1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 25, 2008

:330 Testing Purifiers

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:330 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis water purifiers can be checked to see if the R/O membrane is working properly. This is done by testing the conductivity of the water. Special meters are designed for this purpose, but any electrical conductivity tester can be used. You can also send a sample of your purified water to a laboratory for testing.

tester

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Suggested Review:

To use an electrical multi-meter for testing the water to see if the R/O membrane working – set the meter on the conductivity test setting. The probes need to be kept the same distance apart every time you test. Since tap water contains salts and minerals it will conduct electricity. Use a sample of tap water to check your meter reading. The closer the R/O water’s conductivity reading is to that of tap water, the less the purifier is removing.

If you check your R/O water with the meter when the purifier is new – you will have a baseline to compare. You may also want to test the meter with distilled water – which should have no conductivity.

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October 4, 2008

:278 Electric Circuit Tester

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:278 EcoTip: In :074 I talked about using an electric circuit tester as a good way to check your electric outlets to be sure they are grounded and that the wires aren’t reversed. This tester can be used on old two prong outlets to see how difficult they will be to upgrade to three prong grounded

The testers cost about five dollars and are worth every penny. I know one woman that had three brand new photocopiers fail in less than a month. The problem turned out to be the hot and neutral wires were reversed.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

Electric circuit testers are available at any hardware store. They are simple to use – plug them into any three prong outlet, then read-out if the circuit is good or has a listed problem. If there is an issue don’t use that outlet until things get checked by an electrician. You can’t simply switch wires around that can be dangerous and make matters worse by throwing off other outlets further away in the circuit. One electrical mistake in wiring often times results in a cascade effect with other problems developing elsewhere along the electrical path.

For testing two prong outlets to see if they will be easy to upgrade to two prong use a two prong adapter.

  • Plug in the adapter.
  • Make sure the ground wire or connector from the adapter is firmly screwed to the outlet using the screw that holds the electric cover plate in place – this is what will complete the ground – if it is present.
  • Now plug the tester into the adapter. If it shows correct wiring then that outlet can easily be upgraded to a three prong outlet since the electrical box already has a ground coming to it.
  • If the circuit tester says the outlet is ungrounded then it will be more difficult to upgrade. Never use an ungrounded outlet for a three prong appliance. Only use two prong ungrounded outlets for two prong appliances.

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October 3, 2008

:277 GFIC

Filed under: :277 GFIC — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 6:12 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:277 EcoTip: Ground Fault Interrupter Circuits are a from of electrical protection that can provide extra protection beyond that of the circuit breaker.

Everyone should be familiar with the GFICs that are required by code for protecting rooms with water like bathrooms, laundries, and kitchens. It also makes sense to use a GFIC protected extension cord when using electric trimmers, lawn mowers or power tools.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

The following is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission website:

The U S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends the use of a ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) with every power tool to protect against electrical shock hazards. Each year, CPSC learns of approximately 20 to 30 electrocution deaths associated with power drills, saws, sanders, hedge trimmers, and other electric power tools. Most of these deaths could be prevented by the use of a GFCI.

A GFCI constantly monitors current flowing in a circuit to sense any loss of current. If the current flowing through two circuit conductors differs by a very small amount, the GFCI instantly interrupts the current flow to prevent a lethal amount of electricity from reaching the consumer. The consumer may feet a painful shock but will not be electrocuted. Grounding may provide some protection for power equipment and double insulation of newer power tools presents lower risks of electrocution. However, GFCls are the most effective means for protecting consumers against electrical shock hazards.

Since 1973, homes built according to the National Electrical Code have varying degrees of GFCI protection. GFCIs were first required in outdoor receptacle circuits In 1973, bathrooms in 1975, garage wall outlets in 1978, some kitchen receptacles since 1987, and all receptacle outlets in unfinished basements and crawl spaces since 1990.

Three common types of GFCls are available for home use: circuit breaker, receptacle and portable types. The circuit breaker type needs to be installed by an electrician. The receptacle type may be installed by knowledgeable consumers familiar with electrical wiring practices. The portable GFCI needs no special knowledge to install Just plug the portable GFCI Into a wall receptacle and then plug the electric power tool into the GFCI. It is generally priced below $30 and is available at hardware stores, building supply centers and electrical supply houses.

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