Electricity is one of the modern day wonders that have changed the way humans live by making life simpler and more convenient. In times past, there were many things that mankind could not attempt due to lack of the technological knowhow or devices. But nowadays, there are a lot of feats that are being accomplished all thanks to technology which most often is powered by electricity.
If anyone should ask the question ‘what is electricity or hva er strøm like the Norwegians will put it, it might seem like a ‘dumb’ question. This is because we all assume that everyone knows what it is because we are surrounded by evidences of it in our everyday life.
However, there are things that we take for granted about electricity that stop us from getting the full benefit of this commodity. Conversely, ignorance of some factors about electricity can as well put us in danger in the course of using it in any way, shape or form.
In this article therefore, we will explore some basic information about electricity as regards its uses, importance, benefits and safe usage.
Uses and Importance of Electricity
Electricity as we mentioned in opening is one commodity that has become almost indispensible to human existence. We use it for almost everything that we do on a daily basis. Industries cannot survive without it and a lot of human enterprise will be depleted or downgraded without it.
Below are some of the uses of this precious commodity which in turn buttresses its importance to us:-
For Residential Purposes
Every home in this modern age is almost 100% run on electricity. From the appliances in the kitchen that are used for meal preparation and performing other chores to housekeeping appliances, all require energy to power them. Life in the home is made a 100 times simpler and more convenient with the use of electronic appliances.
Homemakers can now keep the home and effectively pursue careers and other endeavours outside the home all thanks to home appliances. On the other hand, people can also decide to work from home; also all thanks to technological advancement which is hinged on electricity.
To Power Commerce and Industry
Every factory and business place in the world today needs electricity to power their heavy machineries. Without this energy, they cannot achieve any meaningful production; work is faster and simpler with machines than manual labour.
Every economy of the world is driven by their level of production and that is why every country is looking for ways to boost production. Power generation is often a sign of how progressive a society is. This is because it is the bedrock of production which as we said earlier drives economic growth.
To Facilitate Engineering and Construction
When you compare the structures that we have these days and what we had in times past, you can attest to the fact that it is electricity that made the difference. While we cannot deny the fact that mankind has always been innovative in engineering and construction, we must also be honest to say that the structures we have these days and the speed with which they are constructed are not comparable.
If you visit a construction site, you will see that every stage of the project requires energy to power the machines and tools used. From laying the foundation, to raising the building to roofing and affixing fixtures, furnishings and finishing; everything requires electricity for precise implementation.
To Enhance Entertainment
It will be remiss of us to say that electricity brought about entertainment as there were many ways in which people kept themselves entertained in times past. However, innovations and inventions that are powered by this essential commodity, the world of entertainment is enlarged and enhanced.
Entertainment can now be packaged for people to access at their convenience all thanks to electricity.
Provides an Alternative Fuel Source
Electrical energy can be produced by a lot of the natural resources that we have at our disposal. With the evolution of this commodity, machines and appliances that were operated by/with fossil fuels can now be operated by electricity.
We now have electric vehicles which gives rise to electrical systems of transportation. More and more inventions are moving away from the use of fossil fuels to ‘clean energy’ of which electricity is foremost.
Enhances Healthcare Delivery
We can all agree to the fact that almost all, if not all the medical miracles that we witness in modern times will not be possible without electricity. Take for instance surgical procedures; they cannot be successfully carried out without electrical equipment. From the bright surgical theatre lights to all the apparatuses and machines that are used; all are powered by electrical energy.
We can go on and on about the uses and importance of this essential commodity but time and space forbids so let’s look at how to safely use this energy.
Basic Tips on Safe Usage of Electricity
Everyone powers their home with electricity but only a few observe best safety practises when using their home appliances. Reports from the Consumer Products Safety Commission of America show that over 30,000 electrical fires occur in homes every year. They further posit that close to 200 of these fires involve electrocution and other incidents that relate to electricity. That is why creating awareness for electrical safety in the home is an all important task.
Based on the above statistics, we also deem it necessary to share some safety tips with our readers so find below a few very important tips:-
Follow Safety Tips on User Manual of Appliances
Many people buy appliances and they do not bother to read the manufacturer’s/user manual. However, that is the first rule of safety for any product that you buy especially electronics or electrical appliances. If you feel any electrical shock while using any appliance, you should stop and not use it until it is checked out by a professional.
That being said, we know that so many people will still not take time to read through the user manual of their appliances so we will share some safety tips that you will most likely find in these manuals.
Avoid Overloading Electrical Outlets
One of the commonest causes of electrical issues is overloaded outlets. For this reason it is important that you always check your electrical outlets to be sure that they are not overheating; this means they must always be cool to touch.
Furthermore, you must ensure that they have protective faceplates that are working properly. In addition to this, the following will also help:-
- Plug only one appliance that produces heat into an outlet per time. So for example, do not plug an iron and a hair curler into the same outlet at the same time.
- Avoid using multi wall socket converters or extension cords for appliances.
- Any socket that gets hot must be checked out by a qualified electrician.
- Bear in mind that when you use power strips, you only increase the number of outlet s and not the maximum power that the socket can carry/receive.
- It is recommended that you use smart plugs because they help you monitor the power load of a wall socket and can even power off an appliance if the wall socket starts to overheat.
Repair or Replace Damaged Electrical Cords Promptly
One risky mistake that any homeowner will make is to keep using a faulty or damaged power cord. It can cause electrical fire or even electrocution. Therefore is it only wise that any faulty cord is repaired promptly and if damaged beyond repair, it should be replaced. You can ensure that no faulty or damaged cord is on use through regular inspection to check for signs of cracking or fraying.
You should not staple a power cord in place or pass it under furniture, rug or carpets. When you pass a power cord under a rug, it can trip people or get overheated. Furniture on the other hand can damage wires or destroy the insulation of the cord.
If you have to use extension cords all the time or frequently, it means that you do not have adequate wall sockets for your needs. Therefore it is recommended that you have a certified electrician install more wall sockets and outlets in your home; especially in spaces where you use extension cords regularly.
When you go shopping for extension cords, bear in the mind the maximum load that it is meant to carry. Ask for assistance from attendants or experts in the shop and we are sure they’ll be glad to help you.
Always Unplug Appliances when not in Use
Although this might seem like a no brainer, a number of people always forget to unplug appliances when they are done using them. This not only drains your power through what is known as phantom or standby energy but it also makes your appliances susceptible to power surges or overheating.
There are a lot of safety rules that one should observe when using electrical appliances. We have shared some of the basic ones but we know there are still more. One way that you can ensure electrical safety in your home is by reading the user manual of your appliances. Another thing that you should never fail to do is consult professionals when you have any electrical issues in your home.
With all that we have discussed in this article, we believe that you have enough information to appreciate what electricity is and to enjoy the benefit thereof.