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Understanding Electrical Voltage

Electrical Voltage
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Most people only think about voltage when they need to change the batteries of their remote control. We’ve all encountered that brief yet petrifying moment. Of course, the remote dies during a commercial break, after you’ve turned from that nail-biting movie or that close baseball game. First, you take out the dead batteries and see what size they are, then you sprint to the drawer in the kitchen that holds the stash of batteries. Thirty seconds later, the remote control is working again. Despite the fact that our entire civilization runs on that same electrical energy that fuels your remote control, chances are, you won’t think about voltage for another several months, until you need to change those batteries again!

What is Voltage?

To put it simply, voltage is what makes those electrical charges move through circuits and wires. Voltage is the pressure that pushes charged electrons, therefore, the different voltage will produce different pressure.

When we use a flashlight, we flick the switch, and suddenly the battery in the flashlight awakens. The difference between the two battery poles, negative and positive, is activated. This difference creates a pressure that forces electrons to flow along a wire. When the current reaches the light, it turns on.

The voltage of this flashlight is important because it determines how many electrons flow through a current at a given time. In other words, the voltage used for this flashlight will be different from the voltage used for your computer, because more electrons are needed for your computer.

Voltage is Different Across the World

Voltage is also different in various electrical wall outlets scattered across the globe. For example, in America, the standard voltage is rated at 120 volts. In many European countries, the standard voltage is rated at 240. If you use the wrong voltage your device may not work, or worse, it may blow up or cause a short circuit. If you have a 240-volt charging device, you could use it on a 120-volt circuit, but it will just take a long time to charge.

To make it even more difficult, there are differently shaped electrical outlets around the world. So, you won’t even be able to plug your device into the wall in a foreign city. A little preparation though could easily circumvent this problem. Plug adapters are cheap and easy to get. It’s important when buying these adapters to be aware of the voltage needed. Be sure to read the small print on the device to learn the voltage required.

If your device works in the country you are traveling to, all you need is a plug adapter to fit the different shaped electrical outlet. If your device does not work and runs on a different voltage that the country you are going to uses, you need to get a voltage converter.

At Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric we provide a wide variety of residential and commercial electrical services – Call 1-800-475-1504 today to learn more.


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