1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

October 31, 2008

:305 Grounding Trees

Filed under: :305 Grounding Trees — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:22 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challange: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:305 EcoTip: Trees can be grounded with lightning rod systems to protect them against lightning strikes. This is especially important for trees near buildings since the lightning can jump from the tree to the structure.

Large Tree Struck By Lightning Courtesy of Lightning Rod Stuff
Large Tree Struck By Lightning

  Courtesy of Lightning Rod Stuff 


 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :303, :304

More information about grounding systems for trees is available from lightning rod stuff.

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October 30, 2008

:304 Surge Protection

Take the 1:5:10:365 challange: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:304 EcoTip: Rather than merely surge protecting your computer – consider having a whole house surge protector installed at your breaker panel to help protect your whole house.

Source: NOAA


 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

The following is an excerpt from my book – Extreme Weather Hits Home – Protecting Your Building From Climate Change

My family moved to Prescott, Arizona, in the late 1980s. Our home was a two-story on high ground near the middle of town. The public utility lines for our home ran along an alley at the back of the property. A transformer on the power pole served our home and our neighbors on either side. Arizona is known for some spectacular summer lightning storms.

Since the power poles were clearly the highest point in the vicinity, I was concerned about lightning strikes. Shortly after we moved into the home, I had lightning surge protection installed at the service panel for our home. Within that first year it proved to be a wise decision.

While our youngest daughter was in the bath one summer evening an unexpected lightning bolt (literally out of the blue) hit the power pole transformer at the back of our yard. Plumbing is typically grounded to the earth, but that does not always guarantee that the lightning will dissipate harmlessly. The house shook, the power went out and the transformer caught on fire, but in spite of my daughter being in the tub she was fine.

Many additional strikes quickly followed with brief but heavy rains, typical of Arizona summers. The rains, fortunately, extinguished the flames from the power pole. Other than no power for a few hours and the fried lightning protector that we had recently installed, everything else was

Our neighbors weren’t so lucky. The neighbor on one side had their refrigerator and some small appliances blown out. The neighbor on the other side had their television’s picture tube explode sending sparks into their living room. This lightning was probably a type known as “anvil to ground lightning” since the strike originates in the anvil-like head of thunder clouds. These lightning strikes frequently occur without warning well ahead of the main thunderstorm. This firsthand experience convinced me that lightning and surge protection were important additions and had probably saved our electrical appliances and possibly my daughter’s life.


Lightning flowed through the plumbing and electrical system and fried this laundry sink. Courtesy of www.lightningrodstuff.com

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October 3, 2008

:277 GFIC

Filed under: :277 GFIC — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 6:12 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:277 EcoTip: Ground Fault Interrupter Circuits are a from of electrical protection that can provide extra protection beyond that of the circuit breaker.

Everyone should be familiar with the GFICs that are required by code for protecting rooms with water like bathrooms, laundries, and kitchens. It also makes sense to use a GFIC protected extension cord when using electric trimmers, lawn mowers or power tools.


 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

The following is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission website:

The U S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends the use of a ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) with every power tool to protect against electrical shock hazards. Each year, CPSC learns of approximately 20 to 30 electrocution deaths associated with power drills, saws, sanders, hedge trimmers, and other electric power tools. Most of these deaths could be prevented by the use of a GFCI.

A GFCI constantly monitors current flowing in a circuit to sense any loss of current. If the current flowing through two circuit conductors differs by a very small amount, the GFCI instantly interrupts the current flow to prevent a lethal amount of electricity from reaching the consumer. The consumer may feet a painful shock but will not be electrocuted. Grounding may provide some protection for power equipment and double insulation of newer power tools presents lower risks of electrocution. However, GFCls are the most effective means for protecting consumers against electrical shock hazards.

Since 1973, homes built according to the National Electrical Code have varying degrees of GFCI protection. GFCIs were first required in outdoor receptacle circuits In 1973, bathrooms in 1975, garage wall outlets in 1978, some kitchen receptacles since 1987, and all receptacle outlets in unfinished basements and crawl spaces since 1990.

Three common types of GFCls are available for home use: circuit breaker, receptacle and portable types. The circuit breaker type needs to be installed by an electrician. The receptacle type may be installed by knowledgeable consumers familiar with electrical wiring practices. The portable GFCI needs no special knowledge to install Just plug the portable GFCI Into a wall receptacle and then plug the electric power tool into the GFCI. It is generally priced below $30 and is available at hardware stores, building supply centers and electrical supply houses.

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