Electricity is a fundamental part of our lives, and understanding the basics of it is essential. In this article, we'll explore the three main components of electricity: voltage, current, and resistance. We'll also discuss where electricity comes from, why it's important to understand, and how to safely use it in your home. Electricity starts with the electrical service and the electric meter.
The utility's service cables (whether overhead or underground) extend to your home and connect to the utility's meter base. The electric meter measures the amount of electricity your home uses and is the basis for the charges on your electricity bill. Voltage is like the pressure that pushes water through a hose. It is measured in volts (V).
The current is like the diameter of the hose. Current is a flow of charge, measured in amperes or amperes (A). When there is a flow of 1 coulomb per second, a current of 1 ampere flows. Electricity can be generated chemically (as in batteries) or physically (by the friction of socks and carpet).
Regardless of how it's generated, electricity is always considered to move from positive to negative. The main difference between a series circuit and a parallel circuit is that more than one path is provided for current in the parallel circuit. Alternating current (AC) is the type of energy that electricity companies supply to businesses and homes. Direct current (DC) is almost always used inside electronic devices to power their internal components, but it can be harmful to audio signals, which are alternating current.
When an electrical circuit flows through a conductor, a magnetic field (or flow) develops around it. This phenomenon is known as induction. If you quickly pass a pole of a magnet past an electrical conductor (forming a right angle with it), a tension will be induced in the conductor for a moment. Electric resistance, measured in ohms, is the measure of the amount of current repulsion in a circuit.
When electrons flow against the opposition offered by resistance in the circuit, friction occurs and heat is produced. Standard outlets in a house are 15 amps or 20 amps; 20 amp outlets can provide more electricity without turning on a switch. GFCI outlets must be installed in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, basements, or any other area where receptacles are less than six feet from water in new buildings. Devices are all things connected to electricity, including switches, receptacles (sockets), lamps, and appliances. If you want to disconnect the electricity in your entire house, go to the service panel box and activate the switch to turn off the main switch.
Energy is always present in utility service lines and in the electric meter unless it's cut off by the utility company. This article has provided an overview of basic electrical knowledge. For more detailed information on this topic, consider reading an e-book on electricity with more than 100 pages.