We are always told to never take a bath when it's lightning because of
the possibility of electrocution if the lightning travels through the
metal plumbing. This makes sense. But what if the plumbing connected
ot the tub is all plastic? These days we have PEX, CPVC, and other
plastic pipes supplying the water to the tub, and PVC drain pipes.
Since the tub is not connected to any metal plumbing, is there any
I'm not planning to take a bath or shower during a storm, but I just
heard this warning on tv again, and it got me wondering if there's any
danger with all plastic pipes. It kind of seems like this may be an
outdated warning, if one knows for sure there are no metal pipes
I have also heard that, but I have never been convinced. Since I will
admit I am not sure, there are a number of possibilities some fatal and some
not noticeable, I think I will just avoid taking shows during thunder
storms. Of course I would much rather watch and enjoy the storm than to
bath during it. I really like them. I grew up where the best part of
summer was watching out the kitchen window waiting for the lighting to hit
the big power line going into the electrical substation where it would
produce one lovely set of fireworks. I find a thunderstorm soothing.
Not very, and the pipes themselves are seldom in a position to be
struck. The problem comes from induction, which is only a problem in
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Thunderstorms? What are those?
Oh, yeah, now I remember; used to live in Chicago and Tucson, both of
which have spectacular lightning storms. But out here in the San
Francisco Beige Area? Nada, zip, nil. Maybe one good thunderclap in two
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conversation with the average voter.
Never knew that. I would seriously miss T&L storms. Fascinating to me.
Some of the still photo shots I've seen caught on high speed film are
I look at a bolt of lightning and see the future of energy when they
learn to harness it. Let Exxon & OPEC rot in hell. I know I'll never see
the day. Whether mankind does is questionable.
I miss 'em too; the drama, the raw power, the tree outside the house
split in half the night before. That's the stuff! I'm still a Midwest
boy at heart.
We have wimpy weather here by comparison. Few hailstorms, no tornadoes,
etc. Just a lot of fog ...
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
On Fri, 30 May 2008 17:20:56 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Mythbusters played with these things in the power company lab. and
figured out all sorts of bad things could happen in a lightnng storm
(shower, phone etc)
The main lesson was they had to lift the ground electrode cable to get
any of these bad things to happen. A properly bonded and grounded
house should be safe.
If everything is bonded you are a bird on a wire or a helicopter
The same basic principle is true in your surge protection but I am not
getting in that flame war.
On Sat, 31 May 2008 23:33:28 -0400, gfretwell wrote:
That is totally untrue. Lightning is static electricity, its going to
behave differently than your standard A/C 3-phase loop. This is like
saying because you have a lightning rod, you won't get struck by
lightning. The only thing a lightning rod means is you are less likely to
get struck, but if you do, it will be right in the rod.
So a "properly bonded and grounded" house will be less likely to get
struck, but if it is, it will be right in the "bond and ground."
There is no way around this. The only thing you have going for you is
Gauss' law. And that may not save your ass.
I read gfretwell as saying that with proper bonding there won't be
damaging voltage between parts of the electrical system. Like a "bird on
a wire", or perhaps 2 birds on the same wire that touch each other. With
proper grounding (earthing), the voltage of the system to 'earth' is
minimized. [But for protection from a direct strike to a house you need
Myhtbusters disconnected grounding (earthing) so there was dangerous
voltage between the system and 'earth'. [The mythbusters earthing was
probably much more effective than a house.]
Far as I have read, lightning rods do not reduce the probability of a
building being struck by lightning (although some manufacturers make
I know someone who was killed by talking on the telephone- landline
from Lightning . Ive been struck twice at my home, Lightning is not
something to enjoy. Do what you can, but dont risk it. Lighning moves
as 500000 v plasma by air killing anything
The bird on the wire analogy is bad. The bird is not "grounded" and
neither is the wire. So what in this analogy is grounded?
A lightning strike results when static builds up. Grounding the house,
and creating sharp pointy objects into the air is a way for the static
charge to leak off and disipate. However, if the build up is really
quick, then the lightning strike will be right in the same place that was
leaking off the static. The lightning rod.
A lightning rod is like a hole in a dam. They allow the charge to leak
through reducing the static electricity pressure. However, just as in a
dam, if the hole is not enough, then the burst will occur right at the
Protection might include a service panel surge suppressor and connecting
the phone and cable entry protectors to the 'ground' at the power
service. If you had a surge current to earth of 1000A and a very good
resistance to earth of 10 ohms, the power system ground will rise
10,000V above 'absolute' earth potential. Since the voltage on power and
phone wires is clamped to the power system 'ground', and the cable
ground is the same, all wires will rise to about 10,000V above absolute
ground. The voltage between the wires is safe for the connected
equipment. All the wiring is the 'wire'. The 'bird' is all the equipment
connected to the wiring. It also floats up to 10,000V but doesn't know
it. Similarly, gfretwell said "you" are the 'bird'.
A couple manufacturers claim their version of a lightning rod reduces
strikes by 'leaking' charge. Tests at NASA and elsewhere showed they
didn't reduce strikes. Everything I have read is that lightning rods are
just a relatively safe place for lightning to strike.
I am a fan of lightning rods. I took a direct hit on the lightning rod
above my weather station last summer and all I lost was the serial
port on the PC connected to it. The PC still works.
I am in SW Florida where ass kicking lightning is a daily thing for
half the year. I did lightning mitigation for a big corporation that
sells Business Machines Internationally. We had over a thousand
customers who couldn't turn off their machines and unplug them every
afternoon. We got pretty good at eliminating "surge" damage.
The biggest single thing I can say is you need good bonding practices.
Most people don't do that.
I would want to go look at the bonding and surge protection on any
phone that killed someone in a lightning storm. I bet you would have
cause for a wrongfull death suit against the phone company. If this is
something that you could normally expect to happen we would have
people dropping like flies around here all summer.
On Wed, 04 Jun 2008 09:37:49 -0400, gfretwell wrote:
Cable company did not ground my cable line. I did not know till o ne day
during a storm I saw sparks jump from behind the TV, and the cable model
and router attached to it went dead. Next day I went outside to look and
noticed there was no grounding. I chewed them out and told them to
replace my stuff. They rushed out and grounded it but send me to some
other department which I assume was the professional deny replacement
department. I let it go...
That pointy little rod will discharge miles of air between cloud and
ground? When ESE providers submitted their products approved by the
NFPA. NFPA had one simple problem. No proof and no research exists
that ESE devices (that discharge air) work as posted here.
If discharging air causes no lightnng, then the Empire State
Building (a conductive steel and concrete rod) is never struck?
Nonsense. Even a wooden structure is sufficiently conductive enough
to discharge that air. Why does lightning strike a wooden church
steeple? Because discharging inches of air does not stop lightning.
Lightning will strike. Does lightning strike a conductive material
(ie wood) destructively or does it strike a well earthed lightning
rod? How good is that lightning rod? Lightning energy gets
dissipated destructively in a building (ie wood) or gets dissipated
harmlessly in earth. Stopping lightning was the ESE manufacturer
claim made to NFPA. That claim was completely rejected.
Yes. The same force that causes the lightning between "cloud and ground"
also causes the static to leak off. Its the nature of static electricity.
Never said it causes no lightning. If you read somewhere that lightning
rods prevent lightning then it was not from me.
Its not condictivity that leaks off static charge. Its the pointyness.
You will have to undestand Gauss Law. A conductive structure that does
not have pointy tip will not leak off charge nearly as much as one that
does. That is why when you see devices that are trying to "create"
lightning by storing up charge, they will be as "unpointy" as possible.
And whats the most unpointy thing you can create? A shpere.
Stopping is an impossible claim. Unless it chases away the clouds...
Reasons posted were same reasons promoted the ESE protection
industry. That industry says pointed rods that discharge air will
then prevent lightning.
Meanwhile, research demonstrates that blunt rods are better
protectors than pointed ones. But both are irrelevant. That
lightning rod is made effective by its earthing.
For example, a FL couple suffered direct lightning strikes to an
exterior wall. They installed lightning rods. Lightning instead
struck that exterior wall again. Why? Bathroom plumbing connected to
deeper and more conductive earth. Lightning rods were only connected
to 8 foot rods in sand. Lightning seeks the better earth ground -
that plumbing inside the wall. To make lightning rods effective - too
divert lightning to earth on circuits that are not destructive - those
lightning rods must be connected (earthed) to better conductive soil
beneath the sand.
Just like in protectors - the lightning rod is only as effective as
its earth ground. Earth ground (not the lightning rod and not the
protector) provides protection.
Where he realizes it or not, dnoyeB posted ESE industry reasoning
that was roundly rejected by the National Fire Protection Association
- who write the National Electrical Code. ESE industry claims to stop
lightning by discharging the air.
What makes a shower safe from lightning? Need lightning pass
through a bathroom to obtain earth ground? If not, then any incoming
lightning path has been properly bonded (connected) to earth ground so
that lightning is diverted (non-destructively) into earth. What makes
that earthed connection better? Shorter wire. No sharp bends. Not
inside metallic conduit. Separated from other non-grounding wires.
Protection has always been about diverting lightning into earth
where energy is harmlessly dissipated. Any protector or lightning rod
that does not dissipate lightning harmlessly in earth is not effective
and violates the science as even demonstrated by Franklin in 1752.
Where is that energy dissipated? That is what provides protection.
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