Busting 5 Electricity Myths
With electricity being used in almost every aspect of our lives, it’s important to know what’s true about how it works.
If you turn off your appliances and electronic devices, they’re off and stop using energy.
While this used to be true with older appliances and devices, newer technology today doesn’t always work that way. Many appliances and devices will still draw power, often just as much as they do when they’re on, just by being plugged in. These ‘off’ settings sometimes are more like standby or sleep settings, not powered all the way off so that they’re ready for the next use. However convenient that may be, they’re wasting electricity, and therefore, your money, so make sure they’re unplugged.
Wearing rubber makes handling live wires safe.
Shocking, right? Yes, rubber is an insulator, so electricity doesn’t travel through it naturally. Because of that, some folks believe that wearing rubber cleaning gloves or rubber rain boots protects them from harm while handling live electric wires. They have the right idea, but it’s not quite foolproof. Only pure rubber is an insulator, which is hard to find in your household items, often made with rubber and mixed with other chemicals. Using this hack may lessen conductivity, but can’t eliminate it, so they don’t offer you protection from electrocution. Better to leave the cleaning gloves for cleaning and the rain boots for stomping in puddles.
Overhead power lines are insulated.
If this were true, line workers would be working constantly to replace insulation, as most materials wouldn’t last more than a few months in outdoor and high-voltage conditions. That’s why the lines are so high up, where they can be exposed and out of reach. This makes fallen lines extremely dangerous, as the entire line is a live wire, posing the danger of immense currents and voltage levels.
The bottom pin on a plug just holds the plug in the outlet.
That bottom pin is called a ground pin, and while yes, it occasionally makes the connection more stable, it has a more important use. The ground pin provides a crucial safety feature, preventing injury, overheating, and electrical fires. It connects to a ground circuit, which is the path where electrical devices dump their extra current and voltage if there is a short or power surge. During these unpredictable electrical system problems, surges can cause overheating, melting lines, and fires. To avoid these, the extra energy flows through the ground circuit where it is safely grounded to keep your home and loved ones safe.
The voltage isn’t what hurts you, it’s the current.
While it’s true that higher voltage traveling with extremely low current is less dangerous, it doesn’t mean that it’s not dangerous. Both high and low voltages and high and low current levels can cause serious harm.
If current and voltage was like water flowing through a pipe, a pipe with a bigger diameter would have more voltage, and more water pressure would be more current level. So if you have a small pipe with a lot of pressure, the pressure would still hurt. Or, if you had a big pipe with a very slow flow, there would still be enough water to cause harm. With something like a fire hose, you have a fairly wide diameter, but since the water is under a ton of pressure, it could easily hurt you. Voltage at any current can be dangerous, so be cautious.