Electrical Safety Tips For This Monsoon

Electrical Safety tips For this Monsoon

Marked with regular rainfall, thunderstorms, high winds, and floods, the rainy season could see a lot of electrical accidents, especially since water is a good conductor of electricity.

However, that informs the need for us to be more alert while dealing with electrical appliances this monsoon.

Here are a few electrical safety tips you must need in this monsoon:
1. Avoid Flooded Areas:

Everyone is advised to stay indoors or to find the closest shelter in the event of rain or storm.  But if you have to go out, it would be wise to avoid flooded areas, especially those close to heavy electrical equipment.

2. Stay away from power lines during a Storm, Rain:

The human body is a ready conductor of electricity and as such,  It is advised that you stay at least 10 feet away from a power line and anything touching it. 

The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This way, it will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.

3. Never leave Cut Wires astray:

In cases where you have wires on the floor or lying on the road in your area, it will be wise to either get a DisCo official to reconnect or safely tuck away the wires before the event of a rainstorm. 

These wires may cause severe electrical hazards if they come in contact with water (provided current is flowing through the wire).

4. Avoid outdoor electrical tasks during rainfall:

Avoid high altitude during rainfall, as that presents a real danger of being struck by lightning – especially when climbing poles. 

Never attempt electrical chores if you are not a trained engineer but if you have to, avoid doing this under the rain.

5. Take caution when close to Water:

Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or bare feet, always use caution when operating electrical appliances near water sources and all appliances.

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8 steps to maintain safety when wiring your house

When installing any type of wire or wiring system, there is always a risk involved.  Hurting yourself, someone else or loss of property if the wires are not properly installed are some of the dangers involved.

There are however proactive measures that can be taken when you are working with or installing wires.

1. Check codes and permits

Check out local codes and pull permits as they set standards for everything from how many outlets you’ll put in each room to what kind of wire you’ll be using.

2. Watch out for existing infrastructure

Part of avoiding damage is making sure nobody punches holes in plumbing or existing wiring. Live by the words “Ask twice, drill once” to be on the safer side

3. Clean up and restoration

If dealing with a damage done by rewiring, make cleanup and restoration as early as possible.

4. Aim for “home runs” for key areas and appliances

These are when a wire runs directly from a circuit breaker to an outlet, with no other devices on that breaker, thus reducing loads on the power system and keep popped breakers to a minimum, creating a balanced system.

5. Make sure the power is off

Make sure the power is always off before starting any electrical work and if possible make sure everyone in the area knows it is turned off for a reason. It may seem logical but it’s critical for a safe work environment

6. Wear safety glasses and protective clothing

Covering your eyes is a must when dealing with electricity to avoid sparks or other debris to get in your eyes.

7. Have the right tools on hand

Having the right tools for a wire installation is important. Some tools include: a voltage tester, wire cutters, wire and cable strippers, needle nose pliers, continuity tester, and others.

8. Check with your electrician

It is best to have a trusted, professional electrician do any electrical project. But if you are handling it yourself, follow all safety precautions from the beginning to the end of a project to help ensure the safety of you, your neighbors and your property. It will also guarantee the longevity.

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How to Choose the right electrical wire?

Whenever you shop for electrical wire, you will see that there are numbers of types and sizes from which you have to choose from. So different types of wire are made for different uses, but with any of these wire types knowing the right wire sizes or gauge, is key to making the right choices. Wire gauge refers to the physical size of the wire, rated with numerical designation that runs opposite to the diameter of the conductors . In other words, the smaller the wire gauge number, the larger the wire diameter.

Common sizes include 1.00 sq. mm, 1.50 sq. mm, 2.50 sq. mm, 4.00 sq. mm. The wire size shows how much current can safely pass through the wire. For standard non-metallic(NM) cable, these amperage capacities are

  • 0.50 sq. mm : 4 amps
  • 0.75 sq. mm : 8 amps
  • 1.00 sq. mm : 12 amps
  • 1.50 sq. mm : 16 amps
  • 2.50 sq. mm : 22 amps
  • 4.00 sq. mm : 29 amps

These ratings are for standard copper NM sheathed cable, but there are instances where these amperage ratings vary. Check all the wires and rates here

Stranded vs. Solid Wire

One more thing to keep in mind is to select the style of wire that best fits your needs. Some wire is stranded, while other wire consists of a solid copper conductor. In installations using metal conduit, the solid wire doesn’t always pull as easily if the conduit has a large number of bends. But solid wire is usually easier to secure under screw terminals, such as those found on standard switches and receptacles.

Why wire gauge is important?

Incase of overloading wire and overheating them, circuit breakers or fuses gives good protection but they are not much reliable and not  a foolproof protection. Both circuit breakers and fuse are designed to sense current loads to “trip” or “blow” before the wires can overheat up to the danger point.

There is the potential for danger anytime a device or appliance tries to draw more power on a circuit than the wire gauge is rated for. For example, plugging a heater rated for 22 amps into a 16-amp circuit wired with 1.50 sq. mm wire poses a distinct danger.

Differently it will be very safe by plugging appliances with moderate electric load into circuit with heavier gauge and a higher amperage rating. So, for example, running a laptop computer with a very small amperage demand on a 22-amp circuit wired with 2.50 sq. mm wire is perfectly fine.

Wire UseRated Amp capacityWire Gauge
Low-voltage lighting and lamp cords12 amps1.00 sq. mm
Light fixtures, lamps, lighting circuits16 amps1.50 sq. mm
Kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor receptacles (outlets);120-volt air conditioners22 amps2.50 sq. mm
Electric clothes dryers, 240-volt window air conditioners,electric water heaters29 amps4.00 sq. mm
Cooktops and ranges37-51 amps6 & 10 sq. mm
Electric furnaces, large electric heaters68 amps16.00 sq. mm

You can find your best wire here: just click here.

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How to deal with short circuits

There are various causes which can cause a short circuit. The most common is when a circuit breaker trip and causes the circuit to shut off and there are other conditions like power overloads. Therefore it is very important to determine why the breaker is tripping. Whenever the circuit breaker trips after being reset, then this shows that there is a wiring problem along the circuit or in one of the appliances connected to that circuit.

The procedure to find out if you suspect a short circuit:

  1. Locate the tripped circuit breaker: At the main service panel, look for an individual circuit breaker with a handle that has snapped to the OFF position. Some breakers may have a red or orange window indicator to make it easy to spot. This tripped breaker will identify the circuit where the problem exists. Leave the circuit breaker OFF as you inspect along the circuit.
  2. Inspect appliance power cords: Inspect all the power cords plugged into outlets along the circuit that has tripped. If you find any that are damaged or on which the plastic insulation has melted, there is a good chance the short circuit is within the appliance or device itself. Unplug these appliances from the circuit. If you find suspect appliances, switch the circuit breaker back on after unplugging them. If the circuit now remains active without tripping again, it is very certain that your problem existed in an appliance. However, if the circuit breaker trips again immediately, proceed to the next step.
  3. Turn off all light and appliance switches along the circuit. Then, turn the circuit breaker back to the ON position.
  4. Turn on each light switch or appliance switch, one at a time. If you reach a switch that causes the circuit breaker to trip again, you have identified the section of circuit wiring where a loose connection or wiring problem exists.
  5. Repair the circuit wiring problem. This is a step that may require the help of a professional electrician. Do not attempt this unless you are very confident about your knowledge and skill level. This repair will involve shutting off the circuit, then opening up outlet and switch boxes to inspect the wires and wire connections and making any repairs that are necessary.

If you cannot find any obvious problem in one of the plug-in appliance or fixture wiring connections, the problem is likely hidden somewhere in the wall wiring. Solving this problem will require you to call a licensed electrician to deal with it. Do not reactivate the circuit until the problem has been identified and repaired—doing so poses a risk of fire and shock to you and your family. Any smell of smoke or signs of charring or melted plastic is a sign you have a serious problem.

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When does an Electric Short Circuit Occur

When does an Electric Short Circuit Occur

Short Circuit Meaning

As the name implies, a short circuit is a condition where electrical flow completes its circuit journey via a shorter distance than is present in the established wiring. By nature, electricity seeks to return to the ground, and in a properly functioning circuit, this means that the current flow through the established wiring circuit, back to the service panel, and onward back through the utility wires. However, if the connections within the wiring loosen or break, electrical current may “leak” and flow into other materials. It this condition, the current instantly seeks to flow back to the ground by a shorter pathway. That pathway may very well be through flammable materials or even through a human being, which is why a short circuit presents the danger of fire or lethal shock.

The reason this happens is that these other materials offer a pathway of lesser resistance that is present in the copper wiring of a circuit. For example, in a light switch with faulty wiring or a loose wire connection, if the bare copper hot wire touches the metal electrical box or a metal faceplate on the switch, the current will leap toward whatever path of least resistance exists—which could well be through the finger, hand, and body of whoever touches the switch.

Causes of Short Circuits

Broken Circuit wire insulation

The wire which is old or damaged insulation will allow neutral and hot wires to touch, which will lead to the main cause of short circuit. With the passage of time nail and screw can puncture and can cause wire casings to deteriorate and allow short circuits. Animals like mice, rats, squirrels chew on circuit wiring, then inner wire conductors can be exposed to cause short circuits.

Loose wire connections

Any type of attachments can loosen, which will sometimes allow both neutral and live wires to touch. Fixing broken wire connections is difficult and will be best handled by a good electrician.

Broken or loose appliance wiring

Whenever any appliances are plugged into an outlet, then that wiring becomes an extension of the circuit, and if there is any problem in the wiring then it will become circuit problems. Old or broken appliances can develop inner short circuits over time. Short circuits in appliances can occur in the plugs, in the power cords or inside the device itself. It’s best to have a technician look at shorts in larger appliances such as ovens and dishwashers. Smaller appliances such as lamps often can be rewired yourself.

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Electrical Wiring Color Coding System

Opening up an outlet or light switch box, you might be confronted with a bewildering array of wires of different colors. Black, white, bare copper, and other colors closely intermingle, yet each one has its own specific purpose. Knowing the purpose of each wire will keep you safe and your house’s electrical system in top working order.

Electrical Cable and Wire Color Markings

Non-metallic (or NM) 120-volt and the 240-volt electrical cable come in two main parts: the outer plastic sheathing (or jacket) and the inner, color-coded wires. The sheathing binds the inner wires together, and its outer markings indicate the number of wires and size of wire (gauge) within the sheathing. The color of the sheathing indicates recommended usages. For example, white sheathing means that the inner wires are 14-gauge and yellow sheathing indicates that they are 12-gauge.

But looking deeper, the color of the wires inside of the sheathing reveals that different colored wires serve different purposes. The National Electrical Code (NEC)says that white or gray must be used for neutral conductors and that bare copper or green wires must be used as ground wires. Beyond that are general, industry-accepted rules about wire color that indicate their purpose.

Black Wires: Hot

Black insulation is always used for hot wires and is common in most standard household circuits.

The term “hot” is used for source wires that carry power from the electric service panel to a destination, such as a light or an outlet. Even though you are permitted to use a white wire as a hot wire by marking it with electrical tape, the opposite is not recommended or allowed. In other words, do not use a black wire as a neutral or ground wire, or for any purpose other than for carrying live electrical loads.

Red Wires: Hot

Red wires are used to designate hot wires.

Red wires are sometimes used as the second hot wire in 240-volt installations. Another useful application for red wires is to interconnect hardwired smoke detectors so that if one alarm is triggered all of the others go off simultaneously.

White Wires With Black or Red Tape: Hot

When a white wire is augmented with a red or black color marking, this often indicates that it is being used as a hot wire rather than a neutral wire. Typically, this is indicated with a band of black or red electrical tape (but other colors may be used) wrapped around the wire’s insulation.

For instance, a white wire in a two-wire cable may be used for the second hot wire on a 240-volt appliance or outlet circuit. This white wire should be looped several times around with black electrical tape to show that it is being used for something other than a neutral. 

Bare Copper Wires: Ground

Bare copper wires are the most common type of wire used for grounding.

All electrical devices must be grounded. In the event of a fault, grounding provides a safe pathway for electricity to travel. The current literally passes back to the ground or earth. Bare copper wires connect to electrical devices, such as switches, outlets, and fixtures, as well as metal appliance frames or housings. Metal electrical boxes also need their own ground connection because they are made of a conductive material. Plastic boxes are nonconductive and do not need to be grounded.

Green Wires: Ground

Green insulated wires are sometimes used for grounding.

Ground screws on electrical devices are often painted green, too. Never use a green wire for any purpose other than for grounding.

Green wire insulation
Claire Cohen 

White or Gray Wires: Neutral

White or gray indicates a neutral wire.

When examining a white or gray wire, make certain that it has not been wrapped in electrical tape. This would indicate a hot wire. Older wires sometimes may lose their electrical tape wrapping. So, if the box has a loose loop of tape inside of it, there is the possibility that it may have come off of the neutral wire.

The term neutral can be dangerously deceiving as it appears to imply a non-electrified wire. It is important to note that neutral wires may also be carrying power and can shock you. While wires designated as hot (black or red insulated wires) carry power from the service panel (breaker box) to the device, neutral wires carry power back to the service panel. Thus, both hot and neutral wires have the potential to shock and injure you.

Blue and Yellow Wires

Blue and yellow wires are sometimes used as hot wires inside electrical conduit.

blue and yellow wires insulation
Claire Cohen

Rarely are blue and yellow wires found in NM cable. Blue wires are commonly used for travelers in a three-way and four-way switch applications.

Source : The Spruce

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May Is National Electrical Safety Month.

Electrical hazards in the workplace can cause serious injuries and fatalities if workers and employers do not take appropriate safety precautions. To raise awareness of National Electrical Safety Month, which takes place in May, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) created a campaign that educates audiences about how to prevent injuries, fatalities, and property loss associated with electrical accidents, including fires. The campaign offers a wide range of resources, including fact sheets, tools to help promote electrical safety, and media outreach materials that will help employers establish an effective electrical safety awareness campaign in the workplace.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the following are examples of injuries that electrical workers are exposed to:

Electrical shock injuries: These injuries are caused by direct contact to an electrical wire or equipment and require immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage.
Burn injuries: Electrical burns from direct contact with currents, or thermal burns from arc flashes or blasts are very serious. Arc flashes can cause deadly burns within seconds.
Fall injuries: When working from ladders or in other high locations, workers can fall from heights. In addition, they can be exposed to electrical currents from live wires.
Death by electrical shock: If a worker is exposed to too much current for a prolonged period, it can have fatal consequences.
Electrical Safety Tips for the Workplace
Electrical hazards can cause a range of serious safety issues, including fires, property loss, injuries, and fatalities. Fortunately, many of these issues can be avoided by taking simple safety precautions, including the following:

Indoor Safety Tips
Replace all electric cords that are damaged, frayed, or cracking. Avoid overloading electrical outlets, as this is a fire hazard.
Extensions cords should only be used on a temporary basis, and not for permanent household wiring.
Avoid running wires under carpets or rugs. Electrical cords should not be nailed to walls or floors.
Never place electrical appliances or tools near water. If an appliance has become wet, turn off the power breaker, then unplug the appliance and remove it from the water.
If children are in the vicinity, use outlet covers. Never insert anything into an electrical outlet, other than an electrical plug.
If you notice any flickering lights, sparks, or outlets that do not work, contact a licensed electrical contractor to ensure that the system is functioning properly.
Outdoor Safety Tips
Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. Never touch them or try to move them. Call 911 or a local utility company immediately and let them know that power lines are down.
When using a ladder or working on an elevated area, watch for overhead power lines.
Some utility lines are underground, so be sure to check the area for utility lines, pipes, or cables before digging or excavating in the area.
Do not plant trees in the vicinity of power lines or utility equipment.

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Electrical Fires & Safety

A weekly article that will offer information concerning the Kilgore Fire Department and provide safety tips for home and family.

When we think about electricity, we think about electric current. Electric current is the power running along wires in our home and generates heat as it travels. The electrical current is like water running through a hose. The size of the cord can carry only so much electricity before it starts to overheat. The insulation on home wiring, fuses, and other parts of the electrical system are all designed to carry a certain amount of electricity safely. The more electricity you draw along a cord, the more quickly it heats up. For instance, an appliance like a space heater can draw a lot of current and needs to be plugged in with a properly designed cord.

Extension cords

The plugs on cords are the places where heat builds up and the more cords you connect together, the more trouble spots you have. The connection between an extension cord and an appliance cord does not have the same safety features as those that are built into a wall socket. That is why extension cords are for temporary use only.

Maintenance

Electrical wiring needs maintenance and inspections. Have your electrical system examined by a licensed electrician every 10 years, All electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician who obtains a permit when required. The permit process protects homeowners by requiring that an inspector check that the work is done correctly.

Arc-fault circuit interruptor

The AF-CI is a new device designed to actually reduce the likelihood of fires. It responds to arcing and sparking within a circuit before the circuit breaker or fuse trips. The AFCI breaker trips to help prevent the fire from occurring in the first place. The AFCI is installed at the electrical panel. AFCIs are mostly found in newly built homes, but can easily be installed in older homes equipped with circuit breakers.

Ground fault circuit interrupter

Installing GFCI receptacles can reduce deaths from electrical shock in and around the home by two-thirds. GFCIs should be installed by a qualified electrician in places near water such as kitchen counters, bathrooms and other areas subject to moisture, including outdoors.

Next week will be another article on electrical safety.

Stay S.A.F.F.E.,

credit: kilgore news herald

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3 Best Ethernet Cables to Buy in 2019

In every part of the world, access to the internet can be done through wired networks or wireless network. For the wireless network, all you need is a router with a high-speed network and has the ability to connect to devices without having to physically connect wires to the router. As for the wired network, it is done through the use of Ethernet cables. These cables are used to connect various devices on the local area network (LANs). These include routers, PCs as well as switches.

As different cables get into the market, it is important to do your research on the best cables so that you are able to get the most outstanding experience. Ensure that you know the difference between the various types of cables available in the market.

1. Cat6 patch cords.

These are manufactured and tested to conform to all the necessary standards for Cat6 communications. Each lead is made with high-quality Cat6 plugs, highly flexible PVC sheath and stranded copper conductors. Between the cable and plug is a boot to provide strain relief and protection to the cable. The low profile design of the boot means it is ideal for use in high-density installations.

Features

· Guaranteed performance to 250MHz

· The particular saw-tooth design of jacket towards the inner can enhance the resistance of alien crosstalk

· The unique design of the PE cross reduces the NEXT and RL and provides better transmission.

· Superior cable flexibility from stranded cores

· Boot maintains correct bend radius to ensure maximum performance

· Connector? 8P8C, RJ45, 50-inch gold plating

· Flame Retardancy is verified according to IEC 60332-1-2.

· RoHS compliant.

2. Cat5e Patch Cords

The Cat5e patch cords are designed and individually tested for connecting the network equipment to a patch panel and network user outlet. They are warranted for cat5e TIA/EIA-568-B-2.1 June 2002 Channel test on a Permanent Link certified for transmission frequencies of up to 100 MHz

Features

· Light identification by plastic optical fiber,

· Many lengths 2 feet (0.6 m) up to 16 feet (4.9 m) for patch panel and terminal link,

· Color cable: Black with white marking,

· Color boot: Grey with white marking,

· The movable color clip, 16 colors available,

· Packaging: boxes of 12 pieces, depending on the length,

· Available in cross patch cord,

· Marking on the boot: length and P/N,

· Unique serial number marking on the cable,

· Individually tested: each patch cord is individually tested,

· Electrical performance tests performed on a sampling basis (1000 Base T Warranty) (Return Loss, Attenuation, NEXT, etc…)

3. Ethernet Bulk cables

These bulk cables come with Optical Fiber Identification. Available in 6 lengths from 0.6 m to 4.9 m. Conforms to EIA/TIA 568-B2.2-1 category 6 and comes with a 25-year guarantee for use in category 6 channels inter-operable with any cabling system.

Features

· Black sheath

· Grey boot to distinguish it from black booted category 5e patch cords

· Part number and length printed on the boot

· Compatible with color-coded Patch Clips for the first level of identification

Quality Control

· 100% testing of electrical and optical properties

· Test results saved onto a database

· Each patch cord identified by a unique serial number

· Plastic cross web unshielded (UTP) and individually foil shielded pairs (FTP)

· PVC sheath for UTP cables and zero halogens (LSOH) sheath for FTP cables

credit: tgdaily

Dignity Cables

Rural/Metro Fire: Electrical safety in the home tips

Electrical fires are responsible for over 60 percent of accidental residential fires, according to Rural/Metro Fire Department.

Most of these malfunctions are due to improper use of extension cords and power strips.

Rural Metro wants to remind the community to remember the following safety tips when using electrical equipment:

  1. Remember that extension cords are for temporary use only, such as using a shop Vac for your car or using a string trimmer for your yard. Never use an extension cord for long term use such as a refrigerator.
  2. Never plug an extension cord into a power strip. This can overheat and cause a fire, especially when used with high power loads.
  3. Power strips can only be used for low power such as computers or AV equipment. Never use a power strip for high power loads such as space heaters, microwaves, coffee pots, or refrigerators. This can cause a serious fire in your home or office.
  4. Never run extension cords through ceilings, or staple to walls. Again, they are for temporary use.
  5. Finally, never run any cord under a rug. The cords can fray, get pinched and prevents the cord from releasing heat and could lead to a fire.

credit: kvoa.com