Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lightning protection system?

A lightning protection system intercepts lightning strikes and conducts the electrical energy away from building structures. It consists of highly conductive copper and aluminium materials that provide a low resistance path to safely ground the dangerous electricity.

How does a lightning protection system work?

The protection system will intercept the lightning above the building, usually via a lightning rod and air terminal. Down conductors connect the lightning rod to the earthing system and conducts the electricity towards the earth. Once the energy reaches the earthing or grounding system the electricity then dissipates into the earth.

Do lightning rods attract lighting strikes?

This is a very common misconception. The lightning rods simply intercept and provide a safe path for the electricity should a lightning strike occur. Lightning will strike a location whether or not there is lightning protection in place.

Can an electrician install a lightning protection system?

Lightning protection is a highly specialised field and is beyond the scope of general electricians. There are many specific and complicated elements that a standard electrician may not be familiar with. All installations, maintenance and repairs should be carried out by a highly trained lightning protection specialist, like Direct Strike.

Is regular maintenance needed for lightning protection systems?

Yes, regular maintenance is needed to ensure that the protection system is safe, not in state of disrepair, and is running at maximum efficiency. A routine inspection should be carried out at least once a year. Or, if you notice any issues such as damaged cabling or broken parts, these need to be inspected and repaired immediately.

Can lightning protection be installed post build?

Absolutely, lightning protection can be installed on existing structures as well as new construction. However, lighting protection systems that are planned for in the design phase allows for the system components and materials to be concealed within the structure. Systems installed on existing buildings will usually be visible.

Why do I need a lighting protection system?

Lightning protection systems are crucial in preventing damage to buildings and ensuring the safety of those inside. Lightning strike contain massive amounts of electrical energy and can be as powerful as 1,000,000,000 amps. A protection system provides a safe path for this energy away from the buildings and the people who work there.

What is a surge protection system?

A surge protection system is designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes.  Direct and indirect lightning strikes on a building can cause this voltage spike or surge which can have a detrimental effect on electrical equipment. An effective surge protection system will prevent these spikes in electrical power from damaging your infrastructure or property in the event of a lightning strike. 

How does a surge protection system work?

 A surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above a safe threshold. The system will monitor the electrical voltage of the device. If the voltage rises above a certain level the surge protector kicks in and diverts the energy  to the ground.

Is surge protection necessary?

 A surge protection system is not always necessary. However, if you business, industrial plant, etc. relies heavily on electrical equipment then it is definitely worth having surge protectors in place. Electrical surges can cause serious damage and without a protection system in place you could be looking at costly repairs and maybe even a shut down in business production. 

Is maintenance needed for a surge protection system?

 Just like your lightning protection system your surge protection system will also require regular maintenance. The easiest way to do this is to have the surge protector serviced and inspected alongside the lightning protection system. This way you can ensure all elements of your protection system are maintained in the same way.  

Who can install a surge protection system?

 An experienced electrician should be able to effectively install a surge protection system, especially for domestic or small commercial properties. However, if you have large manufacturing or industrial plant with a lot of electrical equipment then you should have a qualified lightning protection specialist install the surge protectors.   

Why is lightning protection system testing necessary?

 All lightning protection systems should be inspected and tested annually in order for your buildings to remain fully protected. Without regular testing, faults and deterioration can occur without your knowledge, meaning that if a lightning strike were to occur, you building is not sufficiently protected. Annual lightning protection testing is also a requirement fro many insurance companies. 

How often should lightning protection systems be tested?

 Irish law requires all lightning protection systems, including all elements of the system, surge protectors, and earthing systems.  to be inspected and tested at least once every 12 months. This is the maximum period you can wait between for inspections no matter the size of the system, the building function, or the site location. 

What is involved in a lightning protection inspection? 

An lightning protection inspection involves both a physical inspection and ssytem testing. We will inspect all components of the system for mechanical issues, part deterioration, loose connections, poor modifications, and physical damage among other tests. A full report will be provided upon completion of the inspection with any and all recommendations as required. 

What happens if the inspection finds faults or issues?

Any system faults or issues found during the lightning protection system inspection and testing process will be detailed in the follow up report. Direct Strike will provide you with a quote for the necessary maintenance and repairs and then our expert team of electricians and lighting technicians will begin working on the lightning protection systems.