We all use electricity on a daily basis, but many of us don’t actually know a whole lot about it. This could be the reason to why there are common myths and misconceptions about electricity.
Our Professional Electricians have created a compelling list of the 8 most common myths about electricity, as well as the truth behind them.
1. Myth Busted: Electricity travels at the speed of light
This seems to make sense, as electricity provides light, and therefore, we associate the two as the same thing. Electricity travels at around 270,000 km/s through copper or silver (which are the best conductors), whereas light travels at around 300,000 km/s. However, electricity will travel slower if the material it travels through is a poor conductor.
2. Myth Busted: The electrical current depends on the size of the cable
Some people believe that thinner cables will carry more electricity as it must be concentrated to fit through such a thin cable. Others will believe that big thick cables have more electricity flowing through them because there is more space for it to travel. In actual fact, the size of a cable often depends on how much resistance is needed for the electricity to flow. Therefore, touching a live small cable could provide just as much shock as touching a thick one.
3. Myth Busted: Wires with low voltage are safe to work on
Whilst it is common knowledge that high volts can kill, many believe that low voltage will cause a smaller electric shock. In actual fact, the amps in electricity are able to kill, rather than the actual voltage running through the wire. Just one amp is strong enough to cause extreme heart irregularities and has the potential to kill, even with low voltage on the line.
4. Myth Busted: Power lines are safe to touch
It is believed that around 90% of residential power lines are uninsulated, meaning that there is no protection on the wire. Even the power lines that are insulated can be damaged by storms. Humans should never come into contact with power lines unless they are a licensed electrician with the correct training and tools. Birds are able to sit on power lines because there is no path to the ground for the electricity to travel through.
5. Myth Busted: Wood is not a conductor of electricity
Wood is actually just a poor conductor of electricity, and whilst wood can be a good insulator, there is the possibility that electricity can penetrate it. Wet wood is able to conduct even more electricity and therefore it’s important to take care around any wood that has the potential to be energised.
6. Myth Busted: Rubber shoes and gloves are insulated
Rubber is not a conductor of electricity, but only when it is 100% rubber. Often rubber shoes and gloves are mixed with other materials and additives to make them cheaper to produce, and these materials will likely conduct electricity. Never attempt to touch wires with rubber equipment as it could be fatal. Always contact a licensed electrical contractor if you require electrical work.
7. Myth Busted: A fallen wire will short circuit
Whilst wires can short circuit when they come into contact with a surface, this is due to the surface being a good conductor. If a live wire falls onto a surface with poor conductivity such as wood or asphalt, the wire will not short circuit and could potentially still shock someone. Ensure to stay at least 20 feet away from a fallen wire until it has been deemed safe by a licensed electrician.
8. Myth Busted: Residential homes have safe electricity due to lower voltage
It would be reassuring to know that electricity in our homes could not harm us, but this is simply not the case. After learning previously that one amp is enough to kill a human, it’s important to keep in mind that the average home has around 100-200 amps of electricity running through it at a time.
There are many common misconceptions surrounding electricity which could potentially be dangerous and could end up causing some serious harm to those who believe the myths.
Always contact a licensed electrician to attend to any electrical issues in your home. This not only ensures that you are safe, but also that the job is of the highest quality and will be safe to use in the future.
Our team of expert electricians have years of experience and are committed to providing quality commercial electrical services to hundreds of delighted customers. If you’re looking to upgrade your electrical system, install new wiring or even perform some standard electrical maintenance, contact our licensed electrical contractor in Sydney or other Australian states.