Whenever looking at electrical devices or equipment, many people are confused by the difference between amps and volts, making it difficult for them to understand the purpose of each. By learning what each of these important electrical terms means, you can better use your electrical devices in a safe manner, which will help you avoid any electrical shocks, tripped breakers or other electrical mishaps.
One of the easiest ways to understand the difference between these electrical terms is to look at them from a more physical viewpoint. In order to do this, we will compare each with its plumbing equivalent. Imagine water running through a hose. Simply put, amps are just like the water that is flowing through the hose.
The amount of water running through a hose depends largely on the pressure that is forcing the water through the hose. In electrical terms, the amount of pressure forcing electricity through the wire is referred to as Volts. Whenever you combine the two, and multiply Amps x Volts, you get Watts. Watts would be the equivalent of the amount of electricity that is coming out of the wire at any given moment (Amps) and the amount of pressure pushing the electricity through the wire (Volts).
One of the most important reasons to understand these terms is to keep them in mind when using several different devices and appliances on a single circuit in your home. Each circuit in your home is protected by a circuit breaker that is designed to shut off the flow of power if the circuit becomes overloaded. By understanding how much electricity each appliance is designed to draw, you can more safely and effectively spread your appliances across your circuits.
If you notice that you have a circuit that is frequently tripping, or showing other signs of power drain, call an electrician right away. This could be a sign of deeper issues. If you are interested in more information about this or other electrical topics, our team at The Electric Connection has put together a solid list of related tips and articles in our website.