Well fellow Houstonians, it seems that our great city is now known as the “Lightning Capital of Texas,” according to a team of atmospheric scientists at Texas A&M University. Their 12-year lightning research study (published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres and the science magazine Nature) revealed that Houston experiences more lightning than any other area in Texas. During the period from 1989 to 2000, the Houston area encountered 1.6 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes, with 75% of them occurring in summer months.
In recent years, a few of our homeowners have chosen to protect their custom homes from lightning damage by installing a “concealed lightning protection system.” This type of system allows for complete protection from lightning damage while simultaneously preserving the exterior beauty of their home. Upon completion of a home, the only evidence of this protection feature appears in the air terminals, or “lightning rods,” that extend from the roofline. As in the following photos, some homeowners even choose lightning rods that are decorative finials to enhance the design and architecture of their home.
Usually, our clients consider a lightning protection system if their home:
- is located in an isolated, open area
- is situated on a hill or near a large body of water
- is located in an area or neighborhood that has a high number of thunderstorms or previous instances of lightning damage
- has tall trees overhanging the roof
- has a metal, brick or stone chimney
- has a standing seam metal roof
Unlike other lightning protection systems, a concealed system must be installed while the home is under construction. The copper cables used within the system are connected to “lightning rods” which extend 10+ inches beyond the rooftop, then run along the inside of the attic space, down the bare-stud-walls, and exit outside the home just above the foundation line. These cables are connected to ground rounds, which are placed around the home’s perimeter and are designed to successfully direct any electrical charge of a potential lightning strike away from the home.
Below are photos of one of our recent homes-in-progress following installation of a concealed lightning protection system. As you’ll notice, the air terminals or “lightning rods” extending from the roofline are the only visible components of this type of protection system.