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Lightning Protection System Inspection and Maintenance

July 9, 2020

Your lightning protection design engineer has taken special precautions to provide corrosion protection, along with sizing the components according to their specific exposure to potential lightning damage. Regardless, even the best lightning protection systems (LPS) available require regular maintenance and inspection.

Corrosion factors, weather-related damage, and stroke damage can cause system components to lose their effectiveness over time. Regular maintenance of lightning protection systems can significantly slow this wear-and-tear. Additionally, both the physical and electrical characteristics of a lightning protection system must be maintained in order to remain compliant with design requirements.

A comprehensive Lightning Protection System inspection and maintenance checklist will help building owners comply with existing system certifications, and industry safety standards, while simultaneously ensuring a longer lifespan for their systems.

How often should you inspect your lightning protection system?

It is recommended that all Lightning Protection Systems be visually inspected at least once per year. In some areas where severe climatic change occurs, it might be advisable to instead visually inspect systems semi-annually, or following extreme changes in ambient temperatures.

Complete and in-depth inspections should occur on all systems every 3-5 years.

It is recommended that critical systems have an in-depth inspection every 1-3 years (depending on occupancy and environment where the protected structure is located).

Intervals between inspections

The intervals between inspections should be determined by the following factors:

  • Classification of the structure/area protected
  • Level of protection afforded by the system
  • Immediate environment (corrosive atmospheres)
  • Materials that system components are made of
  • Type of surface the lightning protection components are attached to
  • Trouble reports or complaints

Visual Inspections

Visual inspections are generally conducted to ascertain the following:

  1. The system is in good repair
  2. There are no loose connections that might result in high-resistance joints
  3. No part of the system has been weakened by corrosion or vibration
  4. All down conductors and grounding electrodes are intact (non-severed)
  5. All conductors and system components are fastened securely to their mounting surfaces as required (protected against accidental mechanical displacement)
  6. No additions or alterations have been made to the protected structure which would require additional protection
  7. No visual indication of damage to surge suppression (overvoltage) devices
  8. The system complies in all respects with the current edition of NFPA 780

Keeping Record of Test Data

The inspector (or inspection authority) should compile and maintain records of the following elements of a lightning protection system inspection and maintenance report:

  1. General condition of air terminals, conductors, and other components
  2. General condition of corrosion-protection measures
  3. Secure attachment of conductors and components
  4. Resistance measurements of various parts of the grounding electrode system
  5. Any variations from the requirements contained in this standard

If inspection indicates that you need new surge suppression equipment, lightning protection, or lightning warning solutions, VFC is here to help. We are a premier lightning protection company that works with companies around the world. Want to learn more? Get in touch today.