Have you ever wondered how does electricity work? We all know the basics of how to access electricity. However, there’s an immense power behind our energy supply that most of us don’t really understand. After all, electricity animates the human brain, our nerves, and everything in between. It’s integrated into our bodies. You’re utilizing the electric currents in your mind to read this right now, and comprehend exactly what’s going on. That being said, doesn’t it deserve a little more investigation from everybody?
From The Ground Up
Electricity is broken up into a lot of complex parts. We’re going to start with the basics and work our way up from there. A single current of electricity is comprised of electrons. Think of a racetrack. Cars stat out at the finish line, and come full circle back to the same spot. That’s how electrons work, only they’re carrying microscopic little bits of electricity to form a bigger picture.
If you’re familiar with a certain classic rock band from England, you may be surprised to know that AC DC didn’t get their name out of nowhere. You have two main circuits that electrons flow: AC, and DC. You may have seen the term “AC Adapter” when opening a new electronic with a wall plug-in charger. AC (alternating current) travels all over the place, even if it’s between two points, while DC (direct current) goes from A to B, and that’s it. It flows in a singular direction.
How Does Electricity Work: Circuit Breakers
In your home, you know where your circuit breaker is. This is where all the veins of your home that carry electricity come to roost. Every main wire is heading into this little box; it’s the central hub of your home’s power delegation. Your circuit breaker is there to quite literally break up the circuits to prevent damage or overcharging in one direction. It’s entire purpose is to detect and intervene with wrongful electrical currents.
120 Volts and 240 Volts and Street Powerlines
It’s not uncommon to see these terms around the house, especially on yellow caution labels on the back of washing machines and electric stoves. 120V and 240V is the difference between a non-fatal shock, and a fatal shock, respectively. 240V are much bigger, and end up powering larger appliances. Your standard wall plug is 120V, such as your microwave or a standing lamp.
Remember that circuit breaker? It feeds to the powerline on the street, and that’s where your electricity is actually coming from, thanks to your provider. Most homes in America have three lines coming in: two hot lines, and one neutral line. For most of your needs (that’s the 120V) one hot line and the one neutral line cross, and you have 120 volts. For your large-scale appliances (that’s the 240V) all three lines converge to bring ample electric power. Much like our racetrack analogy, we come full circle to understand that the power feeds from the street powerline, and through the process of AC and DC electrical current, we get 120V and 240V power options. But it doesn’t stop there.
How Does Electricity Work: Generating Power
Power comes through the powerlines, then to your circuit breaker. It’s safely distributed to your home, where you get 120V or 240V outlets. Great, we know how it feeds into your home, but have you ever thought of where it comes from? Understanding how electricity works means we need to go all the way to its creation.
We all know that lightning is loose electricity, crashing to the ground from the sky, most commonly during a big storm. One bolt of lightning (their sizes and lengths can vary, and in turn, the voltage can vary), packs a powerful 2,000,000V in a single strike. Powerplants create much more than that in a single day.
Through different gas or coal-powered generators in powerplants, electricity is created. In a similar fashion to how alternative energy sources are gathered, these generators move magnets and other metals in specific ways to generate and capture electricity. It’s the form of converting one energy source into another.
There is one infinite energy source: solar energy. Between wind, solar, and hydroelectric power stations, we’re converting energy that we’ve been taking for granted. The more and more you think about everything that we know, it all requires some sort of energy source: we rely on food, natural-grown food relies on the sun, and so on, and so forth.
Electricity is generated in multiple ways: converted from kinetic energy and transformed into electrical energy, and then, transferred into the devices and appliances that we use every day. From massive amount of generation, electricity is compressed into powerlines, which then feeds into our circuit breakers, and feeds through various veins of our home. It all starts out big and massive, and then narrows into small bits of harvestable energy that we utilize every day, and take for granted.
Having respect for the power you use and understanding how it works is essential in understanding the future of electricity generation and sources for alternative power. Nobody understands that better than B&B Electric. For the solution to every one of your electrical problems, call (817) 600-8376.