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Re: [TowerTalk] original source of "avoid sharp bends" in lightning

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] original source of "avoid sharp bends" in lightning
From: K8RI <>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 23:15:06 -0400
List-post: <">>
On 4/12/2012 9:07 PM, Jim Lux wrote:
> On 4/12/12 8:26 AM, Drax Felton wrote:
>> How come few houses of modern construction have lightning rods if they were 
>> such an important invention?
> Money?  Fire insurance didn't really exist back in the 19th century, so
> a lightning caused fire was a catastrophic event, financially.
> Today, given that the odds of any one house being hit are fairly low,
> the incremental losses for a HO insurance company from lack of rods is
> probably small. (that is, the cost of premiums is lower than the cost of
> a lightning protection system).
> Also Modern houses are a lot less flammable than in the 19th century.
> ANd, of course, maybe it's because people put up defacto lightning
> protection with TV antennas and DBS dishes<grin>
> In businesses, particularly with expensive assets that are insured, you
> see a lot more lightning protection.
> And, in high lightning areas, you see a lot more.. (at least in a
> commercial/industrial setting... I don't recall seeing a lot of
> lightning rods on houses in, say, Orlando)

The last house I saw with lightning rods was the one I was raised in. It 
had the old (bout 4 or 5' tall) rods with the glass ball in the middle. 
They were tied together with about a one ought woven copper cable that 
went down on opposite corners of the house.    There were a row of them 
down the peak of the roof on the 40' tall and  over 100' long barn. They 
were tied together with the same woven copper cable, but on the barn 
they ran down each corner to a ground rod.  That house and barn were 
stuck a number of times, but that was on the order of 60 years ago (+/-) 
so I don't remember how often but probably not more than a half dozen 
times in my first 21 years.  OTOH the 100' 45G here has been struck at 
least 17 times that some one saw. How many actual times I don't know. It 
was basically hit about 3 times every summer and hasn't been stuck at 
all in the last 3 summers.  Who knows what this summer will bring.

I've seen some barns around here with little rods that appeared to be 
about a foot long. OTOH there are very few of those 40' tall barns left. 
They were so tall to allow storing loose hay and straw in the mow which 
needed to breathe. More than one was lost due to spontaneous combustion 
from hay being put away that had not fully dried.  With hay nearly 30 
feet deep it'd get packed solid at the bottom.   Today with the large, 
heavy bails of hay the structure wouldn't support a lot of them.  Most 
barns are the much less expensive pole barns which are also much easier 
to erect.


Roger (K8RI)

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