Lightning rods protect homes and businesses



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Posted on May 20, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Updated Thursday, May 20 at 6:25 PM

A single thunderstorm can produce up to 1,000 lightning strikes. With temperatures of each strike of over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a punch like that could ignite a house fire.

Lightning from storms last weekend and on Monday destroyed two homes -- one in Kyle, the other near Dripping Springs. But there is a way to protect your home and it works. Lightning rods.

"If the lightning rod system is in place and there's enough positive and negative energy right over the home, it would choose the lightning rods instead of a chimney," said Hector Tello, Certified Master Installer for Aerial Systems.

Hector Tello installs lightning rods for Aerial Systems. The technology of the lightning rod hasn't changed much since Benjamin Franklin invented it in 1749. In those days, lightning rods were as long as 4 feet. Today, they are only twelve inches long. They are just as effective, they look better on houses & businesses, and they cost less to make. It costs about $3,500 to install a home lightning rod system. The rods don't attract lightning, but instead act as a guide for electricity to flow safely to the ground.

"Every lightning rod, can't be more than 20 feet apart. So typically a house that size can take about three or four lightning rods, maybe five or six," said Tello.

According to a Texas A&M University study, lightning strikes an area the size of the University of Texas campus about two to three times a year. That's why most buildings in downtown Austin have lightning rods.

"Lightning will still strike, but at least it will travel to ground safely through the building," said Tello.

It's safety and a piece of mind for homeowners.

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