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I have two chimneys, one of which sticks up much higher than the other and the rest of the house. Is installing a lightning rod as simple as attaching it to the taller chimney and running a suitably large gauge wire to a buried ground? Or does installing a lightning rod require an electrician, either due to complexity or code? (I live in New York State.)

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My understanding of lightning rods is that the general design is just as you describe, but you must contact the local electrical code enforcement for the exact specifications, equipment, and procedures. They may give you advice on how you can install this yourself or they may require you to have it professionally installed. After all you don't want to have happen to your house what happened to Mark Twain's house in NY. Mark Twain's lightning rod story

BTW it is my understanding that Twain's story is without any scientific basis even though it is delightful tale. Lightning rods actually don't attract lightning, but instead prevent it from striking in the first place. The idea is the sharp point on the rod discharges the charge in the earth induced by a charged cloud overhead.

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