Our daily routine involves electricity of some sort, whether you glance at your alarm clock wash your clothes or use power tools, knowing the basics of how these things function will help you to be safe and take care of the appliances that are in your household.
To begin with, it is good to know how much voltage the appliance you are using needs to function. Most appliances run on either 120 or 220/240 volts. Your washing machine may run at 220 volts so therefore it needs to use one single outlet, whereas something smaller would run at 120 volts and it can share an outlet with something else. Think of it like water going through a pipe, the more water pressure is like more voltage being used. When thinking of voltage, something else to keep in mind is variation in voltage, which is expected in most appliances and can be handled fine with no problem unless you are using electrical equipment that is very sensitive.
Another important principle to understand in electricity is resistance. Resistance is measured in Ohms (Ω), and if you keep with the water in the pipes illustration, it means using a big enough pipe, or conductor, for the current needed. Not only is the size of the wire important, but also the material being used, this is why most metals are used in wiring because electrical current can easily pass through it. Copper is an ideal conductor and has a low resistance rate, and if using an extension cord make sure it is the correct size for the application. Hopefully, these basic explanations can help you to understand the electricity running throughout your house.
The feeling of not wanting to touch a car door or metal object because we know we will get that dreaded static shock is something many of us understand. But while it can be simply irritating most of the time, is there any reason for us to worry about it? Are there any types of situations when static electricity could be more than a simple irritation?
Because of the fact that the current is generally pretty low, a static shock doesn't usually pose a danger. However, static electricity can prove to be a danger under certain conditions and circumstances.
An example of this could be if flammable dust or vapors are detected in a building, it is possible that static electricity in an environment like this, could cause those vapors or dust to set alight, or even explode.
This probably sounds very unrealistic, but static build up from a person operating electronic equipment can actually affect the equipment being used.
A severe injury could happen if someone quickly recoils from a static shock while they are in the middle of doing some kind of task like carrying hot liquid etc.
Ways to prevent static shocks?
Consider getting a humidifier. This is a good choice because it helps to moisten the air. Try placing a few more plants around the home because plants are good natural humidifiers.
Fabric softener is a very good thing to have on hand, as it can help to reduce static. Try diluting a small amount in a spray bottle and giving your carpet a light spritz. It not only helps to reduce static build up on your carpet, but it smells nice too.
Natural fibers prevent static build much better than synthetic, so try wearing natural fabrics. An anti static wrist band is also an option to try.
While the majority of the time static electricity is just an irritation, there are some situations when it could become a problem.
Dave Graham, Tempest Home Inspection. Calgary Alberta