Basic Knowledge About Electricity

You will always find electricity wherever you go because it’s one of the essential energy types required by many. People need electricity to power their computers, appliances, and buildings. The electricity illuminates the inside of a commercial building and powers the HVAC systems and elevators. 

It’s also essential to have basic knowledge about electricity to know how to deal with different electrical problems or solutions. In most cases, building owners with adequate knowledge can save them money since they don’t have to hire a professional electrician to solve a simple electrical problem. 

The Three Basic Components of Electricity

Three components make up electricity, which is voltage, resistance, and current. Each component is vital for electricians and contractors, and learning their difference helps them do their job faster and efficiently.

  • Voltage – The first component is voltage, and it’s the pressure that comes from an electrical circuit’s energy source that pushes the current (charged electrons) through a conducting cycle, empowering anything that requires electricity like lights. You can relate voltage to how pressure pushes the water out of a hose. You can measure voltage in volts (V).
  • Current – The second component is current, which measures the opposite force to the current flow in an electrical circuit. They are a stream of charged ion or electron particles that pass through electrical conductors like electrical cables. You can also relate it to the hose’s diameter. If you have larger electrical wires or cables, it can let tons of electricity go through it without a problem. The wider the hose diameter, the more water it can pass through. You measure current by in ohms (I or A).
  • Resistance – The third component is resistance. It is a force that counteracts the electrical current. When an electron differential is present within two terminals, the electricity will flow high to low, and resistance prevents that flow. Keep in mind that the lesser the resistance, the greater the electrical current. You can measure resistance in ohms (R or Ω).

How Electricity Functions in the Grid and Electronics

There are at least four ways electricity works: Direct Current, Alternating Current, Transformers, and Batteries. 

  • Direct Current (DC) – It is how electric current flows typically in your electronics or grids from the source until it reaches its endpoint. Thomas Edison originally founded DC during the Current Wars during the late 1800s. However, DC lost the Current Wars between the grid, but it found its way into modern electronics, like phones, computers, and televisions. 
  • Alternating Current (AC) – AC is an electrical current that keeps going back and forth in a direction many times per second at streamlined intervals. You can mostly find AC in power supplies, and it contrasts with DC. George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla were the first people to learn about AC. Nowadays, AC is the global standard for providing electricity to homes, buildings, and other structures via the grid. It’s also one reason building owners should install plastic ceiling access panels to protect electrical components from different elements like moisture.
  • Batteries – You use batteries to provide electricity to many electronics. Batteries can vary in many sizes, like AA batteries that you can use to power flashlights. There are larger batteries designed to store more energy for cars and other things that require a ton of power. There are many metrics that you can utilize for the battery capacity, including kilowatt-hours and amp-hours. Remember that batteries can only produce DC power. 
  • Transformers – Electricians consider transformers as passive components that transfer electrical power from one electrical circuit to another. In most cases, it can supply electrical energy to multiple circuits, and it’s the reason you will see transformer poles wherever you go. 

Note that electricity can travel at great distances with fewer losses because the resistance does not obstruct the electricity when the current is lower. It’s also why transformers only work with AC due to their ability to let electricity pass through miles of electrical cables.

The Difference Between Electrical Power and Energy

Some people get confused about electrical power and energy because they sound the same. That’s not the case because they are two different significant terms related to electronics and electrical systems. The main difference is that electrical energy shows the amount of work done that causes an electrical current to pass through a circuit. On the other hand, electrical power explains the rate at which the movement of charges happens in an electrical circuit, and you can specify the rate according to unit time. 

It would be best to remember and understand the different basics about electricity mentioned above. At one point, you might call an electrician for an electrical repair or work in your building, and they may talk to you about things electrical-related. It’s also an excellent way to resolve electrical problems on your own, especially when you encounter ones that are easy to work with using tools from a toolbox. 

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