Difference Between Amperage and Voltage?
When you’re designing an electrical wiring plan, you need to factor in voltages, amperages, wattages, and more. What do all these terms mean? Are they just different words for the same thing?
In this post, we’ll look at two measurement systems you should get to know. Voltage and amperage are both measures of electricity, but they measure different things.
What Is Voltage?
Voltage refers to the amount of pressure produced by your electrical current. Electricians use the symbol V or the term volts to describe the difference in potential between two points of a conductor. If a constant current equals 1 amp, the energy it gives off equals one watt.
In simple terms, voltage is like water pressure. It is the measure of how quickly the current pulses through a wire or conductor.
Why is it important to know this? Many people are cautious around high-wattage appliances, and it’s always smart to be cautious with electricity. In reality, however, it’s the voltage that can harm you during an electrical accident. The electricity that’s traveling at high pressure and high voltage is more dangerous than electricity that’s moving slowly or at low pressure.
What Is Amperage?
Amperage refers to the amount of current traveling through a current. Electricians use the term “amps” to measure volume rather than the speed of the power in the conductor. Every appliance or light fixture is rated for a specific number of amps. To give you specific examples, consider that the average overhead room light uses four amps, a furnace fan uses nine amps and a room air conditioner uses 13 amps.
How Do They Work Together?
Amps supply the needed amount of current to each light fixture, appliance, electronic device, and TV in your home. The voltage running through your wires pushes those amps out at the correct time for each of those devices, fixtures, or appliances. Volts drive the amps through the circuits and deliver the amps where they’re needed.
You get watts when you multiply the voltage by amperage. It measures the amount of power a particular device will draw from the current. Electricians use another term called volt-amperes to estimate the power a particular item will draw.
How Does This Relate to Electrical Safety?
When you’re measuring levels of electricity, it’s important to know the amperage of an outlet or conductor. The amperage determines how much electricity your body will absorb.
The symbol mA refers to a milliampere or one-thousandth of an ampere. The typical household circuit carries 15 to 20 amps or 15,000 to 20,000 mA.
What will different amp levels cause? Here are some examples.
- One mA: You’ll feel a slight tingle.
- 5 mA: You’ll feel a sharper tingle. You may feel pain, but you will be able to let go of the wire.
- 6 to 30 mA: At this level, the shock will be painful. You may also experience so-called “freezing currents,” which means you can’t let go of the wires. The 6 to 16mA range is sometimes called the “let-go” range.
- 50 to 150 mA: You will feel extreme pain and muscular contractions. Freezing currents will keep you from being able to drop the wires.
- 200 to 2000 mA: At this level, you will suffer cardiac arrest, severe burns, and probable death.
- 2000 and up: Death is almost a certainty at this level.
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