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Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice!
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epowell
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:08 am    Post subject: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

Hi Folks
I'm from Canada and live in the Czech Republic with my partner in a HUGE 200 year old house > we had the roof re-done with aluminum, and the guys removed the lightning rod.

I wonder if anyone can offer some advice regarding how to get some lightning protection affordably... (partial DIY?).

I am wondering about materials compatibility with the aluminum roof??

Also, the house is SO TALL that we would have to hire a ladder-truck to get a guy on the roof.... but I saw some YT clips where they were running the wires inside the attic... this would make things much cheaper.

I am very skilled with handyman stuff and have done plenty of roofing and electrical myself throughout my life.... ....is this something I can consider doing myself?

Thanks so much for your help.

Ed
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epowell
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:35 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:51 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

The roofing company that removed them should be replacing them, especially since they probably got scrap value for what they removed.


Past that, large diameter copper rod
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epowell
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:23 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
The roofing company that removed them should be replacing them, especially since they probably got scrap value for what they removed.


Past that, large diameter copper rod


Yeah, those roofers (which are great guys actually) just ripped out the old one, and gave some story that because the old roof was slate and the new roof is aluminum, the old rod was not compatible >>> or something like that >>> you see my Czech speaking/understanding is not great, so these explanations were given to my wife/partner who is not technical and has a bad memory --- so since then I have it fixed in my mind that the aluminum roof needs a particular type of ROD??

But you are saying that a COPPER ROD is OK?
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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:31 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

You don't want to attach aluminum directly to copper due to electrolysis but nothing else is going to conduct like copper. The rods themselves can be steel but the cable or rod between it & the ground needs to be able to carry that load with as little resistance as possible, otherwise the lightning will find an easier path.
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Last edited by TDCTDI on Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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epowell
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:38 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
You don't want to attach aluminum directly to copper due to electrolysis but nothing else is going to conduct like copper. The rods themselves can be steel but the cable or rod between it & the ground needs to be able to carry that load with as little resistance as possible, otherwise the lightning will find an easier path.


Aha... so now I get it. Yes, the way the old rod was connected was it was attached directly to the roof on the outside - so yes, with the new aluminum roof if would have to be in contact with the aluminum if the cable would be run on the outside.

I am thinking to run the cable in the inside of the house, like in this vid @ 5:12
Link


any issues??

Thanks!
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epowell
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

This is what was on there before - you can see there are 2 very tall rods.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:33 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

attach them to the end of the house and home run them straight to the ground. no need to put them in the center of the roof.

like this

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:03 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

[email protected] wrote:
attach them to the end of the house and home run them straight to the ground. no need to put them in the center of the roof.

like this

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


OK.
The problem however with our house is that it is so high it is basically impossible to get up that high at the ends of the roof.

However the top of the roof has 2 little skylights for roof access - and full scaffolding which allow me to easily get up to the roof from the inside.

I was just there and realize that I can easily run 2 very long RODS directly thru the roof from the inside. I am wondering what would be the best and cheapest ROD MATERIAL to use? Stainless steel metal rod? ...or what about steel plumbing pipe? Or copper plumbing pipe? ...there is a huge bulk metal supply store near here with all sizes and lengths of metal rods. Maybe I should buy an 8 foot X 3/4" rod of basic steel? ...I guess it should be stainless?

What I am thinking is to run this ROD thru the aluminum roof by drilling a hole in the aluminum... and I can put the metal rod thru a slightly larger PVC pipe where it goes thru the aluminum roof to act as electrical insulation.

Good ideas?
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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:30 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

COPPER ROD! To heavy gauge copper wire.

Or attach the Copper lightening rods to those rectangular brick things protruding through the roof.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:44 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
COPPER ROD! To heavy gauge copper wire.

Or attach the Copper lightening rods to those rectangular brick things protruding through the roof.


Yes I intend to attach the RODS to the chimneys. The original rods were about 6 feet tall (off the roof). Do they need to be SO high/tall?

So I should get put solid copper rods? 1/2 inch thick??
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

You're asking people who are not experts about what you think is the right course of action. I know you want to save money, but spend it and do it right. If you run the rods directly through the roof you risk energizing the entire roof if you do get a strike - and that means a very large electrical load through the entire house. You want to risk your family to save a few bucks?

Your roofers were feeding you a load. Rods are typically separated and shielded from whatever they are mounted to just for that reason. Your roofing company owes you whatever they took off to be put back correctly.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:47 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

Letterman7 wrote:
You're asking people who are not experts about what you think is the right course of action. I know you want to save money, but spend it and do it right. If you run the rods directly through the roof you risk energizing the entire roof if you do get a strike - and that means a very large electrical load through the entire house. You want to risk your family to save a few bucks?

Your roofers were feeding you a load. Rods are typically separated and shielded from whatever they are mounted to just for that reason. Your roofing company owes you whatever they took off to be put back correctly.


Hi Letterman

No I'm not expecting 'definitive' advice from the Samba members, but hoped to get some general ideas quickly. I see I now need to seek out a forum where there will be experts for more detailed advice.

I think I now understand why the roofers just ripped it all off - because the original electrical cable connecting the RODS to the GROUND (which ran along the rooftop) was copper. and that wouldn't have worked with an aluminum roof. So they would have had to use aluminum cable - and install all of that again properly. > they actually did a very good job of the roof, and would have charged us extra for the ROD re-installation... but I agree that they should have simply re-installed the RODS and simply charged us! Strange..... they just told us that we should contact another company to deal with the RODS.

I will not try to get in touch with some experts for more detailed advice > but so far what I am thinking to do is to attach copper RODS to the brick chimneys. The brick chimney should not conduct electricity. Then attach the copper cable to the ROD - very well insulate that cable and run the insulated cable thru a skylight into the attic. From the attic down to the roof eaves - thru the wall to the outside wall and down to the ground.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:16 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

I'd make it from Aluminum bar, not copper.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:26 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

I know nothing about lightning conductors but isn't having the charge come inside the roof risking either a fire (all that nice dry old wood) or it jumping to your electrics/plumbing? this seems to me a situation for the professionals - either guidance or fitting, then you will be covered if sh!t happens.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:02 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

Just my opinion from reading this thread and using what I know about metals.

The price of copper is up there. A solid copper rod would cost a fortune. $200.00USD alone for a 3/4x6ft rod alone. Maybe think about a copper alloy, or aluminum. The roofers did you a favor by removing what was there. However, whether or not it was discussed, I don't know. The rods need to be totally isolated. If left there, the roof becomes a huge conductor unlike when it was slate. Corrosion from dissimilar metals is another concern. Also voiding the warranty on your new roof if you drill through it. As mentioned, something like this, I would ask professional advice. It's nice to get some input though to get you thinking about it.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:32 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

raydog wrote:
Just my opinion from reading this thread and using what I know about metals.

The price of copper is up there. A solid copper rod would cost a fortune. $200.00USD alone for a 3/4x6ft rod alone. Maybe think about a copper alloy, or aluminum. The roofers did you a favor by removing what was there. However, whether or not it was discussed, I don't know. The rods need to be totally isolated. If left there, the roof becomes a huge conductor unlike when it was slate. Corrosion from dissimilar metals is another concern. Also voiding the warranty on your new roof if you drill through it. As mentioned, something like this, I would ask professional advice. It's nice to get some input though to get you thinking about it.


Yes exactly... I'm not expecting expert advice here on SAMBA. I just registered with 6 DIY HOME REPAIRS forums... perhaps some well-informed people over there.

To be honest, I would just pay to have it done, but the house belongs to my partner/commonlaw wife, and as a matter of principle I agree to pay half for such things... there has to be 'some' financial discipline or everything will get out of hand.

But she doesn't think the risk is high enough to bother - and she doesn't trust that I could do the job safely....

So it's a trick situation.

- - -

from what I am learning here, I don't think drilling the roof would be wise. Currently I am thinking best to attach the RODS to the chimneys, and run the cables (insulated) thru to tiny little roof-access skylights which are directly beside the chimneys.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:45 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

raydog wrote:
Just my opinion from reading this thread and using what I know about metals.

The price of copper is up there. A solid copper rod would cost a fortune. $200.00USD alone for a 3/4x6ft rod alone. Maybe think about a copper alloy, or aluminum. The roofers did you a favor by removing what was there. However, whether or not it was discussed, I don't know. The rods need to be totally isolated. If left there, the roof becomes a huge conductor unlike when it was slate. Corrosion from dissimilar metals is another concern. Also voiding the warranty on your new roof if you drill through it. As mentioned, something like this, I would ask professional advice. It's nice to get some input though to get you thinking about it.


In Florida, the grounding rod is required to be solid copper. The building code of jurisdiction will prevail. If the local jurisdiction has no codified requirement, I'd go with the best possible, regardless of price. Just as I would with tires and brakes on my car. Some safety things you don't want to skimp on just to save a couple of bucks on the front end. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

why have I got the song 'let's go fly a kite!' in my head? Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Lightning Rods - SEEKING advice! Reply with quote

67 Florida Deluxe wrote:
In Florida, the grounding rod is required to be solid copper.

That's the part that you drive into the ground. The wire to the roof can be copper, then the rod Al.
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