Hopefully the extent of most people’s electrical shock history is sticking their tongue on a 9v battery. However, those of us working in the electrical industry and those of you brave enough to do your own electrical repairs may have felt an electrical shock or two. Electrical shock can cause severe injuries and even death.
With the power of electricity in mind, our judicial system has utilized electricity in a couple of different ways, including the electric chair and tasers.
The electric chair was once the primary way of executing inmates. However, lethal injection has since taken over as the most commonly used method. The electric chair was invented in 1888 by Alfred P. Southwick. The idea came to him after watching a drunken man instantly die after touching a live electrical generator.
The electric chair works by forcing various cycles of alternating current through the body. Initially it induces unconsciousness and brain death, and then it fatally damages the organs. When a criminal was executed, electrodes would be attached to their spine, leg, and head and a wet sponge would be attached to their head and leg to increase conductivity. An initial 15 or 20 second surge of over 2,000 volts was sent through, followed by lower voltage for over a minute. While ballyhooed as a humane manner of capital punishment, the electric chair has not always been completely successful. There are a plethora of stories in regards to criminals who bled, caught fire, or convulsed before finally being pronounced dead.
The taser is an electroshock weapon; the main goal of which is to cause neuromuscular incapacitation, which is to essentially cause temporary paralysis by sending intense signals to the nervous system. The incapacitation from a taser is not based on pain, so it cannot be overcome even by someone with an incredible pain tolerance. The immediate effects of being tased disappear as soon as the pulse ends (although athletic-type muscle damage and confusion can remain).
A taser contains two barbed charge electrodes attached to long conductive wires, which are in turn attached to the gun’s electrical circuit, typically power driven by AA batteries. Pulling the trigger breaks open a compressed gas cartridge, and the pressure shoots the electrodes up to 20 feet. The damage caused from an electric shock is the result of the amount of current (amperage) being forced through the body (as well as the duration and power source) rather than the voltage. The taser uses about 50,000 volts which guarantees that the pulse will reach the anticipated mark and will temporarily cause a sizeable amount of pain, but with no lasting effects as a taser only generates a few milliamps of current.
If you're a homeowner, it is to be anticipated that at various points you will have to pay some attention to the electrical system in your home. Circuits trip, wires fray, and overtime your electrical needs may change. It can be tempting to hop on Google and attempt to do your electrical work yourself to save some money. But what good are those savings if you make a little mistake and end up hurting yourself? Below is a table explaning the benefits of call a professional vs. doing it yourself:
Doing it Yourself
Calling a professional
Free Labor. May, have to buy some things in bulk.
Labor, only pay for material used.
Can start ASAP, if you schedule permits doing so.
Are you up to date on the NEC?
You don't have to worry about being electrocuted.
Are you sure that is the problem?
Experts at electrical troubleshooting.
What you thought was a $20 fix has turned into a costly $400 error.
Free estimates (at Threewire Electric). Know what your project is going to cost.
If you decide to do your own electrical work then you need to know your cities requirements in regards to which electrical projects require permits. Of course this does not mean that just anyone is qualified to do this work. Unless you are well-versed in NFPA National Electric Code, there is a pretty good chance that some of your work will be rejected by the inspector, causing them to fail the inspection. This will only end up costing you more money and more time to fix. If you have never done any electrical work or are unsure about how to go about it, for your own safety it is best to call a licensed electrician. Give us a call today for a free estimate! Use offer code "Electric Time". 859-444-8505, ask for Mike
Ceiling fans can be a good way to save money on your energy bills this year. Having a ceiling fan installed in your home can alter a room into an enjoyable place to work or unwind. Ceiling fans can even create aesthetic interest if done correctly. The value of adding some additional wind power for little cost around your home should not be ignored. Check out these three reasons you should reflect on adding ceiling fans to your home.
Some Wind to Unwind
Not only does that breeze from your new ceiling fan feel nice on your face, it also feels nice on your wallet. Running a ceiling fan in the summer can make enough of an impact that you can actually set your thermostat a little higher than usual. When it's not scorching hot outside, you may even be able to turn off the air conditioning and turn on the ceiling fan with some help from open window. Just remember that during the summer months you want the air blowing down, which typically means the fans are spinning counter-clockwise. And let's be honest, spending less on your air conditioning bill will probably help you unwind a little easier at the end of the day.
Ceiling fan installation can even benefit you during the winter when heating your home. You're probably asking yourself, who wants a fan blowing on them in the winter? Well the great thing with most fans is that their rotation direction is able to be changed. Usually with the flip of a switch (when the fan is off), you can change the rotation direction of the fan to blow the air against the ceiling. The fan takes the warm air that has risen to the ceiling and then pushes it against the ceiling, then eventually down the walls to spread that warm air across the room. This money saving technique allows you to feel warmer in the winter without a draft and without forking over extra dollars to your electrical/gas provider.
Energy star appliances are offered for many areas of your home, including ceiling fans. Energy star qualified ceiling fans are over 50% more efficient than typical fan units and can help you save more money each year on your utility bills.
Electrical Panel Safety
If your electrical panel has fuses rather than circuit breakers, safety can be an issue. Even some electrical panels equipped with circuit breakers can pose safety hazards and should be upgraded.
Another reason toupgrade your electric panel is if it’s “too small,” essentially meaning that it doesn’t supply enough power. One sign of insufficient power is that fuses are frequently blowing or circuit breakers are flipping off. Another possibility is if a contractor has told you that your home or business needs more power for a new installation such as an air conditioner.
How do fuses and circuit breakers work?
If too much power were to flow into the wires in your home, they could melt, thus possibly causing a fire to start. If you were to accidentally touch a damaged, overloaded wire, an electrical shock could happen.
To prevent more electrical flow than the wires in your home are intended for, your electrical service panel is supposed to sense the problem and stop the flow immediately. When this happens in older electrical panels, a fuse should blow. In newer electrical panels, a circuit breaker should flip off. The purpose of both fuses and circuit breakers are to break the circuit and cut the power to your wires. Correctly operating circuit breakers (or fuses) are crucial for your family’s safety and the safety of your home.
How do I know if my electrical panel is too small and should be upgraded?
If circuit breakers are flipping or fuses are blowing frequently, it likely means that your electrical system needs to be enlarged or upgraded. Here are some typical situations which call for enlarging or upgrading an electrical system:
· A move to a home with an older undersized service
· Adding central air conditioning
· Adding an oven, hot tub, Jacuzzi, power equipment in your garage, etc.
· A room addition
· A renovation or remodel
Older electrical panels have fuses rather than circuit breakers. Back when fuse boxes used to be installed, homes needed significantly less power. Many fuse boxes were designed to handle 30-60 amps of power whereas the appliances and electronics in modern homes often necessitate 100-200 amps of power, sometimes more.
Fuse boxes can become overloaded, blowing fuses and shutting down your appliances. This is a clear inconvenience, and there’s always that enticement to buy bigger fuses so that they won’t blow so often. However, oversized fuses can allow overloading and overheating of wires.
A little recognized hazard of fuse boxes is that homeowners can inadvertently stick their fingers into the fuse opening, possibly while changing the fuse, and thus they can be electrocuted. The safest solution is to upgrade to modern circuit breakers.
Every home with electricity will have an electrical panel or a fuse box that distributes power throughout the home. That electricity is distributed using circuit breakers or fuses that are put in place to protect the wiring and the home. When something goes wrong with the electricity in your home this is what you go to and start flipping until the lights come back on. Panels in use today include Square D, Cutler-Hammer, Siemens, & GE These panels are well known brands that have a generally good reputation among the general public with the use and reliability of these panels. For several years there were two companies Zinsco and Federal Pacific that made electrical panels for the use in homes. These two companies are also well known brands but they have a generally bad reputation for the rate of failure and unreliability. Federal pacific has been associated with an immense amount of house fires and approximately 80% breaker failure rate. If you are a home owner that has the pleasure of having one of these wonderful panels in your home it might be a good idea to consider having it replaced.
If you haven't already heard about this wonderful new light bulb that will be available in the coming days here it is. Phillips has designed a light bulb that uses only 10 watts of electricity but has the light output of a standard 60 watt incandescent bulb. The rather strange looking bulb offers a more natural looking light than a compact fluorescent (curly bulb) and doesn't use harmful material's like mercury. It is expected to last 20 years with an average use of 4 hours a day and save consumers approximately $8 a year. The catch.....it costs $60. Phillips is offering discounts to some consumers (not commercial) where you could purchase the bulb for $50. They are working with utility companies to offer rebates to customers where you could purchase the bulb for $20-$30.
Eventually the U.S. will catch up to the rest of the world and phase out the use of incandescent bulbs and until they do I don't expect that everyone will be running out and picking up a box of four of these. This new light bulb will be duplicated by other companies and over time the cost will come down just like the CFL.
I often get asked the question "Why do my light bulbs keep burning out, it seems like I'm constantly replacing them." Light bulbs typically go out for one of a few reasons, the obvious one is it has simply reached its life expectancy and can not take any more. Sometimes bulbs are located near a door that gets shut too hard sometimes or near a door that is constantly used like near a garage door or the front door of your home that constantly jar's the bulb making it weaker and weaker each time. Another reason bulbs go out is because of slight variations in voltage. Voltage that supplies your home is constantly changing (maybe you will occasionally see your lights get brighter or more dim) and with the variation in voltage your bulbs will be affected unfortunately in a negative way. Finally, it doesn't pay off to buy cheap light bulbs. Believe it or not it makes a big difference in the brand of light bulb you buy, I'm not pushing any certain brand just don't buy the cheapest one on the shelf.
Compact florescent (CFL) bulbs are much more durable than a regular incandescent and will also save you money in the long run. Using CFL's in the areas where doors get slammed or need special attention will likely save you some headache and some money.
Whole house surge protection will solve most voltage variations by leveling out the voltage that is supplied to you home and ultimatly save the bulbs from burning out so quickly.
Cheap light bulbs are cheap. Your best bet to solve this predicament is not to buy cheap bulbs.
Considering we have had some disastrous weather recently I thought it would be a good idea to provide some information about surge protection. We most commonly think of power strips that we plug into a wall as a surge protector. Unfortunately most people don't realize that a power strip is not going to protect that brand new flat screen tv or computer you just bought, it is simply used to have more outlets to plug things in. There is a difference between a power strip and a surge protector.
Whole house surge protection can be installed in less than an hour for much less than the cost to replace a tv or computer. Typically when a home is affected by a significant surge it will ruin any electronics plugged into an outlet. Tv's, computers, microwaves, stoves, and most anything with sensitive electronics. We have installed many whole house surge protection systems but usually after someone experiences a huge loss do they have one installed. Do yourself a favor and protect your home before it's too late.