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Understanding Electricity Basics to Deal More Efficiently with Problems

Understanding Electricity Basics to Deal More Efficiently with Problems

220 vs 240 outletMost homeowners are happy with the fact that they have the electricity in their homes. Or maybe they have one more concern about whether their homes have enough electrical outlets so that they can run their blender, treadmill or a table lamp at whatever location they want. However, it’s important to have some more knowledge about the electricity to understand why sometimes, especially in the summer, appliances suddenly stop or lights dim or why storms bring blackouts.

The basic thing you should know about is the voltage ranges that operate in your home. But even before you come to know the comparison of 220 vs. 240 outlet, you may need to know the meaning of the term “voltage”.

What is Voltage?

An easy way to understand what voltage is, is to compare it with water. Just as water flows from high level to low level, electricity too flows from higher level to lower level. The flow is called as current and the difference between the pressures that pushes it along is known as voltage and it’s measured in volts.

Cord Size

Now just as if water levels in two tanks are the same but the pipes connected to the tanks are of different widths, water in the larger pipe will flow with more force than that in the smaller pipe, even if the electricity entering your home is the same, it’s connected to your different appliances with cords of different widths and lengths as per the electricity those appliances need. Thus, the cord of your washing machine will be much larger than that of your smartphone charger because your washing machine needs a lot more power than your smartphone.

Circuit Breaker Box

However, cord size is not the only thing that regulates the power entering your home. Another thing called a circuit breaker box also has a role to play.

The electricity entering your home is routed through the circuit breaker box and is divided into different voltage ranges.

The electrical system in each home consists of 3 wires – two line wires and one ground. The power entering your home is split in the circuit breaker box and supplied to your lights and appliances as per their energy needs. One line wire supplies low amount of electricity to basic appliances like lamps, while both line wires and the ground supply power to larger appliances. Thus the balance within the system is maintained when electrical load increases.

Voltage Fluctuations

You may wonder why voltage fluctuations occur when the system maintains its balance. The answer is that when stable voltage levels are disrupted, power surges, blackouts, brownouts and sags occur. For example, turning off or unplugging larger appliances like AC units can cause power surges. Because these appliances use a lot of electricity when they’re used, stopping them can cause an increase in voltage levels. Similarly, lights in summer dim or shut off because voltage levels are reduced, usually due to the power company who do that because reducing power levels during peak hours is essential for preventing overloads to electrical grids.

Using power suppressors or conditioners is a great way to prevent this because these gadgets keep your voltage levels steady.

These basics in electricity will help you understand what’s going on with the electricity in your home, and you can deal with the problems more efficiently.

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