What is a Lightning Arrester?


Electricity powers our homes and businesses. It is a force that we seldom think about because it is just designed to work for us. With all of the currents traveling through the lines at any given time, there is actually a very high chance that the equipment can be overworked since it is used to power so many devices. This is where a lightning arrester comes in handy, according to experienced electrical contractors in Newport ( 

It is a device that is put in place to protect the electric currents that are traveling through the lines, especially during storms when lighting is a possibility. Its purpose is simple — it ensures that there are no surges, acting as a preventative measure for times when the voltage is too high. Placed parallel to the power lines, they are constantly working for us as we receive the power that we pay for.

Damages That Can Occur

Because electricity can travel so quickly, it can just as easily get out of hand. A lightning arrester is put into place as a way to regulate the current in case it is struck by lightning. If a big wave of energy attempts to pass through, the lightning arrester will divert it in order to avoid surging.

It is an efficient device because it only kicks in when it knows that it is needed. For example, if a traveling surge reaches the surge diverter, the lightning arrester then provides an alternative path for the current to flow through. If you think about it, this not only saves a lot of time but also a lot of money on costly repairs.

It is an important aspect of any power line because, if left un-diverted, the current can end up spoiling the insulation. This will create many problems as well as many dangers to those who are near the power line.

Without insulation, the line can become live or exposed and cause a risk of electrocution. Another potential problem that could occur without the lightning arrester in place is the burning out of the line in its entirety. When this happens, those connected to it will immediately lose power.

This becomes a race against time as the electric company must send people out to manually repair it.

How it Works

Lightning arresters can also work on a smaller scale, being placed interchangeably between power lines as well as in individual homes or businesses. You have likely seen lightning arresters before without even realizing what you are looking at!

They are the small, ribbed parts that are placed on the ends of power lines before they go into the ground. They almost look like short pieces of shields that wrap around the lines. These are an example of the commercial lightning arresters that are typically installed.

You are likely wondering how this small protective device is able to withstand being struck by lightning and you are not the only one. Many people become curious about how exactly these devices work.

You will most commonly find a lightning arrester at a point of entry, such as where the electrical lines meet the earth or near an electrical panel. The arrester is designed to kick in only when it needs to, proving to have a very ergonomic design. It does not stop lightning, as commonly misconceived.

The device has everything to do with the re-routing of the current instead. You can think about it as a barrier that takes away some of the power and then redirects it in order to not overload the lines.

By having lightning arresters in place, risks of damage are significantly reduced in areas where storms are common. Without this over surge of power also comes less of a risk of wildfires.

Why it is Important

Grounding is a very big issue when it comes to lightning. If you or your home are not grounded, you are placed at risk of being struck by lightning. Having a grounded home also means that any electronic devices that are powered on during storms have access to the ground in order to drain their energy.

If this electricity is simply stuck in these devices, you are going to be at a higher risk of experiencing a blowout in your home. This is not only scary but very dangerous as well. If you are unsure if your home is grounded properly, you can contact a local contractor to do an inspection for you.

When you know that your home is properly grounded, you should also double-check that you are protected by lightning arrestors. It is a good idea to check on this regularly as well in order to ensure that it is still working properly.

While the devices are designed to face the blows of lightning regularly, they can still become weak over time. A contractor should also be able to confirm this for you and your peace of mind. Surge protection is a topic that often goes undiscussed, but with the power of electricity, you never know when a lightning bolt is going to create more damage than your home is ready to handle.

Staying on top of routine maintenance of your home is going to keep you safe and ready for anything that comes your way.

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