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Residential Wiring - The Right Way!
Electrical Wiring and Safety
Electrical Dangers in the Home
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Lets first start out by stating that electricity at the atomic level is the movement of electrons. It has been around since the beginning of time, however until recent centuries no one knew how to make good use of it, lightning for instance has always existed. Without electricity there would be no TV's, radios, transmitting devices, computers, even the moon landing would not have been possible without electricity. Of course our own bodies has a nightmare of nerve wiring in each of us.
At the atomic level, electrons move in rings around the nucleus of an atom. Certain materials have an unique ability at the atomic level to be able to with some urging (force) to dislodge outer ring electrons into the next atom which in turn will dislodge an electron into the following atom, the materials that does this well are considered to be good conductors of electricity. Other materials have great difficulty or cannot at all dislodge the outer ring electrons, and these materials are considered to be good insulators from the flow of electricity.
The use of electricity in the modern era has become a necessity, could anyone now imagine a life without it? Even though there is a world of uses for electricity, extreme danger lies from its misuse rather intentional or not, it is something that you must give the up most respect to, electricity can harm and it can KILL. The early inventors / designers for electricity proved the dangers of electricity through the invention of the electric chair as a way to execute death roll prisoners.
For the home electricity system to work, the electricity must have a return trip to the point of generation, without a return electricity does not flow. Look at the high power transmission lines on those tall towers, high power electrical transmission line are often bare wires, held to the towers and separated from other wires by highly insulated ties. Ever wondered why birds that land on these wires survive without even a burnt feather? That is because electricity could not flow through the bird because there was no return path through the bird to ground or point of the origin generator. If that same bird was able to also touch the tower or another wire at the same time, well.... the only thing that would remain is some dust in the wind. Birds however are small enough they are unlikely to be able to touch two wires at the same time (lucky for them).
I remember back (I mean way way back) in high school, the teacher in one class had a small hand cranked generator on display in the classroom, at some point in time just for kicks (after all I was a young dumb teenager at the time) I put my finger into the light socket of this generator and cranked the generator handle and got a bit of a tingle through my fingers from the small amount of electricity flowing, the teacher I guess to prove a point to me picked up a strong portable magnet and dropped in on top of the hand cranked generator, well that little trill of an electrical tingle came a major jolt to which I quickly pulled away from, now days the teacher could have gotten into major trouble for doing something like that but that was late sixties or very early seventies. Having only one hand that completed the electrical path was also safer than if the completed path was through both hands as that would have taken the flow of electricity through the body and heart which is highly dangerous.
What I am going to cover here among other electrical dangers, is to never allow a situation in which the completion path of electrical flow could ever go through a person.
All metals that I am aware of are conductive materials, water is also conductive. moisture is conductive, living bodies are conductive (well non living is also conductive but they are already dead).
Children are always curious and small children love to look and help, working with live electricity is NOT the place for children to learn, they can wait until they are much older. Have someone else watch them at a safe distance. The person that is in contact with you in the unfortunate event that you do get subjected to an electrical shock will also get hit with electricity. What is worse is another person touching you could change the path in that what would have been an electrical shock through only one hand will now be through your one hand through your chest and out to the other person touching you on the other hand to a ground on their other hand which now could be fatal.
Also never allow your children to experiment with the insides of electronic devices, tube type TV's require several thousand votes in some sections of it in order to operate and light up the picture tube, something that can hold a high voltage charge long after the power cord has been unplugged. I once had a question on a forum I used to be on from someone who was considering allowing their 12 year to play around inside to learn more about how it operates, trust me this is not the place to learn without supervision from someone that understands it well.
Here is a 'home electrical safety checklist' I came across that would be worth your time to go through (will open in a new tab / window)...
Baby and Toddler Home Safety Checklist...
Select from the following Scenario's (in no particular order)....
Here is an interesting page, find the dangers in this room (will open in a new tab / window)
Written: Dec. 26. 2011
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Donald Kerr / Wiring Done Right