Lightning protection systems
primarily consist of five components: air terminals, down conductors,
grounding, bonding and surge protection.
Air terminals are commonly called "lightning rods". They provide
the strike point for the system. They take the direct strike of
the lightning bolt.
Down Conductors are the cables that connect the air terminals to the
grounding. Each air terminal is required to connect to at least
two paths to ground. This spreads the electric current along
several paths as well as providing redundancies.
Grounding can consist of ground rods, a counterpoise and/or ground
plates. The grounding is the component of the Lightning
protection system that dissipates the lightning strike into the
Bonding consists of making an electrical connection between the
lightning protection system and most near by metallic objects as well
as any metallic piping and the ground of the electrical system.
This prevents the lightning current from jumping to other metallic
objects or inducing current in those objects.
Surge Protection protects electrical equipment from voltage
surges. Voltage surges are quite common and can be caused by
nearby lightning or normal fluctuations in the power grid. Surge
protection should be installed on all incoming electrical services such
as power, phone and cable. Power surge protection generally
consists of two parts: a primary surge protector attached to the
circuit breaker panel that protects large electrical appliances such as
refrigerators, and additional smaller surge protectors that protect
electronic equipment such as computers and entertainment systems.