Well, lightning (no e) can go almost anywhere it "wants" but it's
headed to the earth. Since most of your pipe down to the water is
underground, and the earch around the pipe isn't bone dry or even very
dry (is it?) I doubt it would do that. I think it would head from the
pipe straight to the ground. But what do I know?
Also lightning tends to hit high things and pointed things. If your
well is nearer your house than the height of the house, or nearer a
tree than the height of the tree, it might not be too attractive.
And your pipe and cap are probably not pointed.
There was a lightning hotline 25 years ago. Maybe it's still around.
OTOH, the person on the phone kept assuming I lived in Florida and
seemed to wonder why I was asking if I didn't live in Florida.
Actually the "point" is to deter lightning by streaming negatively charged
ions in the rod's vicinity. In this sense, it actually repels lightning. If
the lightning bolt does not take the hint, however, the rod - with or
without a point - will attempt to channel the current to the earth.
There is a company that sells lightning protection that allegedly works
like that. It doesn't work. Their devices do work as lightning rods. On
the other hand, the limited research that has been done is that a
somewhat rounded rod end is slightly more effective as a lightning rod
than a sharp point.
Lightning would be happy to hit the well cap. As someone said, there are
probably higher targets. Lightning rods work by being higher than the
building they protect.
There is a very light chance of a problem in a shower. But I believe the
advice from "experts" is to not take a shower. And to not use a wired phone.
And by being pointed. Bub is right. I forgot and had it that part
wrong. I'm still not sure of the details and it's too hot here to
look it up, but somehow the pointed and high nature of the lighning
rods with their points discharges, or something, the likely target and
makes lightning much less likely to strike. Because if lightning did
strike the lightning rod, the relatively small diameter wire that
leads to the ground could never carry 1/100th of the current it would
have to, would probably vaporize if metal can do that, but at least
melt, and the house and its contents would have to carry much of the
lightning to ground.
Somone told me a story about selling lightning rods and one of his
customers broke off the "needles" because he thought it looked nicer
that way, but they work either not at all or not much without the
There is an alternate protection scheme that claims that their systems
prevent strikes. It is not accepted by lightning researchers and the
lightning protection industry. Lightning starts with a stepped leader
that descends from the clouds in steps. The path of the stepped leader
will not be affected by a lightning rod. The final step is to an upward
leader from something connected to earth. The emitters in the alternate
scheme do not prevent strikes - tests include NASA and airports.
One source of details (fairly technical) is:
Lightning rods are designed to be the closest point on a building for
the final descent step. They are higher than the building. They work by
being the preferential point for lightning to strike (if it is going to
strike the building). The source above says "properly designed
conventional lightning protection systems ... provide lightning
attachment points and paths for the lightning current to follow from the
attachment points into the ground without harm to the protected structure."
The only research I have heard of is that the most effective point on
the end of a rod is about 5/8" diameter, and there is not much
difference anyway. (One source is an engineer that designs lightning
(Lightning rods are now called air terminals.)
Complete nonsense. Lightning rod down conductors are plenty large enough
to carry the full lightning strike. You need far less conductor for the
about 0.01 millisecond duration of lightning than you would need for a
continuous current. Lightning rod systems get hit all the time and
remain intact and effective.
The proof by anecdote. The building was hit by lightning? Or someone
thought the rods wouldn't work? (But I wouldn't advise changing an
Metal or PVC pipe? Assuming you mean metal, it would be highly
unlikely but possible. It is looking for ground and it found it so
why would it go back up to your shower? However if the whole volume
of water built up a charge (unlikely), it may be possible. The whole
scenario changes though if the lightning hits the house instead of the
well head pipe.
Since anything is poosible, just to be safe, I have a suggestion.
Avoid the possibility by not using the shower if lightning (no e)
Instead, go outside in the rain and wash up au natural.
I believe that there's a pipe about 2 feet tall with a cap sticking
out of the ground that you could rest your soap and shampoo on.
On Tue, 10 Aug 2010 17:52:45 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
Yea, but it would be best if he lays down on his back, rather than
standing up like in a shower. Lightning hits the highest object, so
if he lays down there is less chance of getting hit. However, a word
of caution. DO NOT lay down near a "sexy" member of the opposite sex.
If he begins getting an erection, his dick becomes the highest object.
And if lightning strikes, there goes the family jewels up in smoke....
I try to stay out of the shower when lightening is in the area.
I remember one instance in our area where lightning hit a tree that
was 30 feet or more from a feller's house. The lightning followed the
shallow roots of the tree right over to the foundation of the house,
went up the wall of the house and popped open a hole in the drywall
just above the head of the sleeping homeowner in his bedroom.
Lightning is flat out unpredictable.
Several times in the old farmhouse my mother grew up in, lightning hit
the cistern pump at the back of the house, jumpedthrough the doorway
to the aluminum edge trim of the kitchen counter, from there to the
Findlay Oval cookstove, and from there to the sink which was grounded
to the wellwater pump - blowing chips of enamel off the stove and the
sink each time.
Hit the old oak tree in front of the house numerous times too. - and
the lightning rods on both the house and the barn. The farmstead stood
(actually still stands) on a hill - out in the open with nothing else
around, about a mile and a half downstream of the Conestoga Dam in
Ontario Canada - and the old oak was about 3 times as tall as the
I've seen three rather strong instances with lightning that would keep me
out of the shower. In all three cases, the strike was close enough to cause
a scare or damage.
1. The utility pole outside on the street is the last one on the street and
it has a guy wire to anchor it on the side with no lines. When a strike
hit, there was enough power to blow out a trough of dirt from the cable to
the curb and blow out a 6" hunk of curbing. Power was not lost.
2. During a storm, lighting hit someplace nearby. My family room slider has
an aluminum frame at ground level. There was an arc that went from the door
frame to the baseboard heat under the sofa, a distance of about 6 feet.
3. About 6 weeks ago, it hit someplace outside. The arc(s) burned a hole
in the downspout where it was a few inches from a spotlight fixture. It
burned the bulbs, the inside plug and a controller and receptacle, travelled
from the detached garage, back into the house, blew out a breaker in the
main panel and took out my TV, Receiver, doorbell, DSL modem.
In all cases, the hit was never pinpointed but the power surge was enough to
show its ugly head. Could have been 10 feet, 100 feet, or a half mile.
I'd stay out of the shower.
Once, I was playing Nintendo during a thunderstorm, holding a controller
with my sweat soaked hands, and I received a light shock through the
controller when lightning struck off in the distance.
It seemed so odd considering that the strike wasn't even very close.
There were at lest several seconds delay between light and sound.
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