This is something that I bring up In Our Members Area on a regular basis because it is extremely important. There are a lot of ways and reasons to use electricity in conjunction with the growing of plants. But you have to beware and be aware.
My goal with this post is to make you aware of how dangerous electricity really is when not done correctly.
As a child I played with electricity. A lot! It was my hobby. I loved seeing what I could do with electricity. I got shocked a lot, often with 120 volts of electricity.
I was lucky! I had no idea how dangerous 120 volts of electricity could be!
Knowing what I know now, I was really, really lucky!
Most of us with white hair remember when the GFI outlets started appearing in hour homes. A GFI outlet is designed to trip when shorted to ground. They are so sensitive that it is said that they will trip faster than the beat of a heart. They serve one purpose and one purpose only. To save lives.
The human body does serve as a grounding source, but not a very good one. The human body is actually a poor conductor of electricity. Unlike cooper which is a very efficient conductor of electricity, the human body creates a lot of resistance when energized with electricity. Resistance creates heat.
Keep that in mind as you continue reading.
Those little tiny coils in your toaster that heat up and turn bright red? Resistance is what makes them do that. When a human being is electrocuted a great deal of heat is generated because of the resistance. Burning occurs, but often the burns are deep, down below the skin and flesh, near the bone. The burns are severe and excruciatingly painful.
Most of us have been shocked by 120 volts of electricity at some point in our lives. Those of us who “played” with electricity as a child have been shocked many times. 120 volts is pretty harmless right?
As an adult I learned how dangerous and unpredictable 120 volts of electricity can be. The unpredictable part is the thing that’s difficult to explain. Right here in north eastern, Ohio I know of three cases of electrical shock.
From sources that you would never expect.
- A local man watched his 8 year old son being electrocuted at the county fair while waiting in line to get on a ride. A short in one of the light fixtures on the ride energized the handrail that the young boy grabbed a hold of. It was a handrail! It was there for riders to hold on to!
This was a terrible situation. The child lived for two or three weeks before finally succumbing to the internal burns from the electrocution. No family should ever have to go through that! You can read the news article here; http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20080809/timeline-of-events-in-the-death-of-greyson-yoe
- A college professor, not a local idiot, a college professor at Cleveland State died in his lab. Apparently this had something to do with a grow light attached to some kind of a rack, I’m assuming the rack was metal.
- Six year old boy electrocuted when he touched the garage door in Geauga County Ohio. When they investigated this case the garage door was energized because of a short in the door opener. The amount of electricity that killed the boy was 109 volts.
109 volts of electricity running through a garage door took a child’s life!
I’ve told you these stories to make sure you know how dangerous relatively low amounts of electricity can be.
When growing plants we often uses electric heating mats to create bottom heat for rooting cuttings or electric heat cables and a lot of different light configurations for creating artificial lighting for seedlings and other plants being grown indoors.
Here are some simple guidlines to following when using anything electric in your growing area or anywhere in your house or yard for that matter.
Always, always, always make sure that the receptacle that you are plugging into is GFI Protected. A GFI receptacle has a test button and a reset button in the middle of the receptacle. However, it is possible to have a properly protected receptacle without the buttons because one GFI can protect other receptacles on the same circuit.
Don’t guess. If you don’t know for sure, find out.
Only use electric appliances that are designed to be used in the manor that you intend to use them. In other words, don’t . . .
Use a water bed heater in any kind of a growing operation.
Don’t use a string of lights to make heat in a growing operation.
Don’t use an electric heating pad in a growing operation.
There are products designed for these uses. Please, please, pleas take this seriously.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I will respond.