May
14

What Is Electrical Grounding?

Electrical grounding or “Grounding” originally began as a safety measure used to help prevent people from accidentally coming in contact with electrical hazards. Think of your refrigerator. It is a metal box standing on rubber feet with electricity running in and out of it. You use magnets to hang your child’s latest drawing on the metal exterior. The electricity running from the outlet and through the power cord to the electrical components inside the refrigerator are electrically isolated from the metal exterior or chassis of the refrigerator.

If for some reason the electricity came in contact with the chassis, the rubber feet would prevent the electricity from going anywhere and it would sit waiting for someone to walk up and touch the refrigerator. Once someone touched the refrigerator the electricity would flow from the chassis of the refrigerator and through the unlucky person possibly causing injury.

Grounding is used to protect that person. By connecting a green ground wire from the metal frame of the refrigerator, if the chassis inadvertently becomes charged for any reason, the unwanted electricity will travel through the wire back to your electrical panel, and tripping the circuit-breaker stopping the flow of electricity. Additionally, that wire must be connected to something that is in turn connected to the earth or ground outside. Typically this connection is a grounding electrode, such as a ground rod.
Grounding and Earthing

A typical grounding electrode

The process of electrically connecting to the earth itself is often called “earthing”, particularly in Europe where the term “grounding” is used to describe the above-ground wiring. The term “Grounding” is used in America to discuss both below-grade earthing and above-grade grounding.

While electrical grounding may have originally been considered only as a safety measure, with today’s advances in electronics and technology, electrical grounding has become an essential part of everyday electricity. Computers, televisions, microwave ovens, fluorescent lights and many other electrical devices, generate lots of “electrical noise” that can damage equipment and cause it to work less efficiently. Proper grounding can not only remove this unwanted “noise”, but can even make surge protection devices work better.

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See the origial full article at: http://www.esgroundingsolutions.com/about-electrical-grounding/

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May
07

Best States for Energy

Energy Rankings: Measuring states' energy infrastructure

Energy represents one-third of the weight in ranking the Best States for infrastructure. This subcategory evaluates three major metrics: renewable energy usage, reliability of power grids and the average cost of electricity. Metrics were evaluated using the most recent data from the Department of Energy. Most of the energy consumed in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels, including petroleum, coal and natural gas, while about 10 percent of energy consumption comes from renewable sources. In 2016, 29 percent of all energy usage was in transportation, while 6 percent came from the residential sector and just 4 percent from the commercial category, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oregon, which ranks No. 1 in energy, comes in third for infrastructure. Five of the top 10 states for energy also rank in the top 10 Best States overall: Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Nebraska and North Dakota. And West Virginia, which is the worst state for energy, is also one of the poorest-performing states overall, coming in at No. 47. Montana, however, falls in the bottom half of states for infrastructure despite being top 10 states for energy.

Best States for Energy

Energy Rank State Electricity Price Power Grid Reliability Renewable Energy Usage
#1 Oregon 13 17 1
#2 Washington 2 25 2
#3 South Dakota 28 6 4
#4 Nebraska 17 1 10
#5 Iowa 10 15 6
#6 North Dakota 15 3 11
#7 Montana 14 30 5
#8 Nevada 7 5 15
#9 Arizona 34 2 21
#10 Minnesota 32 14 12

Power Grid Reliability

The Department of Energy measures the number of minutes of power outages each customer experiences on average every year. Excluding major events, customers in both Nebraska and Arizona experienced less than an hour of power outages in 2016. With 439 minutes – or more than seven hours – of hours of power outages in 2016, West Virginia was the No. 50 state in reliability of power grids, far exceeding No. 49 Maine's nearly four and a half hours, or 264 minutes. The Southeast had the greatest power disturbance by far, with an average of more than two hours per customer, while the average for the Great Plains region was only 86 minutes.

Best States for Power Grid Reliability

 

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See the origial full article at: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/infrastructure/energy

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Apr
30

Century-Old Contractors Power America’s Past and Future

oldest contractors intro 1 12

Some of the nation’s oldest electrical contracting companies have discovered the secrets to staying in business and evolving to satisfy their customers’ changing needs.

One-hundred years ago, less than 35% of U.S. homes were powered by electricity. During this golden age of opportunity, trail-blazing electricians founded their own electrical contracting companies in American cities nationwide. Oftentimes, these entrepreneurs opened their doors with little more than a dream, a storefront, and a passion for electrification. Some of these business ventures eventually disappeared from the industry, but others stood the test of time — and are still standing today.

oldest contractors intro 2 12

Succeeding in the electrical construction market for a century or more requires lots of determination — and a little bit of luck, says Fred Sargent, who retired from Sargent Electric after many years of leading the company.

“Once a company is within striking distance of reaching its 100-year mark, its owners and managers begin to eye that as a goal for the company and a legacy of their tenure,” Sargent says. “A contracting business equals the contracts it has in effect. Finding new business opportunities that will sustain its operation is a fundamental requirement.”

oldest contractors intro 3 11

Seven Secrets to Staying in Business for 100 Years or More

Some of the nation’s oldest electrical contracting companies have been able to stay in business for at least a century by adapting to changes in the industry and embracing new markets. Here are some of their strategies for not only surviving for 100 years, but also for planning for future growth and expansion.

  1. Adapt to customers’ changing needs. By keeping its customers at the forefront of its business plans, Sargent Electric can prepare its teams for the projects and technologies of the future. “Most of the emerging trends in our industry favor contractors that are providing full-service solutions for their customers, able to go wherever the customer needs them, and with the flexibility to work in a variety of team structures and contracting models,” says Rob Smith, president of the company.
  2. Train your workforce. Cache Valley Electric fosters a company culture that builds loyalty, camaraderie, and common purpose, treats each employee as irreplaceable, and invests in advanced training. “This training doesn’t just grow their value within our industry — it also builds their own sense of self-worth and accomplishment,” says Nate Wickizer, CEO of the company.
  3. Invest in technology. Hawkins Electric Service has strived to stay on the leading edge of technology through use of 3D modeling and GPR robotics on new construction projects. In addition, the field workforce uses iPads loaded with project management software and advanced equipment to troubleshoot underground faults.
  4. Treat your customers with respect, honesty, and fairness, according to the third-generation leaders of Hawkins Electric Service, who were always taught to “do the right thing.”
  5. Serve your community. At Hawkins Electric, the company’s executives and employees have made a strong commitment to the community through monetary, material and labor donations. In addition, the company executives are active in leadership roles in industry associations and encourage their employees to do the same.
  6. Secure repeat contracts. As Hawkins looks to solidify its regional presence and expand geographically, the contractor is focusing on building trusting and nurturing relationships with its industry partners.
  7. Network with other contractors. For the last 35 years, H.B. Frazer has served as a member of the Federated Electrical Contractors, which includes 37 other contractors, including Guarantee Electrical, OESCO, and Cache Valley Electric. These companies work together on joint ventures for clients both in the United States and abroad. “Being a Federated contractor is a great opportunity to meet and grow our business and learn from one another,” says Bill Holleran, president of H.B. Frazer.

Notable Changes Over the Last 100 Years

Rob Smith, president of Sargent Electric, shares three ways his company and the electrical industry has changed since his business first opened its doors.

  • More reliable and safer solutions at a lower cost.
  • Improved electrical safety for the end-user and owner/ operator of the facilities and for the electricians who make it all happen.
  • Innovations through all aspects of the supply chain, which reduces labor hours and costs. Also, the shift from building in the field to assembling advanced components and preassemblies boosts productivity.

Early Years of Electrification: A Timeline

1752: Ben Franklin ties a kite to a string during a thunderstorm.

1800: The first electric battery was founded by Alessandro Volta.

1821: Michael Faraday first discovered electro-magnetic rotation.

1826: Georg Ohm created Ohm’s Law.

1837: Thomas Davenport invented the first electric motor.

1878: Joseph Swan invented the first incandescent light bulb, which burned out quickly, and Thomas Edison founded the Edison Electric Light Co.

1879: Thomas Edison invented the first long-lasting incandescent light bulb, which could be used for at least 40 hours without burning out.

1882: Thomas Edison opened a power station, which could power 5,000 lights.

1883: Nikola Tesla invented the Tesla coil.

1893: The Westinghouse Electric Co. used AC current to light the Chicago’s World’s Fair.

1936: The Rural Electrification Act was aimed at providing electricity to farms in America.

1942: About half of the American farms had electricity.

 

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See the origial article at: http://www.ecmweb.com/construction/century-old-contractors-power-america-s-past-and-future

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Apr
23

Electrical grounding technique may improve health outcomes of NICU babies

A technique called "electrical grounding" may moderate preterm infants' electromagnetic exposure in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and improve their health outcomes, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Image result for premature baby in incubator

Equipment in the NICU produces low-frequency electromagnetic fields that can have subtle yet measurable effects on the autonomic nervous system, the system that regulates involuntary body functions. Preterm infants may be especially vulnerable to these effects.

Previous research in adults has shown that exposure to electromagnetic fields can affect the vagus nerve, a key component of the autonomic nervous system which regulates the body's internal organs during rest. Previous research also has shown that electrical grounding, which reduces the electrical charge to the body, can improve the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and the vagus nerve, producing improved vagal tone.

Vagal tone, which is measured by analyzing heart rate variability between inhalation and exhalation, is a valuable indicator of health. An earlier study performed with colleagues at Penn State found that low vagal tone in preterm infants is a marker of vulnerability to stress and a risk factor for developing necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal disorder that can have severe consequences. Strengthening vagal tone may reduce inflammation, guard against the development of necrotizing enterocolitis and offer protection from a variety of other conditions that can affect preterm infants.

Additionally, a separate study involving preterm infants in the NICU revealed that when the incubator's power was switched off, thereby eliminating the electromagnetic source, the vagal tone of the infants improved. But until this Penn State study, published in a recent issue of Neonatology, no other research had directly evaluated the effect of electrical grounding on vagal tone in preterm infants in the NICU.

To evaluate the connection between electrical grounding and vagal tone in preterm infants, the researchers conducted a prospective observational study that included a total of 26 preterm infants who were between six and 60 days old and in the NICU at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center between October 2012 and January 2014.

"Preterm babies in the NICU have a lot of health challenges due to the immaturity of their lungs, of their bowel and of all their organs, so we decided to look at how electrical grounding could help improve vagal tone and mitigate some of those challenges," said Dr. Charles Palmer, professor of pediatrics and chief of newborn medicine at Penn State Children's Hospital. "Anything we might do to improve the babies' resilience would be good."

After measuring the environmental electromagnetic levels in and around the incubators, the researchers electrically grounded the babies by connecting an electrode wire from the infants' incubators or open cribs to the ground. Twenty of the 26 infants were measured for both skin voltage -- the voltage measured between the patient's skin and electrical ground -- and heart rate variability -- to assess vagal tone -- before, during and after grounding. Six of the infants were measured only for skin voltage.

"When we looked at the signal on the skin, it was an oscillating signal going out at 60 hertz, which is exactly the frequency of our electrical power. When we connected the baby to the ground, the skin voltage dropped by about 95 percent and vagal tone increased by 67 percent," Palmer said. After grounding, vagal tone returned to the pre-grounding level.

"What we can conclude is that a baby's autonomic nervous system is able to sense the electrical environment and it seems as though a baby is more relaxed when grounded," Palmer said. "When tied to our previous work, which found that vagal tone was an important risk factor for necrotizing enterocolitis, this new finding may offer an opportunity to protect babies even further."

A limitation of this study is the sample size, and further research is needed, said Palmer.

"If more research confirms our results, it could mean, for example, redesigning incubators to ground babies and cancel out the electrical field," he said.

Palmer also said that more study is needed to evaluate the long-term effects on preterm infants of exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields in the NICU.

 

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See the origial article at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170803120627.htm

 

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Apr
16

How does your state rank in Electrical Safety

Mike Holt's State Rating of the Electrical Industry - 2018

Map Safest States2018

As part of our ongoing focus on electrical safety, we annually update our report that assigns a grade to US States for electrical standards that are mandated state-wide.

State-wide mandates considered.

The following criteria are all required at the state level for points to be assigned for this report:

  • The NEC® edition adopted (current = 2017 NEC issued on 8/4/2016)
  • Licensing and/or certification required for Apprentice, Journeyman, Master/Contractor, Inspector, and Engineer licenses
  • Continuing Education (CEU or PDH) required for license renewal

What's NOT included in our report.

  • County and Municipality adoptions. We recognize that there are many local adoptions, and that in many cases county and municipalities adopt the most recent building and electrical codes ahead of their State. The scope of anything other than state-wide mandated requirements is beyond this report.
  • Enforcement or effectiveness. We are unaware of a way to track or correlate enforcement as it relates to rates of incidents or accidents.

Congratulations!

  • The following states have an A+ rating: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming.
  • We applaud all those states, counties and local municipalities that continue to set high standards in electrical safety.

The Chart below shows the rankings.

If there is a green up arrow next to the state name, it indicates an improvement in grade over the last 5 years from 2014 to 2018; a down red arrow indicates a decline.

For history and details of how grades are calculated, click here.

Note: All 12 points are required for an A+ grade.

STATE GRADE 2014 GRADE 2015 GRADE 2016 GRADE 2017 GRADE 2018
ALABAMA C+ B- C+ C+ B
ALASKA A A A A A
ARIZONA F F F F F
ARKANSAS A+ A+ A+ A A+
CALIFORNIA B+ B+ B+ B+ B+
COLORADO A+ A+ A+ A A+
CONNECTICUT B+ B+ B+ B+ B+
D.C. C+ C+ C+ C C
DELAWARE A- A- A- A A
FLORIDA B- B B B- B
GEORGIA B- B- B- C+ B-
HAWAII C+ C+ C C- C+
IDAHO A A A A- A
ILLINOIS D D D F F
INDIANA D+ D+ D+ D D
IOWA A A+ A+ A A+
KANSAS F F F F F
KENTUCKY A A A A- A-
LOUISIANA C+ C+ C+ C C+
MAINE A+ A+ A+ A A+
MARYLAND C C C+ C C
MASSACHUSETTS A- A- A- A- A-
MICHIGAN A A+ A+ A A
MINNESOTA A A A A- A
MISSISSIPPI D D D F F
MISSOURI F F F F F
MONTANA A A A A- A-
NEBRASKA A A A A- A
NEVADA D D D F F
NEW HAMPSHIRE A- A- A- B+ A-
NEW JERSEY A- A- A- A- A-
NEW MEXICO A- A- A- B+ A-
NEW YORK D+ D+ D+ C- C+
NORTH CAROLINA B B B B B
NORTH DAKOTA A+ A+ A+ A A+
OHIO B B+ B+ B- B
OKLAHOMA A A A A- A-
OREGON A A A A- A
PENNSYLVANIA C C C C- C-
RHODE ISLAND A- A- A- B+ B+
SOUTH CAROLINA B- B- B- B- B-
SOUTH DAKOTA A+ A+ A+ A A+
TENNESSEE B- B- C+ C C
TEXAS A- A- A- B+ A-
UTAH A A A A A
VERMONT A- A- A- B+ A-
VIRGINIA A- A- A- B+ B+
WASHINGTON A A A A- A
WEST VIRGINIA B B B B B
WISCONSIN A- A- A- B+ B+
WYOMING A+ A+ A+ A A+

 

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See the origial article at: https://www.mikeholt.com//newsletters.php?action=display&letterID=1875

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