Protection against lightning through proper grounding systems is a crucial part of lightning protection for your buildings. Lightning energy is dissipated through these grounding systems safely into the ground. The grounding system is designed to minimize the potential rise of the ground voltage, therefore reducing the risk of injury to the occupants, pets, personnel and damage to equipment or property.
The main purpose of a grounding system is to allow the electrical energy (from an above-grade network) to be safely transferred into the surrounding native soil (earth). Lightning and surge protection devices work by dispersing voltage surges and spikes to a safe ground plane, such as the earth or a copper pipe inside a building, instead of directly reaching the electrical components they are protecting.
There is a major difference between earthing and grounding: Earthing entails connecting the circuit directly to the Earth, which is a ground with zero voltage potential. As opposed to “Grounding” where the circuit is not physically connected to ground, but its potential is zero.
A grounding connection that is improper can cause disasters sometimes, since lightning can find another route to the ground, such as through plumbing, which can cause the same effect as a lightning strike on a structure, resulting in fire. Even simple grounding is not recommended for such a system.
A lightning protection system intercepts this voltage, allowing lightning current to safely reach the ground. They do not reduce the risk of your home being struck by lightning, but they do provide a direct path to the ground, which prevents damage from fire, explosion, and electrical surges caused by lightning.
The majority of houses contain electrically conductive paths to ground, but there are some exceptions – such as camping/fishing cabins. The lightning’s direction of travel to the ground is completely out of your control in that case.