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Why does the United States not require lightning arrestors (TVSS) on residential buildings?

Azeem asks us: Why is it we do not see lightning arrestors on top of residential buildings? Also is it necessary to connect water lines and various other metal parts of the building to the grounding system?

Hi Azeem,

Thank you for your question regarding lightning protection and grounding, it is our pleasure to help.

In the United States there are very few residential requirements for lighting protection.  But this is not unusual, as the United States is well behind the rest of the developed world in regards to lightning protection requirements across the board.  There are a number of reasons why this currently the case, but it mostly has to do with some frivolous lawsuits that were brought against the NFPA several years back by some manufacturers that wanted to sell questionable lightning protection systems inside the United States.  Most of these law suits have now been resolved, but now the governing bodies lack the desire to bring more stringent code to the US.

In any case, lighting arrestors are a simple and cost effective way to provide great protection to homes, regardless of their altitude.  E&S Grounding Solutions highly recommends the installation of TVSS systems.

In regards the bonding of water pipes and other metal parts of the buildings to the grounding system, the answer is “yes”.  You must bond all of the metal components together to the ground system, this includes the rebar in the concrete, the electrical grounding system, the water pipes, the gas pipes, the Telco ground, the cable ground, swimming pool equipotential grounds, etc.  This is mandatory under every known code and regulation the world over, just for basic electrical systems.  Lighting Protection Systems have even greater needs for this mandatory bonding requirements.  Please visit our blog and search for “lightning protection” and you will find several articles on this subject.

We hope this helps.  Feel free to contact us again in the future should you have any additional questions.

Best regards,

The Engineering Team at E&S Grounding Solutions


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