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Lightning strikes during storms pose dangers to your safety and your property. A high-voltage current surge can cause extensive damage and even an electrical fire. To reduce or eliminate that risk, you can install a lightning arrester. Certain classes of arresters are suitable for particular areas. Class 1 arresters can dissipate much more current than class 2 arresters. Therefore, you should not install a class 2 arrester in a class 1 area since it will lead to catastrophic damage.

What Is a Lightning Arrester

A lightning arrester is a device used along power lines located outside of a residence, usually next to transformers. The arrester is characterized by a spiral shape made of metal that is placed on the line to protect the nearby electrical system. 

If there is a lightning strike during a storm, a high-voltage current surges into the electrical line and is mitigated. The arrester immediately diverts the surge around the home and into the ground or earth.

Arresters are also classified according to their functions. Whether you need to protect a single-phase or three-phase supply, there are multiple classes to choose from.

How Does a Lightning Arrester Work?

A lightning arrester does not prevent lightning from striking a home or business. It is typically installed between the power line and the home, substation, or circuit breakers

Lightning rods differ from arresters in that they are passive rods that absorb lightning strikes and send them through an attached cable to the ground. The electrical circuits still run the risk of being affected by the sudden surge in power when using a lightning rod only.

A lightning arrester has a high voltage terminal and a ground terminal. The current spike naturally wants to flow to the electrical components. This is where the lightning arrester comes in. It diverts excess current into a predetermined location.

What Are the Key Features of a Surge (Lightning) Arrester?

These are the features and functions of surge/lightning arresters:

  • A properly working lightning arrester breaks down quickly when exposed to an abnormal voltage over the rated breakdown value. A “breakdown” refers to the function of the lightning arrester wherein the insulation inside breaks down momentarily so that the voltage surge can be directed to the ground.
  • It should divert the current at the precise moment that the transient voltage reaches the rated breakdown threshold.
  • The spark-over voltage must go beyond the usual power frequency occurring in the system for the device to work. It shouldn’t be electrically conductive under normal conditions.
  • Lastly, the lightning arrester should channel the discharged electrical energy without losing its durability when these breakdowns happen.

Ideal Location for a Surge (Lightning) Arrester

The ideal placement for an arrester is anywhere close to whatever needs protection. It will usually link the phase or electrical supply to the electrical panel and protect it from surges. You may also need a surge diverter with certain power supplies. Call us so we can help you better understand your electrical needs.

Dependable Surge (Lightning) Arrester Installation

Electrical devices and appliances are indispensable, especially for those who work from home. Purchasing a device to protect your property from lightning is easily the best investment you can make for yourself. Call U.S. Electric today for a professional, dependable installation by one of our expert electricians. We also offer many other electrical services to meet your needs.