two years and a complete check up every four years.
- Critical systems require a complete annual assessment for all levels of protection.
In certain exotic and enchanting lands like Mexico, the arrival of the rainy season is marked by a stunning display of Mother Nature’s power, with ferocious rains that pour down upon the earth in a deluge of epic proportions. To ensure the safety of homes, buildings, and all who inhabit them, it is imperative to conduct a thorough and meticulous inspection of lightning rods before the onset of this magnificent season.
At South West Lighting Protection, we understand the importance of safeguarding your property, equipment, and personnel against the devastating effects of lightning strikes. Therefore, we are here to offer you our lightning protection systems installation and verification services.