The Basics of Electrical Service

Electricians and electric services go together like hand in hand or hand in glove. Most people do not think of one without the other following soon enough. Hopefully, the situation in which these two subjects come to mind is not too terribly stressful. Either way, it is important to have a basic knowledge of electrical concepts to communicate intelligently with an electrician as needed. The concepts of voltage, current, resistance, power, charge, efficiency and factor should be understood by anyone who enjoys electrical service. Since most continents live under a light bulb, this includes nearly everybody on the planet.


Without going into a higher education level lecture complete with formulaic visual aid, voltage can be defined as the potential difference between two points in a field. It can be the little annoying pop between a fingertip and one unsuspecting victim. It can also be that flash of lighting, accompanied by a heart thumping bang of thunder that wakes us up at night. From there, other concepts follow. Current is the rate of flow in an electric charge that usually happens within a circuit. This rate is measured in ampere. The more amps means a bigger charge which is the difference between a pop or a flash accompanied by bang. Resistance is how well a material or device will let electricity flow through it. For example, the tip of carrot in a wall outlet is bad slapstick comedy while the tip of a butter knife under the same circumstance is just a bad idea. Electrical power is just the rate of consumption that flows through an electrical circuit. This measured in watts. The positive or negative charge is what actually makes an electric field where all the connections are made. One charge of each make an attraction. Two of the same result in repletion. Electric power efficiency is just the ratio of output power over input power. Power factor is the ratio of power in action through a devise and the power that is supplied to the circuit regarding AC (Alternating Current) circuits


Even though multitudes of people have access to electricity, providing power to the masses is not a one size fits all deal. There is institutional, residential, retail and commercial. And then of course, there are individuals with the savvy, property and forethought to have their own emergency source of power. The majority of people only need to worry about the electricity that comes into their home. More precisely, they think about the bill, the breaker box or the cost of repair if it is needed.


The bill all starts with the service connection that is produced and maintained by the electric company. The real devil in the details is the feeder wire of a residence and the measuring meter sends those little wheels spinning. The component that bring service together for the consumer is the main service panel also known as breaker box. From there the work gets passed along to the main breaker. Then the power flows through branch circuit breakers. This is the black panel most people know to go to when the power goes out throughout the whole house. The final link in the chain of the use service circle is the device running on power all the way from the generating source.