UTILITIES IN THE HOME

Objective:

By the end of this post, the reader should be able to:

·              Explain housing environment and utilities in the home.

·              Describe the various sources of water.

·              Explain the reasons for and ways of purifying water.

·              Examine the need for water conservation in the home and the methods used.

·              Describe the various forms of lighting in the home.   Describe types and sources of fuel.

 

HOUSING ENVIRONMENT

Housing environments are the amenities inside and outside the house that contribute to health, comfort, and beauty in the home and its surroundings. These amenities include:

(i) Basic amenities like kitchen, toilet, bathroom, etc.

(ii) Good and appropriate working surfaces.

(iii) Good sanitation

(iv) Adequate ventilation

(v) Functional and appropriate utilities.

 

UTILITIES IN THE HOME

Utilities are services that bring comfort and convenience to the home. The major ones are water, lighting and fuel. They are services that are convenient and bring comfort to the home. It will be difficult if not impossible to carry out most activities in the home without utilities. These utilities include water, light or electricity and fuel, which are the major utilities. Other services provided to families in housing environment include telephone, garbage collection and the media (radio and television).

 

WATER

 Sources of Water

Sources of water can be put into two broad groups. Natural and treated water.

(a) Natural water

Natural water is water found in its natural state e.g. rain water, spring water, river water, sea water, well water and lakes. 

(b) Treated water

Water which has been processed to make it wholesome for drinking e.g. pipe borne water. City and urban dwellers enjoy the benefits of pipe-borne water to their homes. Plumbing is a system of bringing water in and out of the house through pipes. A person who is trained to work on water supply systems is called a plumber.

 

(A) Natural Sources of Water

(i) Rainwater: This can be said to be the purest form of natural water because it is formed as a result of the condensation of water vapor in the atmosphere. This means that rain water is naturally distilled. It is usually soft and easily forms good lather with soap. This water is however, a good solvent, so it contains dissolved substances such as air, dust, and airborne bacteria, depending on the area or environment. The result is that, we do not often collect rain water in its pure state.

(ii) Spring water: When it rains, some of the rain water sinks through the porous layers of the soil until it collects above an impervious layer. Some of this water may emerge again on the soil surface as spring water. As the water passes through the soil, it dissolves some amount of mineral salts and the suspended impurities in it, such as dust and bacteria are filtered off. Spring water is therefore, considered a good source of drinking water.


water

Example of spring water


(iii) Well water: Some people obtain their water through digging deep holes called wells. These holes reach the water. which collects on the top of the impervious layers of soil. Well water is stagnant. It may also contain a lot of clay, mineral salts, and the remains of dead organisms which might have fallen into the well. It is therefore, necessary to treat well water before drinking it.

(iv) River water: River water is formed when springs or other running waters come together. It contains a lot of impurities. It must, therefore, be treated in various ways before it can be considered fit for drinking.


natural water

This river is a source of water

(v) Lake water and sea water: Lakes and sea form reservoirs or types of storage for rivers and other running waters. They contain all sorts of impurities such as bacteria, organic remains, mineral salts, and gases.

Water from these sources need to be well treated before it can be fit for human consumption.

 

(B) TREATED WATER

PIPE-BORNE WATER

Some urban and rural areas have pipe borne water. This water may be obtained from boreholes or rivers but it is normally treated in different ways with chemicals to kill the bacteria in it. Sometimes, mineral salts that are essential for man such as sodium chloride may be added to the water. After treatment and filtration, the water is passed into a large reservoir (tank) from where it is distributed to the town. With pipe-borne water, meters are fixed to the pipeline connected to the house to record the use of water. Individual homes and communities that use pipe-borne water pay for it.


treated water


Uses / Importance of Water in the Home

i. Drinking: We must drink water regularly for our body to function.

ii. Bathing for healthy living: We need to clean our body at least once every day by bathing with clean water.

iii. Cooking: We use water in preparing food e.g. washing of meat, vegetables, fruits, cooking, boiling, stewing, etc.

iv. Washing up: After cooking and eating our food, we also need water for washing up our cooking utensils and plates.

v. Laundering or washing: We use water in laundering or washing our clothes and other household articles.

vi. Ironing: For effective ironing of our clothes and household articles, we require water for dampening. Some irons (steam irons) require water.

vii. Toilet: The modern water system toilet which is common in many modern homes, especially in urban areas, cannot work without adequate water supply for flushing.

viii. Fires: Water is necessary for fighting fires in homes and outside the home.

ix. Cleaning: Water is also used for cleaning our houses. Without water, it would be difficult to keep our bodies and homes clean. Thus, families consume large volumes of water daily.

 

TYPES OF WATER

Soft Water

Water which lathers easily/readily with soap.

 

Advantages of Soft Water

 (i) It is smooth to touch.

(ii)  It forms lather easily/readily with soap thus less soap is used when washing.

(iii) It does not form scum with soap to discolor articles

(iv) It is suitable for dyeing and tanning.

(v) It does not leave 'fur' or scale in kettles, boilers, hot water pipes and radiators.

 

Disadvantages of Soft Water

i. It is not suitable as drinking water.

ii. It can corrode water pipes.

 

Hard Water

Water which does not lather easily with soap. Hard water therefore refers to water which will not form lather easily with soap, because it contains a number of dissolved salts such as Ca2 ions in the water.


Advantages of Hard Water

(i) It has more pleasant taste than soft water and thus good for drinking

(ii) Hard water may contain chemicals which are necessary for proper bone and teeth formation and functioning

(iii) Hard water can reduce the likelihood of heart disease.

(iv) Hard water can also prevent lead poisoning because it does not dissolve lead when lead pipes are used to convey portable water into our homes.

 

Disadvantages of Hard Water

(i) It is not suitable for laundering as it wastes a lot of soap. It does not lather easily. 

(ii) It forms scum with soap which can stick to an article and discolor it.

(iii) A lot of energy is exerted or used when hard water is used for cleaning.

(iv) Hard water leaves 'fur' or scale in kettles, pipe, boilers, etc. This wastes fuel during cooking because it takes a longer time for water to heat up.

 

Causes of Hardness in Water

Hardness in water is caused by dissolved salts such as;

(i) Sulphates

(ii) Carbonates of calcium

 

Types of Hard Water

There are two types namely: 

Temporary hardness: Can easily be removed by boiling.

Permanent hardness: Cannot be removed by boiling.

 

WAYS OF PURIFYING WATER

a) Boiling

Water can be purified by boiling. Water boils at the temperature of 1000C or 2120F. At this temperature, most of the harmful bacteria are destroyed. The water must be brought to boil for purification to be effective. A special pot should be set aside for boiling drinking water in the home.

 

(b) Filtration

Water is passed through a porous substance such as the candle of water filter or clean cloth to remove dirt and other tiny particles. There may however, still be some very tiny particles or bacteria that can pass through the filter candle. It is therefore, necessary to boil your drinking water before filtration. Another method of filtration is charcoal filtration.

 

Care of the water filter

The water filter should be cleaned at least once a week; otherwise, it can become a source of infection, if it is allowed to get dirty. A clean sponge should be reserved for cleaning the water filter. The filter sponge should be rinsed in clean water, dried thoroughly and stored in a clean plastic bag after use.

 

Procedure for cleaning the water filter

i. Dismantled the filter into its various parts, that is, the cover, the upper compartment with the candles and the lower compartment.

ii. Remove the candles carefully by holding the filter firmly with your left hand and unscrewing it with your right hand. The candle is very delicate and breaks easily. It is also expensive.

iii. Wash the candle in water that is as hot as your hands can bare, using the filter sponge. Rub thoroughly to remove as much discoloration as possible. Rinse well in clean hot water.

iv. Place the candles in very hot water and leave them there until the water has cooled down. You can add salt to the hot water to ensure effective sterilization.

v. While the candles are in the hot water, wash the other compartments of the filter with a sponge and hand and hot water.

vi. When the water cools down, reassemble the filter and fill the top compartment with water. The candles normally wear off with time. They should be replaced when they have worn off sufficiently.

 

(c) Use of chemicals

Such as chlorine to purify water on large scale e.g., pipe borne water is the safest to drink because it is treated by the use of chemicals and runs through the pipes before it gets into the house. This chemical kills bacteria in the water. You can sometimes smell this chemical in your drinking water if it is supplied from the tap. Over-chlorination i.e the addition of excess chlorine, should be avoided because it could be harmful to the human body. Other useful chemicals such as iodine and fluorine, may be added in the correct amounts by the water-boards, as food supplements to prevent goitre and tooth decay respectively when and where necessary. The treated water is pumped into a tank called a reservoir. It is from here that the water flows into the households or to pipes and the communities. This method cannot be used at home since one cannot tell the exact amounts of chemicals to use.

 

(d) Water Storage

Appropriate storage prevent contamination e.g., water stored in clean covered containers. Families need to provide for adequate storage of water. e.g., plastic tanks, concrete tanks, buckets and clay pots.

 

Reasons for Purifying Water

(i) To destroy micro-organisms which cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid fever and guinea worm.

ii) To make it safe for drinking. Water from lakes, rivers and ponds may be polluted by human waste, dead plants and other solids from the soil. Water from such sources should be given some kind of treatment to make it safe for drinking.

(iii) To make it clean for use. Rain and well water, water from rivers, lakes and ponds may be contaminated by droppings from birds, insects and other creatures, It is important to treat it to make it clean for use.

Note: Natural water from rivers, streams and lakes may be unsafe for drinking because they are likely to be polluted.


 treated water


WATER STORAGE

Families need to provide for adequate storage of water. Water storage facilities include the clay pot, plastic containers, bottles and water tanks.

 

Point to Consider in Choosing Water Storage Facilities

1. The size of the family should determine the type and size of facility to choose.

2. The space available for the facility.

3. Money available.

4. The facility should have a lid or cover that fits closely.

5. The inside and outside of the facility should be clean with a smooth surface. If possible, it can be painted with oil paint.

6. It should be rust free.

7. It should not leak.

8. It should be washable.

 

The clay water pot

The clay pot has remained a common water storage facility in homes especially in rural areas. It has the advantage of keeping water cool. Clay pots are available in different sizes and shapes. They can also be painted.

 

Care of the Clay Pot:

a. Provide a suitable stand and lid for the pot.

b. Reserve a special clean piece of sponge for cleaning the pot.

c. Clean the pot at least twice a week by scrubbing both the inside and outside with the sponge. It is not necessary to use soap.

d. The pot can be sterilized by placing it on open fire for about 15 to 30 minutes after scrubbing.

 

Plastic Water Containers

These are available in different sizes, shapes and colors. Some are fitted with lids and taps. Selection should be based on family size and needs. The plastic containers do not keep water as cool as the clay pot. Plastic containers should be kept clean by washing them at least twice every week. They should not be kept close to a fire. Hot water should not be poured into a plastic container.

 

Bottles

These are also available in different sizes, shapes and colors. They are, however, commonly used for keeping water in the refrigerator. They should be cleaned regularly with a special bottle brush.

 

Water tanks

A water tank can be very large. This is necessary so that it can take up to 500 to 1000 litres or more of water. It is normally made of stainless-steel metal such as aluminum or other metals that can be coated or painted with aluminum.

 

Care of water tank

l. Provide the tank with a good lid or cover, tap, and stand.

2. It should not be placed directly on the ground.

3. Empty the tank at least twice every year and wash it thoroughly

4. Paints the inside at least once every year to prevent rusting.

 

Water Conservation

It is the conscious use of water to prevent waste.

Water is a scarce resource; it has no substitute and can be expensive if not judiciously used.

Note: Conserving water in the home is one way of reducing family expenditures.

 

Ways of Water Conservation

(i) Repair broken and leaking pipes to avoid waste and contamination of available water.

(ii) Do not wash dishes under running tap.

(iii) Collect all dirty dishes/clothes and wash them together and not one at a time.

(iv) Boil just the water that is needed.

(v) Avoid over-filling containers and pouring excess water away.

(vi) Use just enough water for bathing, washing etc.

(vii) Washing water can be used for scrubbing the floor.

(viii) Never use too much water for lawn and garden flowers in the dry season.

 

LIGHTING IN THE HOME

Lighting in the home makes it possible to see, provides a pleasant atmosphere, safety, promotes efficiency in work and prevents eye strain. The quality of light as well as the amount in a room must be adequate.


Forms of lighting in the home

There are two main forms or sources of lightning in the home. These are:

Natural lighting and Artificial lighting.


(a) Natural lighting

This is obtained from sunlight. The amount of natural light entering a room depends on factors such as;

(i) Types of windows and positions of windows

It is advisable to avoid windows which have small panes, not only are they difficult to clean but the windows obstruct light and can darken the room.

(ii) Size and number of windows

Adequate window space is necessary to allow as much light as possible to enter into the house.

(iii) Position of rooms

Windows should be large enough for a room and in suitable positions and areas so that the whole room gets light.

(vi) The conditions of windows

Dirty windows do not allow enough light into the house. The dirt absorbs some of the light. Glass windows should allow enough light to enter the house.

(v) The surroundings of the house

 It is best if the house is not overshadowed by other buildings or tall trees which keep the light out. Plenty of light in the house prevent the accumulation of dirt and dust.

 

Advantages of natural lighting  

(i) It is free and does not cost the home maker any money.

(ii) It gives objects adequate warmth.

(iii) It enhances or brightens the appearance of things.

 

Disadvantages of natural lighting 

(i) Individual has no control over it.

(ii) Sunlight is available only during the day.

 

(b) Artificial Lighting

This is man-made lighting. Common sources include candles, oil lamps, battery lamps, electric lamps and gas lamps.

Artificial lighting is needed when natural lighting is inadequate or for use at night. It helps to prolong the day and enables people to carry out activities when it is dark. Note: To obtain good lighting, light fixtures should be kept clean.

 

Advantages of Artificial Lighting 

(i) It is controllable and predictable.

(ii) It can be used both for day and night time activities.

(iii) It is portable. That is, it can be moved around.

(iv) It can be used to create different effects for decoration using color bulbs.

 

Disadvantages of Artificial Lighting 

 It is very expensive be it oil, gas or electricity.

 

Uses of Lighting in the Home

(i) For general illumination. It makes it possible for people to see.

(ii) For performing specific tasks. That is, it makes for efficiency in working areas.

(iii) For decoration— as part of interior design. It provides a pleasant atmosphere.

(iv) It promotes safety and prevents eyestrain or straining of the eyes.

 

TYPES OF ARTIFICIAL LAMPS

 Oil lamps

These include tin oil lamps, lantern or hurricane lamps and Aladdin lamps. Kerosene is the main fuel used in these lamps.


Tin Lamps

Light is obtained by burning cloth or a wick soaked in kerosene. It is simple and cheap but provides only a smoky yellow flame in a small area. It is dangerous to use because it can easily cause fire when it is knocked over. It is best used outdoors because of the smoke.


Pressure Lamp

This is similar in arrangement to a lantern, and also uses a wick. Kerosene is forced out to the burner by air pressure and an incandescent mantle gives a bright white light. The lighting level is high enough for reading, sewing and for activities that require close attention.

 

Hurricane Lamp or Lantern

This has a reservoir and holds a wick which carries the kerosene and a glass globe which protects the flame. Part of the wick that comes out through the burner is lighted to give light. The wick can be lowered to reduce the level of lighting or raised to increase it.

 

Candles

These are a very common source of light particularly for emergencies. They give very little light and only to limited areas unless more than one is used. The light is soft but it is not adequate for reading.

The open flame also makes them unsafe to use. Always put candles on a stand which will not burn and which will prevent them from falling and causing a fire. It can be expensive if it is the main source of light. However, it is useful to keep a few candles in the house in case of an emergency such as electricity failure.

           

Conservation of Lightening in the Home

(i) Maximum use should be made of natural light in the day time by providing adequate number of windows for rooms.

(ii) Turn off gas, oil and electric lamps when not needed or in use.

(iii) Use energy saving bulbs and fluorescent lamps.

 

FUEL

It is any material or substance that is used for producing heat or power. It is therefore used for cooking, heating and providing lights. Fuel may be solid, liquid or gas. Fuel can be obtained from organic (plants and animals) and inorganic sources (minerals like coal and petroleum).

Though electricity is not fuel, it is a source of power used for cooking, heating, lighting, training, refrigeration (cooling), driving engines, etc.

 

Types and Sources of Fuel

Solid Fuel

(i) Firewood.

(ii) Charcoal.

(i) Firewood:

It is the oldest kind of fuel used in Ghanaian homes both in the urban and rural areas. Wood is relatively easy to get and cheaper in villages than in towns and cities. People do their cooking over ordinary firewood burning on the ground and in a pot supported either by stones or by metal tripod.


fuel

Firewood

Advantages of Firewood

(i) It is suitable for outdoor cooking.

(ii) It does not require a special cooker or stove.

(iii) Food can cook faster in strong firewood than in kerosene cooker.

(iv) It is readily available in both rural and urban areas.

(v) It is a cheap source of fuel.

 

Disadvantages of Firewood

 (i) It burns quickly and gives off a lot of smoke which blackens walls and cooking utensils.

(ii) The smoke and the ashes it produces make it unsuitable for indoor cooking.

(iii) The open flames also make a room very hot.

(iv) Fire made with wood cannot be easily regulated and sometimes a lot of waste occurs.

(v) It is one source of air pollution.

(vi) It is difficult to relight a fire once it has been put off.

 

Storage of Firewood

(i) Store firewood under a rain-proof shade. Wet firewood can be a nuisance to cook with. Therefore, endeavor to keep the firewood as dry as possible.

(ii) Stored firewood can be a good hiding place for animals such as rats and snakes. Prevent this by ensuring that you keep the storage place tidy. It may be necessary to remove the firewood, clean the space, and replace the wood once every week.


Uses and Control of Firewood

(i) Clean your fire-place every morning by removing the ashes of the previous day.

(ii) Stack your firewood properly within the tripod or stones before lighting.

(iii) After cooking or use, remove the remaining firewood and put off the fire, using water or any other suitable method. Put away the firewood properly for future use.

(iv) Do not leave the firewood to burn off completely after cooking, to avoid waste

 

Charcoal

Charcoal can be derived or obtained by burning wood or firewood. It is cleaner to use than firewood. It also produces ash which may pollute environment.


fuel

Charcoal

Advantages of Charcoal

(i) They are clearer and more convenient to use than firewood.

(ii) They can cook faster than firewood.

(iii) They require less storage space than firewood.

 

Disadvantages of Charcoal

(i) Charcoal gives off fumes which can be poisonous and injurious to health.

(ii) Charcoal is not as readily available as firewood.

(iii) It is an uneconomical type of fuel because a lot of waste occurs.

(iv) Fresh trees are being destroyed to burn   charcoal.

 

Use, Storage and Control of Charcoal

(i) Keep them as dry as possible by storing them away from moisture preferably in a polythene or water-proof bag.

(ii) When using them indoors, ensure that the kitchen is well-ventilated, as the fumes are unhealthy

(iii) After cooking, carefully put off the fire, using water.

 

LIQUID FUEL

Oil

Oil (kerosene or paraffin) — from petroleum by fractional distillation.

Gas — natural gas from underground reserves and manufactured gas

Liquefied Petroleum Gas— LPG from the processing of petroleum or hydrocarbons.


Truck carrying LPG

Truck carrying LPG

 

Kerosene 

Kerosene or paraffin is a common household fuel in Ghana today. It is also a petroleum product. As household fuel, it is used for lighting lamps, cooking and heating.


Advantages of Kerosene 

(i) It is cheaper than gas.

(ii) It is also cleaner and easier to use than charcoal.

(iii) It is readily available in the rural areas.

(iv) It can be used anywhere and it is usually sold in gallon cans and bottles.

 

Disadvantages of Kerosene

(i) Kerosene stoves do not cook as fast as gas cookers.

(ii) Cooking with kerosene can leave the back of the cooking pot and our kitchen black.

(iii) It produces soot, and can be uncomfortable to cook with.

 

Gas Fuel

There are two types of gas fuel,- natural gas and manufactured gas.

 

(a) Natural Gas

Natural gas is obtained directly from the earth and is used for fuel once the impurities in it have been removed. In places where it is obtained, gas is pumped directly through pipes into houses. A meter is attached to the home so that the amount of gas used by the household is recorded.


(b) Manufactured Gas

This is used in most homes in Ghana. It is a by-product of petroleum sold in liquefied form. It is supplied in cylinders of different sizes: 28,32 and 72 cubic meters. The cylinder can be refilled when the gas is finished. It is a clean source of heat and easy to use.

 

Use of Cooking Gas

We burn cooking gas to obtain energy. Therefore, it is important to burn it efficiently so that the maximum amount of energy can be obtained from it.

When the gas is burnt completely, the only products are carbon dioxide and water vapor. When there is insufficient air, the gas does not burn completely (i.e., incomplete combustion). In addition to carbon dioxide and water vapor, unburnt carbon in the form of soot and also some carbon monoxides are produced.

The burner of the gas cooker is, therefore, designed to ensure that sufficient air is mixed with the gas so that all of it is burnt completely. Gas is also used with lamps to give light.


Cooking gas

Cooking gas in a gas cylinder

 

Guidelines for the uses of cooking Gas

(i) Ensure that your gas cylinder and the   hose are not leaking.

(ii) Always clean your gas cooker and the burners to ensure free flow of air, which is necessary for the complete combustion of the gas.

(iii) When lighting the burner, avoid the escape of gas by adopting the following procedure: Strike your match or lighter, open the burner knob and light the burner as quickly as possible. Avoid lighting a gas oven that is half full of unburnt gas. Follow the above procedure in lighting the oven as well.

(iv)  After use, switch off gas supply carefully and properly to prevent the escape of gas.

(v) Plan to have your gas supply in such a way that there is always a spare cylinder in the house. This is very important so that even when supply is delayed, you will not be stranded, if your gas gets finished suddenly.

 

Guidelines for the storage of Gas

(i) The gas cylinders should be stored outside the kitchen because gas is poisonous and should not be inhaled.

 (ii) If the gas must be stored in the kitchen, it is important to have adequate ventilation so that any escaping gas can be carried away.

(iii) It is, however, better to store gas in open spaces such as open garage.

(iv) Children should not be allowed to play with or around stored gas cylinders.

 

Control of Cooking Gas

It is important to control the cooking gas used in the home because it can be a source of health hazard. It is also expensive. Gas cooks faster than other fuels so the homemaker should always be watchful to ensure it is not wasted by putting it off as soon as her food is cooked.

The flow of gas can also be controlled through the use of the adapter and the burner knobs of the gas cooker or range.

 

Advantages of Cooking gas 

(i) It is faster to cook with cooking gas than the other fuels, such as kerosene, coal or firewood. Thus, cooking time is reduced. 

(ii) When the gas burns completely, it produces clear flame that does not stain the cooking pot.

(iii) It does not produce soot that can dirty the kitchen or leave the walls black.

(iv) Gas can be controlled or regulated to desired level.

(v) It can be cheaper than charcoal or firewood if it is properly used.

 

Disadvantages of Cooking gas 

 (i) It is more expensive than other common cooking fuels.

(ii) It can be dangerous if carelessly handled. e.g., when it is allowed to leak in a room as it can catch fire easily.

(iii) It is sometimes difficult to get gas when used up.

 

ELECTRICITY

Electricity is generated from a source of energy e.g., water, solar energy, petroleum. It is an important form of energy. Its energy provides us with light, heat and power. Today, there are numerous electrically operated appliances available to families such as the radio, television, refrigerator, air conditioners, fans, blenders, sewing machines, electric cookers, etc.

In Ghana, electricity is supplied to households by the electricity corporation which buys it from the Volta River Authority. Electric power enters a house through cables from the street connected to the main supply line. The main supply line may be either overhead or underground cables. Underground cables are generally safer.

It is however necessary that you understand the working of electricity so that you can use it efficiently and safely.

The mains supply line enters the house through a meter which records all the current that is used. A panel box or fuse box distributes the electricity to the wiring system in the house.

The wiring system in a house is divided into what are called circuits which carry specific amounts of electric current. There are separate circuits for lights, heavy or big appliances such as electric cookers and small appliances.

 

Electric Circuit

An electric circuit is the path of flow of electricity or electric current from the positive to the negative terminal or ends of an electric supply system. The source of the electricity acts like a pump to drive the electric current round the circuit.

 

Current

An electric current is defined as the rate of flow of electrical charge round a circuit. It is merely the flow of moving charges or electrons. When an electric current is flowing through a wire or cable, it can be considered as a flow of very fast-moving electrons, jumping from one atom of the wire to another. The electric current can be compared to gas or water flowing down pipes. It can be tapped at diffent points. The basic unit of electricity or electric current is referred to as the amperes or amps.

 

Fuse

A fuse is a safety device and consists of a weak wire linking the circuit. It is intentionally made weak so that it will melt or blow if;

i. The circuit is overloaded.

ii. There is a short circuit or

iii. There is a deterioration of the fuse wire itself.

 

electric circuit

Example of a fuse

 

Overloading

This is the commonest cause of a fuse blowing. When a house is wired, an estimate is made of the amount of electricity that will probably be needed. As more and more appliances are purchase, the number of socket outlets may not be sufficient. In this case, adapters can be bought to which several appliances can be connected. But if the total loading of the appliances switched on is greater than the supply to the house, fuses will blow.

 

Short Circuit

If the live' an the 'neutral' wires in an appliance accidentally touch overheating occurs which cause; the fuse to blow. Faulty wiring of a plug, a worn or worn-out insulation can all cause this to happen. You can see the 'live' wires (brown or red) and neutral wire (blue or black) on the cord of any appliance.

 

Guidelines for Safety in the Use of Electricity in the Home

Electricity is very useful in the home, but it could be very dangerous if not properly handled. Consumers who use electrical appliances according to the specifications of the manufacturers and the power supply authority will find electricity an extremely useful servant. They will avoid fire hazards in their homes and unnecessary damage to their appliances. 

In order to ensure safety in the use of electricity in the home, the following guidelines are suggested:

1. Use the correct voltage for any given appliance. Most of the electrical appliances in our homes are rated 220-240V. Voltages higher or lower than this rating will damage an appliance.

2. Use voltage stabilizers to protect electrical appliances from voltage fluctuations. Stabilizers function to keep the supply of voltage within the specified range of 220-240V even when the external supply fluctuates.

i. Only switch on electricity when it is needed. Turn off all lights in the morning as soon as there is enough natural light.

ii. When cooking with it, reduce the heat as soon as the food starts to boil and turn off the plate when cooking is completed.

iii. Do not overload a circuit. See that all appliances used are in good condition. Change wires if they are exposed or faulty.

v. Plugs should be connected by a competent person. Most appliances have earthing and a fuse in the wiring, check for these. They make appliances safe to use.

vi.  Do not touch an appliance with wet hands.

vii. Unplug appliances from the mains when not in use, i.e., kettles, irons, cookers, etc.

viii. Check how many units each appliance you purchase consumes. This will help you to know how much it costs to run the item.

 

SSCE/WASSCE EXAMINATION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

l. a. Write down four reasons why good lighting is important in the home. (2004/2009)

Solution

Importance of lighting in the home include:

i) It provides a pleasant atmosphere for work relation. It prevents the straining of eyes.

iii) It prevents accidents, thereby promoting safety.

iv) It makes for efficiency of work.

v) It makes it possible for people to work in the night.

 

1. b. State six points to have in mind when using electricity in the home.

Solution

(i) Use the correct voltage for any given electrical appliance.

ii) Use voltage stabilizers to protect electrical appliances from voltage fluctuations.

iii) Avoid touching electrical appliances with wet hands.

iv) Do not overload socket circuit.

v) Keep electric sockets out of reach of children.

vi) Make sure to switch off electrical appliances after use.

vii) Use plugs that are fused and earthed.

 

2. (a) Explain four reasons why electricity is considered a useful utility in the home (2008)

Solution

(i) Electricity is used to operate labor saving devices and other equipment in the home.

(ii) Electricity provides light and thus a pleasant atmosphere in the home.

(iii) Electricity makes for efficiency in working areas in the home especially the kitchen

(iv) It promotes safety and prevents eyestrains.

(v) It is comparatively simple to use

(vi) It can also be supplied when needed and controlled effectively according to need.

 

(b) List

(i) Six artificial lighting used in the home.

(ii) Two natural lighting used in the home.

 

Solution

(i)         Artificial lighting used in the home include:

(i) Candle

(ii) Tin lamps 

(iii) Oil lamps or paraffin

(iv) Lantern or hurricane lamp

(v) Flash lights or torch light or battery light

(vi) Gas lights

(vii) Electric light

(viii) Rechargeable lights / lamps

 

(ii) Natural lighting used in the home include:

(i) Sunlight (day)

(ii) Moonlight and stars (night)

 

(c) State four advantages of artificial lighting

Solution

(i)It is predictable and controllable.

(ii) It can be moved around.

(iii) It extends the working hours.

(iv) Can be used at both day and night.

(v) Can be used to create different effects for decoration.

 

(d) Describe four safety measures that can be applied when using electricity in the home

Solution

(i) Use the correct voltage for any given electrical appliance

(ii) Use voltage stabilizers to protect electrical appliances from voltage fluctuations

(iii) Avoid over loading an electric point by indiscriminate use of adapters to connect more appliances to the point that it can carry.

 

EXAMINATION QUESTIONS

l.(a) State three different uses of fuel in the home giving an example of each

(b) State FOUR advantages and two disadvantages of using gas as fuel

(c) What FIVE things must be done to prolong the use of gas contained in a cylinder?

(d) Explain the functions of the following in the home:

(i) Main supply line of electricity:

(ii) Electricity meter;

(iii) Circuit (November 2004).

 

2. (a) State three uses of fuel in the home.

(b) Give FOUR advantages of using kerosene as fuel in the home

(c) Explain two ways of saving gas when cooking

(d) Explain three safety measures to take when using a gas cooker in the kitchen (November 2002).

 

3.(a) What is artificial lighting?

(b) state FOUR advantages and TWO disadvantages of artificial lighting.

(iv) Avoid the use of faulty appliances and installation to prevent excess current and shocks.

(v) Ensure that protective devices like fuses are installed at strategic positions in the building.

(vi) Avoid touching an electrical appliance or even a switch with a wet hand to prevent shock.

(vii) Wear rubber sandals or slippers when operating an electrical appliance.

(viii) Switch off electrical appliance after use

(ix) Keep electric sockets and appliances out of children's reach.

 

4. State FOUR reasons why good lighting is important in the home.

 

5.(a) Distinguish between soft water and hard water.

(b) Explain FOUR ways of conserving water in the home.

 

6. Identify and explain any three sources of water to the community.

 

7. Mention and explain any FOUR ways of purifying water.

 

8. State FOUR uses of water in the home.

 

9.(a)Explain five reasons for the good lighting in the home.

(b) State five uses of electricity in the home.

(c) Explain five ways of preventing electricity wastage in the home (WASSCE June 2016)

 


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