Lightning Protection is Structural Protection

We often hear about conversations with homeowners, builders, electricians, and systems integrators discussing lightning protection systems and whether or not it should be installed. It’s important to remember that a lightning protection system is considered “structural protection.” The job of a lightning protection system is to make sure your house does not burn down due to a direct lightning strike.


As your surge protection provider, we want to make sure that the benefits and downsides to a lightning protection system are explained correctly. Lightning protection systems are not what systems integrators normally recommend for their projects unless they fear the house could burn down. Most homes in the USA are constructed without lighting protection systems, and only a small percentage burn down due to lightning. If you fear your project site is a high lightning prone location or the area has a history of lightning damage, you could recommend structural lightning protection. But, the end user is the only person that should make the decision to implement a lightning protection system. That is because lightning systems, once installed, become a potential problem for the electronics in the house. Lightning protection is not surge protection. Lightning protection does not protect electronics from lightning: it attracts lightning. When the lightning system takes a hit, significant energy is emitted as a Lightning Electro-Magnetic Pulse (LEMP) and it can be induced directly onto internal wiring. Lightning protection systems require surge protection and, in fact, any UL certified Lightning Protection System mandates the installation of an ANSI/UL1449 listed Surge Protection Device.


Not all projects are the same. If you have any questions or surge protection applications (whether they involve lighting protection or not) and want to discuss further, please call. We are always looking for ways to help! To learn more about surge protection for lightning protection systems and other similar applications, see the TPX 100 page.

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