Why Ground Bars Are Essential for Business & Home Lightening Protection

“Lightening never strikes in the same place twice.” But for insurers, it strikes over 250,000 times per year, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. In fact, according to the Lightening Protection Corporation, the cost of homeowners’ claims due to lightening strikes have increased dramatically – up 20% over the last three years (or a total of $882 million in insured losses). How can this be prevented? Lightening protection begins and ends with the use of ground bars.

How are Lightening and Ground Bars Connected?

Lightening protection is the practice of redirecting strikes towards the ground and away from where they can cause damage or even injury. Lightening is attracted to the surface of the earth, so ground bars are simple, affordable devices that can be installed to give lightening a clear path to the earth’s surface without damaging what’s most important to you.

Why Are Ground Bars Important to You Now?

Many buildings and homes have grounding systems that have passed electrical codes, but many of these systems were installed when electrical codes were lax and perhaps not as detailed or as stringent as today. In addition, numerous systems have been added to or modified by various contractors throughout the years – many of whom didn’t have a thorough understanding of grounding as a complete system. Therefore, a basic grasp of grounding bars and proper installation is essential to provide complete lightening protection.

How Exactly Does a Ground Bar Protect Me?

Simply put, the ground bar provides an end point for many devices within your business or home, which is then ultimately connected to a ground rod that is located outside and in the ground. The ground bars diminishes extraneous wires weaving throughout your structure to connect to the grounding wire. Instead, all connections are made to the ground bar that then connects to the ground rod using one conduction wire. If your structure is struck by lightening, the highly charged electrical strike is redirected to your grounding rod, preventing devastating damage to your equipment.

What You Need to Consider When Choosing a Ground Bar

In general, there are three key considerations when choosing the proper ground bars for your home or business: 1) The total number of connection locations, 2) The potential spaces required for future growth, 3) The size of the conductor and the linking terminals to be used.

How are Ground Bars Supplied?

In most cases, ground bars are sold as a kit. It usually includes the copper grounding, standoff insulators and mounting brackets. The brackets usually start at 2″ x 10″ and increase in size to 4″ x 72″. In addition, most ground bars incorporate a standard NEMA 3-hole pattern for bolted connection to universal compression lugs. However, if a basic ground bar does not suit your specifications, custom constructed ground bars are always available.

New Application/Consideration for Ground Bar Use – Home Theaters

The economy has caused huge shifts in the entertainment industry resulting in homeowners creating a movie-like atmosphere in their own domicile. Therefore, the uses of ground bars have become essential in protecting the explosive growth of this valuable, expensive equipment.

Ground Bars and Lightening Safety

Your local building inspector is still a wonderful source of accurate information regarding the suitable grounding precautions necessary in your community. However, it is wholly clear, that with the increasing expense and complexity of computers, entertainment equipment, and appliances, business and homeowners alike need to be preemptive when considering protection against lightening strikes.