It seems so simple. You get home from work, bump up the thermostat, grab a hot shower, and flip on the TV while dinner is warming in the oven. But you take for granted all these lovely conveniences rely on the electricity pumping through your home to exist. How does electricity arrive on the scene to keep your life running? It’s a complicated, albeit interesting journey…
Please May I Have Some More? Electricity Generation
Electricity begins its journey at the power plant, where it is brought into existence via fossil fuel or renewable resources ranging from coal and natural gas to hydroelectric and wind power. In most cases, these resources are used to power turbines via the force(s) of gas, steam, water, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and even nuclear fission.
An Interesting Twist – Turbine Use & Power Generation
As the turbines spin, powered by their chosen fuel source, the shaft between the turbine and a generator convert this kinetic energy into electrical current via the magnetic field within the generator – and produce voltage (electricity).
Which Way Do We Go? Electricity Transmission
After the voltage leaves the generator, it heads to the transmission substation. Already high voltage, the large transformers within the substation further ramp it up to extremely high levels (around 115,000-500,000 volts). This is essential for its efficient transmission towards its end destination (your home).
Bigger is Better: Transmission Lines and Poles
Huge steel towers and lines carry this high voltage electricity up to 300 miles – but it’s nowhere near ready for your home, yet. It must go through a step-down process (a reduction of voltage) for safety.
A Quick Switch – Transformers
Transformers then step-down voltage at switching stations/substations before it is distributed through neighborhood distribution lines.
Headed for Home: The Distribution System
After transformers reduce voltage to lower levels, it is more safely distributed locally. But it must be pared-down again for safety before being carried into your home. This happens via hanging transformers conveniently attached to distribution lines.
Dropping In – The Service Drop & Meter
Electricity is finally delivered to your home from the distribution transformers via a service wire connected to your home, called the ‘service drop.’ If service is underground, it will then be run through the meter box so the power company can monitor how much electricity you use (and have to pay for). For overhead service, it will be tied-in via the ‘weather head,’ or point of contact between your facilities and the electrical company’s, then run through the meter.
Honey, I’m H-O-M-E!
From the meter box, a wire is run into your home’s breaker box, which both supplies electricity to various circuits, wiring, and outlets throughout your home - and doubles as a safety mechanism in the event power must be cut-off for maintenance or emergency.
Lighting and technology in your home looking a little dim? You might not be getting enough juice to your older home. If ‘60 amps’ is proudly stated on the dusty breaker box in your basement, it’s time for an upgrade for the convenience and safety of inhabitants. Today’s tech-heavy homes often need 100 to 200 amp service panels to operate the glut of large and technologically advanced items within. Keep things flowing at the end-of-the-line - contact Mr. Electric today.
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