A spark of static electricity can measure up to six thousand (6,000) volts!
The most common static electric spark people experience are the small ones that can jump from your finger to some metal object, giving you a slight shock. Such sparks really don’t cause an electric shock, such as from AC or CD electricity. Instead, they simply shock or startle you. The pain felt is from the heat caused by the electrons jumping the air gap. The noise made from such a spark is a snapping sound, cause by the rapid heating of the air.
The amount of voltage required for a 2 millimeter spark from your finger to the doorknob is about 6000 volts. Since the current is very low, there is no real danger from such a high voltage. Although the spark cannot harm you, there is a danger of such a spark if it occurs when you are near gasoline, such as in a filling station, so always be aware when filling your tank.
To help take the shock out of winter, take a look at these unique humidity ideas:
LED lights are the way to go this holiday season!
The Department of Energy has estimated that Christmas lights use as much electricity as half a million homes do in an average month. That’s a ton of power. And it’s expensive. The DOE also says that U.S. households could save a total of $410 million or so in electricity if everyone switched to LEDs.
It’s time to get the outdoor holiday decorations plan ready. We all have existing decorations that we use year to year, but a great way to build up your collection and change over to all energy-saving LED decorations is to add or change out one to two new decorations every year. This way it’s affordable and looks beautiful and slightly different every year!
October is Energy Awareness Month!
Energy Awareness Month serves as a perfect reminder of how applying these principles into our daily lives, consumers can develop habits to reduce their usage and save money on their utility bills. Saving energy is as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room.
Lighting accounts for about 15 percent of the average home’s electric bill. Incandescent light bulbs waste about 90 percent of the electricity used to power them, with only 10 percent of the energy going to produce light, and the rest burning off as heat.
The table below shows how using compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LED) bulbs can be more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs and save consumers money.
Other lighting tips:
- Hold the base and not the glass to screw in the bulb.
- Read the packaging to see where each bulb should be used. Not all ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs are designed to work in every socket.
- Use ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs where the light will be on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Frequently turning a CFL on and off shortens the bulb’s lifetime.
- Most photocells, motion sensors, and electronic timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Check with the manufacturer for compatibility.
- There’s a small amount of mercury in every CFL (.4 mg to 4mg). By comparison, mercury thermometers contain about 500 mg of mercury. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use; if a CFL breaks in your home, follow the clean up recommendations of the US EPA, and properly dispose of them when broken or burned out.
Did you know…
It is officially autumn and with the days getting shorter, the amount of time we have our lights on gets longer. Did you know replacing 15 incandescent lightbulbs with energy-saving bulbs can save you $50 per year and more than $600 in energy costs over the life of the bulbs?
Check out this website for the Department of Energy for additional information that might be helpful for you to save money on your electric bill.
Learn something new every day.
This month we wanted to share a slice of the energy business…
Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid. “Hydrofracturing”, commonly known as fracking is an oil-field technique that involves injecting vast quantities of water into the earth, along with other materials, to break up rock formations and unlock trapped oil and gas. This well stimulation greatly enhances fluid removal and well productivity.
Let’s put that into perspective
- Average amount of water used to hydraulically fracture a single Marcellus Shale well: 4.2 – 5 million gallons. (4.2 million gallons is enough water for a town of 42,000 people for one day)
- Number of Marcellus Shale wells drilled from January 2005 – July 2013: 8,700 wells
- Percentage of freshwater used: 90%
- Percentage of water recovered from fracks and reused: 10%
Getting the water
Appropriating large quantities of water for hydraulic fracturing diverts water from other beneficial uses such as human consumption or stream flow. The large volumes of water required have raised concerns about hydraulic fracturing in arid areas and drought-prone areas of North America. During periods of low stream flow it may affect water supplies for municipalities and industries such as power generation, as well as recreation and aquatic life.
Money “well spent”
Some energy companies plan to spend more than half a billion dollars on pipelines to transport water. The project is a costly wager that the hydraulic-fracturing industry’s thirst for reliable sources of water will grow over the next few years.
One of the proposed pipelines would slash a company’s water costs by two-thirds, or about $600,000 per well. The trucks that now deliver most of that water are a very large expense. These trucks also contribute to congested roadways in some rural areas. “We are not used to all this traffic. It’s like New York City out there,” said a commissioner in rural West Virginia.
To minimize water consumption, recycling is one possible option. In the Spring of 2013, new hydraulic fracturing water recycling rules were adopted in the state of Texas. The Water Recycling Rules are intended to encourage Texas hydraulic fracturing operators to conserve water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells.
Going one step further
There are companies that provide process water for fracking and are able to recycle all process water to avoid transportation and pollution. This has the potential to be a real game-changer for the industry because they recycle produced water on site, eliminating substantial amounts of the freshwater that’s required to frack oil and gas wells.
The results have been very promising so far. A 94-well test saved over 94 million gallons of water, which had the effect of removing 125,000 round-trips for trucks. The net effect was a savings to producers of $3.26 million dollars, which shows that going green can also save a little green.