Preventive maintenance is paramount to help prevent the damage of lightning strikes. Your existing lightning prevention systems performance is affected by many things. Similar to your electrical system corrosion, physical damage, facility modification and operational conditions all cause performance degradation.
Not only is climate changing faster than it has in the past 1,000 years, but the rate of temperature change is also starting to speed up, with an average rate of change of 0.2 to 0.6 degrees Celsius every decade. That’s according to a study from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). “We’re entering into a new phase of the climate,” lead researcher Steve Smith told weather.com. The frequency of lightning flashes could rise by an estimated 50 percent across the continental U.S. over the next century, (researchers reported in the journal of Science). That’s bad news for the oil and gas industries across the country, because, every lightning strike has a cost associated with it.
Increased direct and indirect lightning strikes will cause stress on your lightning protection system. The secondary effect of lightning spread out for miles. That poorly maintained lightning protection system is like not having one. The broken or disconnected ground and corroded connection may arc causing more damage to the lightning protection system and the facility. It is important to remember that the lightning protection system is working all the time and in a fraction of a second it is expected to jump to 100% operation.
Every lightning strike has a damage cost. We all understand that the direct lightning strikes cause damage that must be repaired and down time is just a cost you can never make up. An indirect strike causes damage and down time also. Often over looked is the need for additional preventive maintenance due to a lightning strike near your facility. Just because the facility did not go down does not indicate that there was not the possibility of long term damage.
Lightning Master is recommending increased inspection intervals to all of our customer. The lightning protection system must be inspected annually for corrosion security and proper installation. A post lightning strike facility inspection must include the lightning protection system. In addition visual inspection of the lightning protection system must be performed after an indirect lightning strike.