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#26752 - 06/20/03 11:08 PM Electrocution Question
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Hi there Guys,
I had this really strange email just this last week, from a lady that I had never even heard of, she had this question for me:
If you are in a bath, and you have a heater or other appliance and it falls into the bath while you are in it, will you get Electrocuted?.(disregard GFCI/RCD protection).
Having never tried this out for myself, I would not encourage anyone else to have a go at it, either!!, I was just wondering how a shock would occur?.
Could you people please help me with this one, as it is really killing me thinking about it.

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 06-21-2003).]
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#26753 - 06/21/03 09:08 AM Re: Electrocution Question
Zapped Offline
Member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 481
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Yes, I would imagine so.

Current will flow throught the water, and you, on it's way to completing the circuit (hot to neutral).

This experiment has been done by unwitting test subjects over the years, both accidental and not so accidental.

Don't try this at home!

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#26754 - 06/21/03 09:49 AM Re: Electrocution Question
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
Is how the human body would conduct current immersed the Q?? Does the mineral content of the water matter?

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#26755 - 06/21/03 10:38 AM Re: Electrocution Question
Thom Offline
Member

Registered: 08/23/02
Posts: 24
Loc: Westfield
I would think you would be OK unless you came in direct contact with the unit. You might get a tingle. Wouldn't the circuit still be complete in the case of a heater?

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#26756 - 06/21/03 05:12 PM Re: Electrocution Question
wa2ise Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 771
Loc: Oradell NJ USA
One's body, which for this is equivalent to a sack of dirty water with lots of salt and such in it, would probably pass most of the leakage current from the heater. Current would flow from the heater thru many paths in the water (which is likely to be somewhat dirty) to your body, and then thru your body to other areas of the body and exit thru more multiple paths in the water to a grounded faucet and drain hardware. And the porcelin coating on a metal tub is likely to have many small cracks, creating more current paths....

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#26757 - 06/21/03 05:38 PM Re: Electrocution Question
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
my first reaction to the Q would be how many variables exist, proper grounding of the heater, non-FPE breakers, number of conductable paths, as well as conductables.

would it be riske' to assume that normally there would be a spike of power, until an OCPD reacts, that would include more umph* within the unit, and decreasing umph as the distance from it increases?


*technically speaking.....

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#26758 - 06/21/03 10:48 PM Re: Electrocution Question
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Guys,
Sorry about the rather vague question.
But assuming that the heater is a Class II
appliance (Having Double Insulation, as the majority of Domestic Heaters these days, have an outer shell of plastic).
Also assuming that a person was lying in the bath and not touching the plug-hole or the taps(faucets).
How would(or could) a shock occur, is it merely by the current flow through the water?.
Remember that the current has to flow through the heart, to cause fibrillation, before a true shock would occur.
Thanks for your input fella's.
I'm still trying to work out how this lady got my e-mail address, let alone work out the actual problem!
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#26759 - 06/22/03 03:23 AM Re: Electrocution Question
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Possibly from your ECN member profile?

There are bound to be currents of some magnitude flowing through parts of the water, but the actual paths and levels are going to be very dependent upon the salt/mineral content of that water, how far away the person is from the energized heater, and so on.

It's not something I'd want to put the test in a practical experiment....

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#26760 - 06/22/03 03:56 AM Re: Electrocution Question
Thom Offline
Member

Registered: 08/23/02
Posts: 24
Loc: Westfield
Why don't I get shocked when I turn on the hot water from the hot water tank? We have 240v directly in contact with the water.

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#26761 - 06/22/03 05:04 AM Re: Electrocution Question
zapped208 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 201
Loc: Somewhere in USA
Thom,- You would be the first to know if 240v was in direct contact inside your water heater.
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