Posted 01-30-2004 at 04:35:11
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We have a five hundred gallon fiberglass water tank that we have converted to use for feed storage. It's great, it keeps the feed fresh, and holds three tons, which is what we buy each trip. The tank sits on a twelve foot trailer. When it needs to be filled, we just drag trailer and all to Parrish and get it filled and then park it back under the shed roof.
The only problem is, when the feed gets low, the only way to get it out is to lean over the side of the tank and suction it through the fill hole using a big shop vac. We vaccuum it out into the shop vac drum which holds fifteen or twenty gallons, but our trusty shop vac quit working three or four days ago so I went to Walmart to pick up a replacement.
Day before yesterday, when I leaned against the trailer to scoop feed out of the new vac, I got zapped. Shocked. I didn't pay any mind, just went on about my business.
Yesterday afternoon Jill went out to feed and a few minutes later, she came in and told Fred that the trailer was shocking her. I wasn't home, but when I pulled up in the yard, Jill and Fred were standing at the side of the trailer scratching their heads.
"Cindi! Come here! Jill says she is getting shocked!"
"Yeah I know," I said walking up, "the same thing happened to me."
We checked the cord on both the extension and the new vac and found no problems. There was no water or anything else that could carry a current. The trailer sits on four rubber tires and was not touching the ground other than where the tongue sat, and it was resting on a short length of two by four.
"Where are you getting shocked?" I asked Jill, who is not known for her enthusiasm regarding feeding chores. She gets out of it every chance she gets, and I couldn't remember if I had told her about getting shocked when it happened to me, and she was just trying to use that as an excuse.
"Through my feet!"
I looked at her feet. She was wearing water-proof hiking boots with a three quarter inch rubber waffle sole.
"That's impossible! Look at your soles, electricity won't travel through rubber."
"Okay, you have rubber soles on, you get up there and try it." She said, folding her arms over her chest.
Since I remembered getting shocked just a few days before, I suddenly lost all faith in what I knew about electricity.
"Uh, uh." I said grinning. "Fred, you do it."
"He11 no! I'm not doin' it."
"What GOOD are ya?" I demanded. "YOU might as well go back in the house!"
"Okay." He turned to leave.
"No you don't! You oughta be ashamed, standing there, the man of the house, letting the women get shocked!"
"Hey, electricity is my kryptonite. I ain't touchin' nothin'!"
"Useless." I muttered, laughing. Then.. "Well at least scoop the feed out of the vacuum so I can refill it. It's all plastic, it can't hurt you."
That's when we figured out what was going on. Fred put his hand over the open vacuum drum and the feed, which is a fine ground corn and powdered supplement mixture, just started sailing out, clinging to his hand, and there was a mighty POP!
Which prompted him to throw the feed scoop halfway across the yard. I swear I was laughing so hard I literally had to cross my legs.
Jill was wearing a flannel shirt, her long hair flying, rubbing up against the fiberglass of the tank, on a cold day, and pumping feed into a brand new plastic vacuuum tub. Every possible worse scenario for static electricity.
She had built up such a charge that every time she moved she got zapped, and now she wanted to share the joy. She wasn't getting shocked THROUGH her feet, she was building up static and it was traveling through her body and ENDING in her feet.
We all agreed, rather sheepishly that it was only static, but Fred was still standing five feet away, refusing to come near. Every time I looked at his face I burst into laughter again. There he stood, six foot in his sock feet and two hundred and forty pounds looking like a little boy contemplating his first fight with the school bully. Jill and I finally gave up on getting any real help from him and let him off the hook. I had to finish pumping feed by myself but I was wearing a t shirt and made sure not to lean against the tank when I did it. Fred said maybe we can run a wire from the trailer to the something or other and ground it. True? Will that help?