„According to a meteorological survey more than 30,000 lightning stroke down in Hungary in 2004, and 23,000 of these strokes happened in the summer. The thunderstrokes caused 31,000 distinct demages in properties, which reached the value of 1.7 billion Hungarian Forints. According to statements of insurance companies, the number of demages in properties grew by between 2-3 percentage, and the value of demages by between 5-6 percentage, each year. The reason is, more and more electric equipments with increasing value are used countrywise.“
My name is István Papp. I’m a lightning protection expert. I’ve been designing and implementing ligthning protection systems according to the European Union directives all around Hungary for 15 years. I’ve been contracted by private individuals, companies and state instituitons, too.
I would like to share with You my experiences, which I gained through my lightning protection works, so you can avoid the demages, which a thunderstroke can cause you in a millisecond.
„Lightning or htunderstroke is an atmospheric high voltage discharge of electricity accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms.
Thunderstroke can be cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground. An average bolt of negative lightning carries an electric current of 20 - 30,000 amperes ("amps”), in some extreme condition can reach 300,000 amps.”From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Please read it again! It carries an electric current of 20-30,000 amperes!
This is extremely huge amperage! One light bulb with 60 watts, uses 0.26 amperes from the electric network, so the energy of an average ligthning can power 115,000 light bulb!
The lightning strike reaches the ground through a thin path of some centimetres, but the luminescent of a lightning discharge correspond to of 1,000,000 pieces of light bulbs of 100 Watts each. Though this energy of the lightning strike lasts till only some milliseconds, if it strikes your property’s roof without lightning protection, your roof can catch fire (depending on the material of the roof, battens, shakes or shingles, the result can be different). If the lightening crashes your chimney, it can be exploded. If the lightning strikes the overhead power lines which run into your house, your domestic cables can catch fire, they can melt, houshold appliances and electric equipments can go wrong (Computers, LCD TVs, phones, home cinema systems, stereo systems, etc.)Ez iszonyatos árammennyiség! Egy 60 wattos villanykörte 0,26 ampert vesz fel a villamos hálózatból, tehát egy átlagos villámlás energiájával 115000 villanykörtét lehetne működtetni!
In the past couple of years, the number of damages in electronic equipments caused by lightenings grew significantly. The reason of this, more and more electronic appliances and systems are used. Nevertheless, more and more of these circuits are run by small voltage. Because of this, the importance of lightning protection grew significantly in private houses, in condominiums and in industrial estates and parks.
LCD televisions are particularly in great danger during lightening
Have you changed your old CRT-TV into LCD TV? Then, your LCD TV is in much higher danger: while the traditional CRT TVs were powered by thousand volts, the modern LCD televisions run by between 5 and 12 volts, so the voltage pushes coming from the lightening can cause more harm in them. Lightening can harm the LCD TV not only through 230V network, but through the antenna wire or throguh the plug – if there’s no lightning protection. Small parts inside Your PC work by small voltage, too, moreover, the PCs can damage not only through the connector, but also through the network switch, without lightning protection.
The possibility of damages are increased by the fact, that the electrically interconnected networks are bigger and bigger. How many You think of Your electrical appliances are connected? Without ligthning protection, the router of PCs connected to telephone lines, the wiring of alarm systems are in danger in case of thunder.
It’s accepted worldwide, the size of endangered area during thunder is a circle of 2 km radius around the centre of a thunderstroke. This means thunder can cause you damage even if it strikes not exactly the surroundings of your house. Inside this circle of 2km radiant the secondary effects spreading through the wires and through the electromagnetical effects of the thunder can disturb Your electrical appliances and can even ruin them if there is no lightning protection.
Thunders can damage Your property directly and indirectly. Direct damage can be if thunder ruins one of you electronic appliances. But if You produce something, or the PC used for Your work goes wrong, the damage can be much bigger. Indirect damages come from different system failures, and downtimes. These damages mean much higher costs to recover original state than the cost of appropriate lightning protection. According to Insurance companies datas, indirect damages, such as downtimes because of system failures of IT networks, or in chemical plants, the environmental pollution because of the inability of measuring and controlling amount to the bigger proportion of the damages. Not to mention the costs of indemnities and penalties. Costs of indirect damages are much higher than those of direct damages.
To estimate what does this mean to You, switch down in theory the main power switch for some days or weeks. You can also switch down your household appliances, and imagine, every electronical systems broke down because of the secondary effect of lightning. Imagine, if oyu loose your data in your PC. Imagine, if heating, emergency lighting, telephone and security systems of the building are out of order.
All of these can be prevented, with modern, inside and outside lightning protection, which protects electrical appliances against secondary electromagnetic effect of thunder.
The insurance companies cover only the damages of the appliances, and only in the first time when it occurs. Noone can cover your loss in losing datas on your PC! Moreover, after covering the damages caused by thunder, insurance companies demand You to get the appliances lightning protected according to the latest technology and standards. Otherwise, they usually terminate the insurance contract, and the new contracts will be signed by them only after the lightning protection has been arranged and the arrangment has been proven to them.
The cheapest protection against thunderstroke during thunderstorms, if you unplug your phone, the antenna from your TV, all plugs from sockets of 230V, and you switch off the electricity with the main power switch. What if You are not at home, when the thunderstorms arrive? What if it strikes, when you sleep patiently during nights? What if, you’d like to work, contrary to the thunders?
A more patient way comparing to unplugging is installing a lightning protection switch, which can be bought in supermarkets. But You need usually more than one, one switch is needed to each appliances, they are complicated to find places to them and usually not very pretty.
In case, there are instruments with high value, outdoor electronics in your house, special antennas, solar panels on the roof, you are suggested to ask us for a setting up of lightning protection. The perfect solution is an overall installation of indoor and outdoor lightning protection.
The appropriate lightning protection consist of more phases. The first or outdoor lightning protection protect the roof of your buildings with a lightning rod installed according to the standards. This facilitates the discharge to happen, runs the energy of the thunder through itself into the ground, without your building suffers mechanical damage, fire or explosion.
Although the energy of thunderstroke is lead to the ground by the lightning rod, some parts of the energy of this lightning current can broke into your house electrical network, and the surge can ruin your sensitive electrical appliances. In worse cases the current can cause electrical short circuit or fire indoor your house.
If a power wire, telephone or TV cable connect free a nearby utility pole with your house, some part of the lightning current can broke into your indoor electrical network in this way, and can cause surge. This possibility of surge we eliminate with installing appropriate indoor lightning protection and multiple phase surge protection.
Without going into technical details, we protect your electrical network from the surge of hundreds or thousands of voltage with some boxes and with the special equipments in them which are installed near to your electricity meter. These equipments and components work much like the fuse and the circuit breaker: they limit the voltage, in the way of their melting, they protect your valuable houshold appliances. The lightning protection must imply the protection of all the signal conductors, so the telephone and antenna cables, too.
Protect your estate, your electrical appliances, the fruit of your work. Safe your venture, the continuous running of it in every condition!