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Stay Safe and Grounded: Tips for Protecting Your Farm from Lightning Damage

Did you know that 90% of all lightning damage can be eliminated if the electrical system on the farm is properly grounded?

Proper grounding is essential for any electrical system, especially on a farm where lightning strikes can have drastic consequences. Lightning can cause significant damage to electrical systems and equipment such as controllers, alarm systems, or telephone dialers, resulting in costly repairs and potential safety hazards.

When lightning strikes an ungrounded electrical system, the electrical current can travel through the system and damage equipment or even start a fire. However, when an electrical system is properly grounded, the electrical current is redirected safely into the earth, minimizing the risk of damage or danger. Proper grounding on a farm can also help protect livestock, as lightning strikes can cause harm or even death to animals. It is crucial for farmers to ensure that their electrical systems are properly grounded to mitigate the risks of lightning damage and promote safety on the farm.

Here are some tips from Auburn University on proper electrical system grounding to defend your farm from lightning strikes.

1. It is important to have a single-point ground connection at the electrical service and generator(s).

One metal rod inserted into the ground to achieve electrical grounding

2. Grounding is typically achieved using a code-approved metal rod that is driven into the ground. An “Ufer” connection to the foundation rebar can also be used, especially in areas prone to drought.

3. To check if your electrical system is properly ground, you should call a certified electrician who will use a ground-resistance meter to ensure electrical resistance to earth ground is not more than 25 ohms.

Two metal rods inserted into the ground to achieve electrical grounding

4. Electrical resistance to earth ground greater than 25 ohms does not offer enough protection for your electrical systems. In this case, additional ground rods should be installed.

5. Ground rods installed into the soil directly beneath the control room floor are especially likely to be inadequate. This is because the soil beneath the control room does not contain enough moisture to make good contact with the ground rod.

6. In general, ground rods should be driven straight into the ground; not at an angle.

In conclusion, proper grounding is not just an essential component of electrical safety but also critical for protecting valuable farm equipment and livestock. By taking the necessary precautions to ground their electrical systems correctly, farmers can minimize the risks of lightning damage and ensure a safer working environment on their farms. For more tips to mitigate risk in farming, follow Agribusiness Risk Underwriters on LinkedIn.

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