Has anyone ever told you to stay grounded? Maybe they were just gently advising you to keep your head out of the clouds, or maybe they were teaching you a little bit about electrical work. One of our primary concerns when doing electrical work is safety. After all, electricity is very, very powerful. A shock could leave you incapacitated or worse. One way electricians work to stay safe is through grounding. Circuits can be connected to the ground for several reason. In today’s blog, we will learn about the importance of grounding.
Songs by MGMT aside, that ‘electric feel’ can be dangerous, even deadly. Every year approximately 1,000 individuals die of electrical injuries in the Unites States. Electrical injuries are divided into two categories, low-voltage and high-voltage. Mortality rates are quite high when exposed to anything above 600V although some individuals have survived shocks of up to 1000V. To put that into context, household electricity typically produces a maximum of 240V for high-powered appliances like washing machines or water heaters. Industrial power lines can produce as much as 100,000V. Stay away from them at all costs.
How Grounding Helps
Electricity wants somewhere to go. It loves being in motion, moving from one location to another, from a wire, to an appliance, and maybe even into you if it has the chance. As an example, we will consider your refrigerator. Electricity runs from your outlet into the refrigerator where it is used to produce cool air. If for some reason, maybe through a frayed wire, the electricity moved into the body of the refrigerator itself, you could be in for a problem. Refrigerators typically have rubber feet to prevent a current from spreading, but what would happen if you grabbed the charged body a refrigerator? ZAP! A grounding wire is designed to direct this type of rogue current away from the appliance, typically back to the circuit breaker.