Winter is officially here, and with it, so are power shortages. They are, in part, caused by the outdated myths about electricity many of us continue believing. One of our mottos here at Baba mail is "knowledge is power." When the winter storms hit, and the power is down, use your myth-busting powers to save lives. Here we'll be pulling the plug on 9 deadly myths about electricity.
Plus, how come birds don't get electrocuted when they sit on power lines?
Let's use the right terminology: voltage isn't lethal, amperage is. As much as 1 ampere can cause fatal heart damage. An average household has 100 to 200 amps running through its circuits. So keep those fingers away from the power socket!
False! While some are, it would be unsafe to assume that all power lines are insulated, since the majority of them aren't. Insulation could also be lost in a storm. The bottom line is, it is simply never safe to touch power lines. The birds can do it though, since they don't touch the ground, thus closing the power circuit.
This is false. It depends on which surface the line falls on... But probably in 999 of 1000 cases, it will fall on a poor conductor, meaning the power line won't short circuit. Still, it is very much alive and dangerous! Stay 20 feet away from a fallen line. A fallen wire won't necessarily shoot sparks as well - only the hanging ones will. A power line that touches the ground won't spark.
Wood, like asphalt, is a poor conductor, but a conductor nonetheless. Wet wood is a much better conductor, thanks to water being an excellent conductor. Keep that in mind. 100% rubber gloves or shoes will also not conduct electricity. However, 100% rubber shoes aren't that easy to come by, and even your gloves may not be thick enough or truly 100% rubber. Take caution.
It depends. If you were to heat your entire home with electric heaters to the same temperature you would with an oil or gas furnace, the electric heaters would cost way more. But if you only use an electric heater in one room, or even in several rooms (only the occupied ones), then it would probably cost less than oil- or gas-fired furnaces.
False. Mose devices continue to use electricity when they're turned off. This is because they're not fully off. There's usually minimal activity still going on in the electrical device. If your device has a standby option, it will likely be about 100% off and not consume any electricity. This phenomenon is not what will spike your utility bill, but it is good to keep in mind for safety and sustainability reasons.
Now you can outsmart the ones who told you it takes a toll on the power to flick the lights on. There is no such thing as a startup penalty. This isn't like driving a manual gear car, where you travel gradually from first to fifth gear. Logic wins. You will always save energy by switching a device off. Tell that to the next person who tries to tell you it's better to leave the lights on continuously to save energy.
As every mother knows, it is best to steer clear of the power socket, as it can harm you. Household electricity has killed people before, especially when combined with water.
Fiberglass and wood are truly much safer than metal, but notice how we mention water-conductivity as a recurrent theme throughout this post. It is important to stress that a thing doesn't have to be drenched in water to become more conductive. Even the thinnest coat of dew will do. The only way to stay on the safe side is to work with de-energized circuits, or simply call a professional.