A lightning rod (a.k.a. finial) is a metal rod that’s attached to your home’s roof to divert lightning into the ground where it’s harmless. While you may wonder if these actually work, you’d be surprised to hear that without them life would be more dangerous for anyone in a tall building during a bad thunderstorm. Unfortunately, nobody knows who the genius behind the creation and design of the first one was, many people believe that it all dates as far back as Benjamin Franklin in 1749.
Protecting Yourself Against Lightning
While lightning can damage numerous building materials, its current can also set off a side flash – a small, highly pressurized explosion caused by super-heated air, occurring in small areas of the structural materials. Side flashes typically occur when there’s a huge electrical current and result in fires or they may also shoot off pieces of debris at such a high speed that they injure someone or damage other property.
How a Lightning Rod Works
A lightning rod is attached to the highest point of your home – whether that be your roof or some other point. From there it’s electrically bonded to the Earth through a conductor and an electrode. These allow for the electricity from a thunderstorm to safely pass through your home and disperse.
Finials are commonly made from copper or a copper alloy, but any type of conductive metal will work. They’re available in various types including solid or hollow poles, flat strips, and some are also bristle-shaped.
Determining Whether Your Home Needs a Lightning Rod on its Roof
Typically, finials aren’t installed on residential homes because most of these residences won’t every succumb to a lightning strike because they’re so small. This doesn’t mean that a home will never get struck by lightning. In fact, there are some homes that are victims of frequent strikes and when this happens the occupants inside will succumb to injuries or death while the home itself is also injured. Only you can determine whether you believe your home and its occupants are in danger. If this is something that you do indeed believe, then it wouldn’t hurt to have a lightning rod installed on your home’s roof. When choosing to do so, you’ll notice that the same materials and construction are used on your small home as are also used on larger buildings. The only real difference is that a larger building may have several of them installed whereas a small home would only need one.
Another important consideration you must remember when you’re thinking about installing finials in your home is your current insurance plan. While some of these automatically build lightning protection into them, others don’t. This is something that only your insurance provider can speak to you specifically about. They may even be able to inform you about discounts you’d be eligible for if you do choose to get finials installed.
Having a Lightning rod Installed on Your Roof
For those who don’t have finials already installed on your roof and who live in Florida, it may be time to take this topic into serious consideration. While lightning-strike distribution is fairly even throughout the United States today, there are some areas that do receive an unusually high number of them. This is caused by specific atmospheric traits, such as those that are found in Florida.
The reason these are so common here is that Florida has two sea breezes that intersect. These cause ground air to rise upward – something that triggers the state to have more thunderstorms than in other states. So, if you live in this state and want some protection added to your roof, make sure you contact Done Rite Roofing Inc. today.
Picture Credit: Bethany Laird