Lightning Protection Systems Information

Lightning protection systemsLightning protection systems prevent property damage, equipment damage, and bodily injury from electrical surges and lightning strikes.


Lightning protection systems can vary from simple copper rods to sophisticated electrolytic rod systems with active soil moisture replenishment. An electrical grounding rod can be driven into the earth to ground an electrical system, thereby providing lightning and surge protection. Lengthening the electrical ground rod or using multiple electrical ground rods spaced several yards apart reduces electrical resistance. A direct strike lightning protection system provides a means by which lightning may enter or leave the earth without passing through and damaging non-conducting parts of a structure. A direct lightning protection system does not prevent lightning from striking. Instead, it provides a way to control the lightning and preventing damage by providing a low resistance path for the discharge of lightning energy.


Lightning protection systems are made from many different materials. Both copper and aluminum can be used for the installation of lightning protection systems. Both types of products are often approved by organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Copper tends to be the material of choice because it is a better conductor of electricity. If aluminum is used, the cable needs to be larger than the copper cable to conduct the same amount of current. Lightning protection systems can also be made out of stainless steel and ceramic materials.


Each year, thousands of properties are damaged by lightning and electrical surges. To provide protection from such occurrences, lightning protection systems are used in:

  • commercial buildings
  • schools
  • hospitals
  • institutions
  • historic landmarks
  • sports arenas
  • other public venues

UL issues certificates of conformance for lightning protection systems and manufacturers of lightning protection equipment must pass UL’s rigorous testing.

Related Information

CR4 Community—Grounding of Lightning Protection Systems

CR4 Community—Riser Conductors of Lightning Protection System in a High Rise Building

CR4 Community—Effective Lightning Protection Methods




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