Electrical Measurements

How to Understand Electrical Power Measurements

Have you ever been confused by a device that measured electricity in amps? Or maybe you weren’t sure what your electrician meant when he talked about something in terms of volts? Or perhaps you were surprised that a new piece of electrical equipment was measured in watts?

If you’ve ever been confused about what all these measurements mean, you’re definitely not alone. For the average homeowner, it can be hard to keep up with all the various terminology surrounding electrical power. Keep reading to learn how to understand electrical power measurements, and make sure to contact our expert Raleigh electricians at CMC Electric for installations, repairs, and inspections.

What Do Different Power Measurements Mean?

  • Amps: An ampere, generally shortened to “amp,” is the unit in which electrical currents are measured. One amp is equal to the current that flows with a charge of a single coulomb, which is the SI (international system of units) for an electrical charge. Or, to put it as simply as possible, amps are used to measure the current moving through a single charge of electricity. When your circuit breaker becomes overloaded, it is because there are more currents flowing through your home than the amount of amperage it is designed to handle.
  • Volts: A volt is the SI unit for electromotive force. It relates to the potential for one ampere of current to withstand one ohm—the SI unit for electrical resistance. Essentially, measuring something’s voltage is like measuring the amount of electrical pressure it can withstand. Your system can only withstand so much electrical power, so if you plug in a device that generates too many volts, the pressure could shut down your system.
  • Watts: One watt is equal to a joule (the SI unit for work energy) of power that an electric circuit can generate, when there is a potential difference of one volt and one ampere. Basically, a watt is a measure of force. If an amp is how much current is flowing at one time, and a volt is that current’s ability to cause pressure, the amount of wattage is the force that pressure ultimately exerts. If your circuit breaker exceeds the number of watts it is designed to produce, the force could blowout your electrical system.

The More You Know

At CMC Electric, we know firsthand that electricity is complicated. It even took a long time for our skilled Raleigh electricians to master the science behind all this. But we believe helping homeowners and business-owners become more informed creates a safer environment for everyone. Keep exploring our blog for electrical tips and tricks, and call today to take advantage of special offers and financing options.

CMC Electric is available 24/7 at (919) 694-4454, or you can contact us now online.

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