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My barn was built less than 2 years ago. It does not have lightning rods. The builder felt that they weren't needed, and the other three main barn builders around here also gave me the same "not worth it" advice. I've since done a lot of reading on line, but a lot of the advice seems to be based on fear rather than real evidence. Mostly things like "a big barn near me burned and horses were killed, so every barn should have lightning rods." These reports seldom say whether the burned barn had lightning rods or not.

My barn has woods on two sides of it, with trees much taller than the barn itself. My fencing is all wood, so no surrounding wire fencing to conduct electricity. My utility lines are all underground. The nearest fire station is approximately 2 miles away. I do not store hay in the barn.

I would appreciate advice, pro vs con, particularly from those here with barns, and those with electrical backgounds. Thanks.
 

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All I know if you have them, make sure they are hooked up.

There was a house north of me who was restored to it's glory. They included some classic lighting rods on the roof with the pretty glass balls. They were not connected to anything, just nailed to the roof. No copper wire to the earth ground. Lightning did hit that house. It did burn. Not tot he ground but a heavy loss. Had to be completely gutted and rebuilt. This time without the classic barn ground rods.

isaac
 

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All I know if you have them, make sure they are hooked up.

There was a house north of me who was restored to it's glory. They included some classic lighting rods on the roof with the pretty glass balls. They were not connected to anything, just nailed to the roof. No copper wire to the earth ground. Lightning did hit that house. It did burn. Not tot he ground but a heavy loss. Had to be completely gutted and rebuilt. This time without the classic barn ground rods.

isaac
Good advice, also as ground rods do deteriorate over time. and it brings up other questions. There is varied advice on line about grounding a lightning rod system, ranging from 4 foot to 10 foot grounding rods, of various diameters. Or using a cable in a trench grounding system. Also copper versus aluminum wiring, and how best to connect the cable from the roof into the ground.

Copper wiring seemed popular years ago, and aluminum frowned on, but with the high price of copper aluminum is now OK?

It's all confusing.
 

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The general soil resistivity in your area will determine the ground rod requirements. The write ups describing the process for figuring ground rod length and depth are usually about 50 pages long and involve lots o' measurements & math. :dunno: Or you could ask your local electrical inspector or electrical contractor or maybe a municipal worker that deals with water well pump houses or water towers what they do for ground rods in their facilities. :good2:

Lighting rod systems equalize the pos and neg static charge so that the building itself doesn't end up doing that. Ideally this equalization sends the pos charge to ground before the build up results in a strike or when a nearby strike happens and the leaders spread out. If the lighting rod system takes a direct hit you will still need good luck on your side.

I have seen water towers with a good grounding system take a direct hit and the damage can be quite impressive. You could also have a nearby strike that doesn't hit the structure itself but the surge comes through electrical supply into the panel. I have seen that on a couple well pump control panels. Lighting isn't supposed to strike the same place twice, but one new well site outside York, PA took so many 'nearby hits' after two years they took out the grid connection and went solar with a few deep cycle marine batteries for the control panel and a generator to power the pump. I usually get a few calls after a summer thunderstorm rolls through for pricing on replacement equipment.
 

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My barn was built less than 2 years ago. It does not have lightning rods. The builder felt that they weren't needed, and the other three main barn builders around here also gave me the same "not worth it" advice. I've since done a lot of reading on line, but a lot of the advice seems to be based on fear rather than real evidence. Mostly things like "a big barn near me burned and horses were killed, so every barn should have lightning rods." These reports seldom say whether the burned barn had lightning rods or not.

My barn has woods on two sides of it, with trees much taller than the barn itself. My fencing is all wood, so no surrounding wire fencing to conduct electricity. My utility lines are all underground. The nearest fire station is approximately 2 miles away. I do not store hay in the barn.

I would appreciate advice, pro vs con, particularly from those here with barns, and those with electrical backgounds. Thanks.
The National Electric Code will tell you HOW to install a lightning protection system but they don't tell you if/when one is required. It's totally up to the designer's/builder's/owner's wants and desires...

But I will tell you this, 2 or 3 years ago we had a good storm blow through. A bolt of lightning hit a tree that's about 20' behind my chicken coop. It jumped from the tree to the coop and then from the coop, it followed a small stream of water (runoff from the rain) about 30' to my swimming pool. Once it hit the pool it followed the electrical lines from the pool pump right onto the house. I was sitting here when it happened and watched in horror as a couple of electric outlets blew right out of the wall.

Luckily the house insurance covered the blown up TV, cable box, dishwasher and other stuff. But the next day I went out and ran a #2 bare wire across the roof of my coop and down the front and back and drove 2 ground rods. Then I added 4 more ground rods to the pool system and replaced 150' of wire out to that outlet.

That's just to say, you don't know you need it until you find out that you should have had it.
 

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But I will tell you this, 2 or 3 years ago we had a good storm blow through. A bolt of lightning hit a tree that's about 20' behind my chicken coop. It jumped from the tree to the coop and then from the coop, it followed a small stream of water (runoff from the rain) about 30' to my swimming pool.
You didn't say- fried chicken for dinner that night?

Al
 

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That's just to say, you don't know you need it until you find out that you should have had it.
:lol:
Sort of like...
Experience is something you get right after you need it!
or
Luck is the moment when Preparation meets Opportunity!
 

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Preface~ I have no experience with lightening rods. My inlaws barns have them, mine doesn't.

Now, for part of my companies projects, when we build a new site for the Telco, we have to place a new ground field. Typically driving ground rods, a welded connection to the solid/bare cable to create a "halo" ground field. The field then takes Megger readings to verify the ground field is meeting the Telco standards before backfilling. I would think something along these lines would have to be measured when installing lightening rod systems.
 

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Preface~ I have no experience with lightening rods. My inlaws barns have them, mine doesn't.

Now, for part of my companies projects, when we build a new site for the Telco, we have to place a new ground field. Typically driving ground rods, a welded connection to the solid/bare cable to create a "halo" ground field. The field then takes Megger readings to verify the ground field is meeting the Telco standards before backfilling. I would think something along these lines would have to be measured when installing lightening rod systems.
I'd never heard of a Meggar reading. So I just finished reading about it on the internet. I found it really interesting. It makes perfect sense to know whether your ground rod is actually really able to conduct into the earth, or is just hammered down into dirt with high resistance to electrical flow.

Really useful information. Thanks a lot!:bigthumb:
 

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We had a lightning strike on the property last Mar. Skitterred around until it found some electrical wires. Then blew out two outlet surge protectors, the generator voltage regulator, range fan, UV water filter etc...$$$

The local utility-co op expert came out and looked stuff over. We added new grounds to the TV dish, generator, etc. Utility installed a whole house surge protector and I put the outlet protectors on every expensive plug in device in the house.

Inspector told me to open the breaker panel and tighten every ground. He says over time they loosen and this is a big cause of equipment failure. Sure as heck most of the ground screws were 1/2-1 turn loose !

He also recommended installing a sacrificial sand/lightning arrestor on both ends of our well pump wiring. One to protect the pump, one to protect the house. Cheap insurance and easy to hook up! Seen them as low as 25$
450 ft deep water well pumps can get expensive to repair...
https://www.amazon.com/Delta-LA302-R-120-240V-Lightning-Arrestor/dp/B006H3U4HS
 

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I'm no authority on this subject. But as I see it, if your Barn is all wood with a composite roof like shingles, etc. with underground electric lines running to it & into a sub panel & properly grounded, why would you have a need for a lightning rod system? How many homes have a system in your area? Why would you want to attract the very thing your trying to avoid-lightning-and then hope that whoever installed the system was well qualified & knew what he was doing from the engineering & scientific side of the installation. Just something else to sell the property owner a false sense of protection. I have yet to talk with any building contractor that supports the idea of a rod system. These things may have had a place in years past, but with todays modern materials, building codes & restrictions, they have become for the most part obsolete.
Better off if you invest the money into fire extinguishers or a sprinkler system if your that worried about it. This is just my personal opinion here, & like all opinions, you know what they say about that.:laugh:
 
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