Lightning Cable Maintenance:
Statistics: A single lightning strike can deliver up to 100 million volts of electricity and hit a structure with the force comparable to that of a bomb. Lightning causes around 25,000 fires and approximately $5000 million dollars in property damage every year according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Summer is when most of these strikes happen. This is during thunderstorm season. In the North America, there are approximately 100,000 thunderstorms every year. But only 10% of those storms are severe according to our National Weather Service. In conjunction with Chimney Column Maintenance it is therefore wise for there to be lightening cable, lightning rod, and lightning grounding maintenance to insure that if there is water in the structure that it does not become suddenly electrified and superheated turning to steam and cause an extensive explosion.
Lightning How Strikes Occur:
The top of an industrial chimney is where most strikes can occur. As lightning storms move through an industrial area there typically is an ongoing discharge of electricity between the air and the top of the lightning rods on the chimney. If there is damage to the lightning rod cable and system there can be damage with a devastating explosion any place on the chimney dislodging large sections of masonry and causing major cracks.
The Neglected Lightening System:
When a system is not maintained, and a cable is broken somewhere on the chimney column the head of the chimney can be blown off. If there is a break in the lightning rod cable, perhaps from a previous strike where the cable is cut, there can be an explosion making a large hole in the chimney column at the place where the cable is broken. Lightning has been known to tear the tops of chimneys and split chimney columns down the center from top to bottom.
Checking The System:
Industrial Chimneys are required to be equipped with lightning rods. These systems need to be checked that they are continuous from the top of the stainless or copper points at the top of the chimney to their grounding systems attached to water lines or suitable ground below grade.
Damage To Other Structures:
A failed system on a chimney in turn can break other concrete & brick walls or structures, and ignite deadly fires and create more damage. Never underestimate the danger of an uninspected lightning protection system.
Bring Your Smokestack To Code:
Continental Chimney is able to install lightning protection for Industrial Smoke Stacks and Industrial Chimneys. We have highly trained professionals who have the industrial tooling and knowledge of codes and regulations to bring your lightning protection up to code.
Following topics in next month’s newsletter:
- Concrete Cap / Cast Iron Cap Maintenance
- Maintenance For Plumb Structure
- Aircraft Warning Light Maintenance
- Steel Breach Maintenance
- Brick Joint Maintenance
- Liner Maintenance