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Is it unnecessary overkill to have a whole-house surge protector and a lightning rod?

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While I am not an expert on the  subject, there are a  few reason for consideration. 1. ALOT are sales gimmicks. Have you ever been thru a older neighborhood that all the homes have lightning rods. This was a hugh sales push during the 50-60's.  2. Location of your home such as high ridges or areas with high mineral or high metallic soil. 3.Having a degree in fire protection they are appropriate surge and lightning arrestors that can be installed at the main electric panel.  Lighting commonly enters thru telephone or electric line from surges. Direct hits often lead to house fires and significant damage. Lightning is hard to predict where it hits and I don't know of any info that would guarantee installing them would eliminate or reduce the exposure. Just my thoughts.

Lightning seeks earth ground. A destructive path for that 20,000 amp electric surge is via a wooden church steeple destructively to earth. Wood is not a good conductor. So 20,000 amps creates a high voltage. 20,000 amps times a high voltage is high energy. Church steeple damaged.

Franklin installed a lightning rod. Now 20,000 amps is via a wire to an earthing electrode. Now that high current creates near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy. Nothing damaged.

Lightning seeks earth ground. A lightning strike to utility wires far down the street is a direct strike incoming to every household appliance destructively to earth. Appliances are not a good conductor. So lightning creates a high voltage. Lightning current times a high voltage is high energy. Appliances damaged.

For over 100 years, facilities that cannot have damage installed superior earthing connected low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') via one 'whole house' protector. Now that high current creates near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy. No appliance is damaged.

Describes is protection for a structure and for appliances.  Both have been well understood and proven by experience for over 100 years.

  Many foolishly install devices that would discharge the air.  Many foolishly buy protectors that do not have that 'always required' low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to single point earth ground.  Because advertising and hearsay recommend those bogus solutions.  Because many forget what was taught in science to have knowledge.

  Did you know that all telephone and cable wires already have and are required to have effective protection?  Lightning seeks earth ground.  A best and destructive connection to earth is incoming on AC mains.  And outgoing to earth via a telephone or cable line.  What is often damaged?  The outgoing path to earth.  Then the naive, using junk science reasoning, assume that surge entered on telephone or cable.  Assume using only observation.  Do not even know that superior protection must already exist on those incoming cables.  And then repost those popular urban myths - by ignoring basic concepts even taught in primary school science.

So what is the answer to the question of the poster??

 Which questions still need answers?

I was hoping for something resembling a monosyllabic response.

monosyllabic: saying very little, often in a way that gives an impression of unfriendliness or lack of intelligence.  Also called a soundbyte or propaganda.

  The closest thing to an honest monosyllabic response are those first four paragraphs that:

1) separates sales gimmicks from actual protection.

2) defines why soil content defined protection.

3) averts fire.

Lightning is not capricious as so many only assume.  Damage so easily averted as to be considered a human mistake.  Principles originally taught in elementary school science are reintroduced in those four paragraphs.  Sufficient information so that you can ask questions relevant to your unique venue.

Two solutions are both based in the same principle.  Either to protect a structure.  Or to protect its appliances.

To protect your house the best bet is a full grounding set up. The main breaker box should be grounded to earth via a copper wire, at least 6 gauge fastened to a fully in the ground copper clad ground stake. The electrical boxes in the home, (all of them should be connected to a ground circuit).

If you are situated on high ground, where the roof is higher than near-by trees, then a Lightening rod with a 4 guage wire, through stand offs, connected to a fully in the ground copper clad ground stake is worth the installation.

To protect appliances, a seperate box with a surge protector can be used, it will be expensive and unless you have a lot of computer equipment they aren't really necessary. Nice to have, yes but expense vrs benifit should be weighed. If you are building new construction, then yes, it is advisabe to install the surge protection.

Surge protection is for the electrial system of the house. Lightening rods are for house strike fire protection. Hope this is a clear explination.
Also, Lightening more often is from the ground to the sky than it is from the sky to the ground. Ths happens so fast, the human eye can not detect the actual direction. It's a matter of negative electrical vrs positive electrical charges building up, mother nature likes equilibrium and lightening bolts are the mechanisim that gets everything back to equilibrium.

You are confusing construction of a plasma path (in milliseconds) with something completely different.  The actual transient current is microseconds).

  It is electricity  That means current is everywhere and simultaneous in a path from a cloud to distant earthborne charges.  Does current flow fbetween cloud to earth via a structure or household appliances?  Yes means damage.  No means no damage.  Relevant is a microseconds current that oscillates (meaning it is not a DC current).



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