Saturday, September 1, 2007

Lightning Protection

From the moment the second floor of the house was framed, I worried about lighting strikes. I'm in a high mountain valley at about 2,200 feet with no really large trees around me. The house is situated in an old stone-walled pasture, and the trees that have started reclaiming the hillside are just starting to get some size. The house looked like a sitting target for a lightning strike.

There have been a lot of big storms this summer. Several times I've headed into the Catskills just as a storm rolled in and was astonished at the frequency of dramatic strikes on the mountain side. Mark had never installed lightning rods on any of his projects, which was kind of surprising, because every barn and house I've seen in the area has lightning rods—so many that you'd think there would be a lot of people in the business of installing them. But, there aren't. I turned to the Internet and found two sources, one in Vermont and one in Delaware. So, I called them to ask for quotes. The Vermont company faxed me a very detailed and elaborate plan, but it was more than twice what they had tentatively quoted me over the telephone. The other company, WB Lightning Rods out of Bear, Delaware gave me a quote about the same as the other company's telephone quote...and that was that.

William Burden turned out to be a great choice. I was a little nervous, because he didn't ask for a deposit (pretty unusual today), and he said that summer is the business' busiest season. But, true to his word, he arrived earlier today and within about six hours had the necessary four rods installed and the chimney also grounded.

I feel a lot better knowing that the system is in place, and I'm going to have my electrician also install a surge protector on the electric panel and the incoming telephone line. I've learned that lightning strikes can travel from telephone poles and public utility wires. When you start looking at the statistics for lightning strikes, you don't want to take any chances.

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