Lightning strikes are by far the most powerful, most dangerous and most damaging form of transient voltage. These surge events can have energy of up to hundreds of thousands of volts and currents of hundreds of thousands of amperes.
Different types of strikes will have different levels of energy resulting in differing degrees of damage to the affected structures, electronics and electrical systems.
Most lightning damaging transients are caused by a strike to the power system, data or telecommunication lines. Surge damage can also be induced by a strike to the facility structure or nearby separate structures that are connected by a common data, telephone or power line.
In 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute, over $825 million was paid out in damage claims to homeowners alone.
However, direct strikes are only part of the dangerous and damaging lightning equation.
Strikes to the ground or cloud-to-cloud events should also be of concern especially if electronic equipment is unprotected or under-protected.
These events can create very strong and damaging surges that can bring havoc to unprotected electronics and electrical systems.
These strike scenarios may not be as powerful, damage wise, as a direct strike to a building structure. However, they can be as dangerous to sensitive electronic equipment none the less.
Strikes to earth ground can produce very strong transients. Ground surges produced from nearby strikes can destroy electronics and electrical systems. The strikes enter unprotected circuits through the facility ground, equipment systems ground or any conductive material (pipes, conduit etc) connected to a building or other structure.
Distance cloud-to-cloud flashes can also produce damaging transients in the electrical distribution system.
Cloud-to-cloud lightning is capable of inducing electrical field intensities of thousands of volts.
If this happens across an unprotected power, telephone, data or coaxial
lines, the result can be severe system damage or complete destruction.
Take protective measures.
Rarely does lighting strike once. It's usually multiple, almost simultaneous strikes.
With the potential for lightning damage,
its critical to have sensitive electronics and electrical systems prepared for such events.
Lightning rods are structural lightning protection equipment designed to mitigate the damage to commercial, business or home structures from direct strikes. They are an important part of an overall protection system design.
However, without the correct lightning surge protectors for commercial, industrial and residential locations, valuable and sensitive electronics will not survive a strike.
The National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI) also recommends installation of surge protection systems. Here, the NLSI provides some general guidelines for protection applications.
Lightning strikes are instantaneously damaging. These events are costly to the entire electrical system. Mitigation techniques should be viewed as a necessity - Not viewed as an option.
Take protective measures with High Quality, High Performance surge suppression equipment and TVSS systems. Robust surge suppressors with high kA ratings, true All-Mode-Protection design and circuit encapsulation can provide a distinct advantage over competing devices.
Prevent the Lightning Equation from damaging critical electronics and electrical systems.
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