Electricity, Basic Facts About Electrical Energy
Definition of electrical energy: it is a form of energy that involves charges. Examples of charges are, 1. Electrons. 2 protons. 3 charged atoms.
Definition of electric current. When charges move in a conductor, we say electric current has passed in that conductor. Just as we measure length using the metre, so is electricity measured using the ampere, symbol A.
Current in amperes is equal to quantity of charge moved divided by the time taken.
When current passes through a living tissue, it is called an electric shock. Electric current will always flow from high electric potential point to low electric potential point. For example if point A has say 100 electrons while point B has 10 electrons, A has higher potential than B. Thus electrons would flow from A to B in case a conductor connects the two. But direction of electric current is always opposite to that of electrons. preserve this for another day.
In kenya, mains electricity supplied for domestic use is 230 Volts. (The volt is a unit of measuring potential difference). Thus when your finger touches a live wire( wire carrying the 230V), your finger is at 230 V while the ground you are standing on is at 0 volts. The potential difference, 230 volts less 0 volts will drive a current through your body.
A person or animal is said to be electrocuted when the victim dies due to an electric shock. How fatal the electric current will be depends on the following factors.
1. Voltage of the supply. If you touch a live wire at 230 v, it is much less risky than if you touch 11000v. The higher the voltage, the greater the risk. A car battery at 12 volts may not give you any shock.
2.Size of the current. When the current is high, it is very risky. If you touch a live wire at 230 V but the current that goes through your body is only 0.00000001 A, you won't feel any shock. If the current that goes through your body is more than 8 mA, you may feel the shock.
3. Surrounding conditions. If you touch the live wire while wearing big insulating shoes, or any other insulator, youmay receive no or weak shock. But if you are stepping on wet or waterly floor, barefoot, the shock will be severe. Wetness reduces body's electrical resistance hence increasing size of current going through your body.
4. Path that the current goes through your body. If you hold live wire with you right hand and neutral wire with your left, the current will go through you chest hence the heart. You will die faster if electric current passes through your heart.
5. Duration that the current passes through your body. If you touch a live wire and remove the hand very fast, the shock is less severe. But if the contact time is prolonged, charges of more injuries or even death increases.
Piece of advice.
1. Always hire a qualified electrician to do installations and repair.
2. When mopping your house, switch off the extension sockets whose cables are on the floor from the walls.
3. Never use electrical budgets while bare foot and especially standing on a wet floor. Be on dry shoes or dry slippers when in the kitchen and using electrical cookers in the kitchen .
4. Earthing. Ask your electrician to ensure that all electrical gadgets are earthed well.
5. In case a victim is stack on a wire with electricity, never try to remove him with your hands. Of the meter box or the consumer unit is nearby, rush there and switch off the mains or the circuit breakers.
6. Ask the electrician where the safety measures are located and how to operate them. Let him teach you how to act during emergency.
7. In case of a fire, never use water to put off the flames. Use carbon based extinguishers.
8. Incase you were using electrical power in your house and then there is a blackout, disable all the circuits at the consumer unit. The reason being, you may not know which gadgets were ON and if so, which direction to push the switch to OFF position.
9. If you are going for a journey and by your projection you may stay two or more days, switch off power at the consumer unit( also called distribution box) and turn off the main gate valve supplying water to your house. You may receive a call from your neighbour saying a flood of water is pouring from your gate.
10. During electric installation, insist on high quality accessories. Poor quality accessories especially bulbs, switches and sockets can bring diasaster to your house. Never be a MISER with electrify. ANOTHER NAME FOR ELECTRICITY IS FIRE.
11. Never handle cookers, iron boxes or any other gadget that uses electricity with wet hands.
12. Replace faulty accessories soonest possible. Example, a switch that seems loose such that it makes the bulb to twinkle, soon the bulb will burn out. All electrical appliances requires that CONTACTS be firm.
13. Do not use too dim or too bright bulbs. Some people think that dim bulbs use less power. That is not true. What matters as as power consumption is concerned is the POWER RATING of that bulb. A bulb written (rated) 5W may give you more light energy ( lumens) than another written 7W if the 5W bulb is of high quality hence more expensive to buy. But of course cheaper to run and convenient to use. Reason is too dim light may spoil your eyes. Any queries on electrical installation and safety in your house? Comment below.
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