Why should electrical appliances be kept away from water and heat?

Expain intelligently please. I am a Jamaican and I really don't like when people answer questions foolishly.

4 Answers

  • Guru
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Pure water is a good electrical insulator. But the water from your tap, or bottled water is not pure. There are minerals in it, etc. that allow it to conduct electricity. Salt water is an even better conductor.

    So, when you get electrical components wet, you're providing a path (through the water) for electricity to flow. Electricity goes places its not supposed to by flowing through the water wherever it happens to be. This is know as an electrical short, or short circuit since the electicity doesn't flow through the circuit properly, but takes a 'short-cut' through the water.

    And if you happen to be unlucky enough to touch the wet surface, well, you're body is mostly water, saline at that, so the electricity can flow easily through your body, and you get a shock. How big of shock depends on a lot of factors, but for 115VAC it can be anything from painful to lethal.

    Getting electrical appliances wet is a problem whenever they're plugged in, even if they're not turned on. This is because if water gets into the power leads inside the appliance (the leads that connect to the wall plug) electricity will still have the opportunity to flow through the water.

    Appliances generate heat when they operate. The electrical components inside can operate at elevated temperatures, but only to a point and then they can become damaged. So, if you get an appliance too close to a heat source, you're heating the parts up inside before you've even turned the device on. When you do turn it on, the electronics generate even more heat raising their temperature even further which can lead to damage.

    Hope this helps,


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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    When a person exercises they preform work by burning calories. Their body needs to perspire else they suffer heat exhaustion. An appliance also works by burning electricity which often has the tendency to loose a lot of the work in the form of heat ( infrared light ). This is often wasted energy BTW. The appliance may run better at a stable temperature just like our body ( 98 degree ), but too much and it will fail either by the parts just wearing out or burning up.

    Water is generally not a problem as a previous answerer said. It is usually the chemical elements in the water that tend to cause rust, decay, mold, oxidation, and electrical shorts.

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  • 7 years ago

    when you mix electricity and not-totally-pure water you get electrochemical corrosion. even if the water was pure to start with it might dissolve salts off the appliance. if contacts are corroded, either etched away or oxide layers deposited, they will have a higher resistance, meaning that power will be dissipated in them, so they will get hot, accelerating any chemical reactions and possibly leading to melting or fire. it takes a while to happen, though.

    appliances should not be operated above their design temperature. raise the temperature enough and insulation will melt, causing short-circuits, or plastic parts will soften and warp so that things don't line up properly. e.g. the soap drawer on the washing machine can no longer be closed properly.

    of course, some appliances (like the washing machine) are designed to operate with water and heat - in the right place, i.e. the washer drum.

    if an appliance is wet, and has an electrical fault that causes an open circuit in the neutral line, there can be a fault current flowing through the water to ground, possibly through some person nearby. if there is no fault, the current is minimal.

    Source(s): done that - allowed a washing machine to overheat due to a failed sequencer, and used power tools with water running over them
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  • 7 years ago

    Electrical appliances already get hot, and they need to be in a cool area to keep from over heating. If you put them near heat, they will overheat and fail.

    Water can cause shorts and arcing which can lead to both failure and shock hazards.

    Source(s): BSEE
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