Urban legends, superstitions, and myths: sure they’re fun to talk about, but when it comes to something as serious as your electrical system, it’s important to separate the fact from the fiction. Fortunately, our skilled electricians are here to help you do just that. Keep reading for the seven most common myths about electricity, and remember to call our experts at CMC Electric for all your electrical service needs.
The 7 Most Common Myths About Electricity:
- Batteries Contain Electricity: While batteries generate electricity, the truth is that they do not actually carry an electrical charge. If you were to open up the average battery, you would find that it’s full of a chemical liquid—electrolyte. This substance is conserved between positive and negative electrodes. When you insert the battery into whatever electrical device you’re using it with, the electrolytes convert into ions, which are then discharged to power the device. So while there is energy stored in a battery in the form of chemical potential energy, the electricity itself is not stored in the battery.
- The Size of the Cable Affects the Amount of Electricity That Can Flow Through It: Some people assume that longer, thinner cables are able to transmit more electricity, because the current faces less resistance. Others assume that wider cables transmit more electricity, because their bigger size means they can transmit a higher level of current. In reality, neither of these presumptions is accurate. The size of the cable does not affect the amount of current that is transmitted. Instead, the amount of actual electricity transmitted through a cable is only dependent on its source.
- Low-Voltage Discharges of Electricity Are Not Dangerous: Everyone knows that high-voltage amounts of electricity are dangerous, but what about low-voltage discharges? Some assume that the lower the voltage is, the safer the discharge. However, this is not necessarily the case. Low-voltage electrical shocks can be dangerous too, and much like high-voltage charges, can even result in major injury and death.
- Rubber & Wood Protect You from Electrical Shock: While it is true that rubber and wood are good insulators when it comes to electricity, neither of these materials alone is enough to prevent shocking or other accidents. And even if you do own a pair of rubber gloves that are supposedly designed to protect you from electricity, chances are those gloves contain other additives to ensure your safety.
- Generators Are a Great Way to Create Extra Electricity: Generators are a great way to harness extra electricity, especially in case of emergencies where you have lost all power. However, the name “generator” is somewhat misleading, because these devices do not actually generate anything. Instead, generators transform electricity, taking mechanical energy and turning it into electrical energy. This energy can then be used to power your home, yet the generator itself is not creating—it’s transforming.
- Appliances Stop Consuming Electricity Once You Turn Them Off: This myth is one electricians have been warning homeowners about for years. It’s true that some electrical devices turn off once you flip that switch. However, some devices may still be drawing power due to stand-by or “ghost” consumption. You may notice this when you turn the device off, but still see that little red pilot light on. Stand-by electrical consumption is common in any device with an LCD panel, light, or clock. This could include microwaves, televisions, alarm clocks, and even phone chargers. Fortunately, more and more homeowners are increasingly aware of ghost consumption, and doing what they can to prevent it from increasing their energy bill.
- It Takes Less Power to Always Leave a Computer On Versus Turning It Off and On Again Every Time You Use It: This is a tricky one. Conventional wisdom dictates that it’s better for your computer and your electrical system to simply leave your machine on, rather than shutting it off and restarting it again and again. However, this is not necessarily the case. If you use your computer all day, and rarely go more than a half hour without touching it, it’s better to leave it on. However, if you are going to step away from your computer for long periods of time, such as at night or when you leave for work, you can save power by turning it off. The good news? The electricity your computer consumes accounts for a very small part of your larger power bill, so no matter which way you decide to go here, you’ll probably be fine.