Lightning rods on house

We just had a new house built two years ago. I recently noticed that we don’t have a lightning rod!!:eek:

I looked around and nobody seems to have lightning rods…

What gives?? Were they found not to work?

Do lightning rods really work?


Words from The Master.

Of course, the answer of ‘I don’t know’ isn’t the most satisfying :wink:

Well, how many times per year does lightning strike your neighborhood? In Seattle we have nearby strikes once every few years. There’s no point to having lightning rods. South Florida on the other hand is a major lightning corridor, so in that case a homeowner might think about lightning protection.

You asked DO they work, but Cecil concentrates more on the controversy about HOW they work, and about which one is better. So, how do they compare against having no protection at all? Most modern homes are somewhat protected anyway, since they contain grounded plumbing and electrical conduit inside the walls. I wouldn’t be suprised if lightning rods add only some extra protection to a modern building, whereas they add much more protection to the plumbing-free, conduit-free buildings back in 1780.
Insurance companies must have plenty of statistical evidence of just how much protection is offered by various types of lightning rods.

I vaguely recall an old article about this that said that a lone lightning rod doesn’t do so much because the lightning so often misses the rod. You either need a fairly dense row of rods (including ones on roof corners, not just on the peak,) and you need ground cables running along all the edges of the roof.

The stuff about radioactivity was an alternate mechanism, an attempt to divert lightning bolts by spewing a tall cloud of charged air which bends the e-field differently around the building during thunderstorms, essentially trying to make all the sharp corners invisible to any incoming lightning bolts. Traditional lightning rods were supposed to ATTRACT lightning, so it would go through the grounding system rather than hitting the building and starting fires.

PS, ‘normal’ lightning doesn’t start fires, it only kills electronics and creates electrocution (and steam explosions in tree trunks). You need the long-lasting “hot” lightning bolts for fires, and such bolts are fairly rare. I suppose that if your unprotected farm building gets hit by many bolts per year, then there’s a good chance that one of them will be the type which starts fires.