Electricity refers to a form of energy that results from the existence of charged particles. These particles, such as protons and electrons may either exist in a static state as a result of accumulation of charge or dynamically as a result of the flow of current.
Electricity as a form of energy has many uses including supplying energy to industrial plants as well as residential homes. In this article we shall look at the exact process that entails the flow of electricity from the production plants to your home. Join me, therefore as we look into the science of home electrical systems.
At The Plants
The electricity production plants generate electricity through steam that results from the combustion of fossil fuels or at a hydroelectric or nuclear plant.
Once generated, this steam powers a turbine and the turbine spins a huge magnet that’s inside a copper wire. As a result, the heat energy generated transforms into mechanical energy before converting into electrical energy.
From the Plant to Your Home
Once generated, electricity flows from the plant through wires that are intermittently connected by a chain of transformers hung on electrical poles.
The sole purpose of these transformers is to raise the pressure of the electricity so that it can travel over long distances and finally reach your home, especially if you are located far away from the production plants. The pressure can be raised to 756 000 volts.
The current is then run through power lines to a substation transformer where pressure is further lowered to between 2000 & 13000 volts.
From the substations, electricity is taken through various lines to a pole transformer or a transformer box in case of underground connections. At this point, pressure is lowered further to between 120 & 240 volts.
From the Transformer To Your Power Control Panel
From the transformer, electricity travels to your home power control panel. This is usually a cabinet which contains a system of electrical wires as well as electrical components needed to control the motors and equipment. Depending on the size of your house, the panel could be located inside the house or in a specially designed shed outside.
Aside from housing the electrical components, the power control panel protects the contents from electrical wires from harsh weather, especially rain and storms that could trigger massive failures in the system.
Movement Within Your Home
It is important to note that not all homes have the Power Control Panels and in such cases, electricity is passed directly from the pole transformer to the meter box. The meter box is used to measure the number of units of electrical energy used in your home. These units are measured in kWh.
From the meter box, electricity will go through the main switch. The main switch plays vital roles as it can be sued to cut off the supply of electricity altogether, either for repair and maintenance needs or simply as a measure of caution.
Movement to Lighting and other Appliances
For electricity to flow to a light or an appliance, a path is provided through which it can also return to the generator. This path forms the circuit. The path must be made up of at least two wires namely the active or live wire that takes electricity away from the generator and to your home appliances and the neutral wire that takes the electricity away from your home appliances back to the generator. This explains why each appliance must have at least two wires.
Additionally, a large number of electrical outlets, also referred to as power points, need to be included in your home as these not only reduce the risk of overloading but also eliminate the excessive use of double adaptors and extension cords.
Last but not least, an efficient electrical system in your house should contain a fuse board. The board contain fuses that act as safety valves that protect the wires as well as the occupants of the house. In order to ensure that you and your appliances are safe, the fuse acts as a safety device and detects any extra loads beyond the amount it was designed to carry. This load will cause it to melt and low up, thereby disconnecting the devise from electrical supply and ultimately ensuring its and your safety.