electricity in the home

How Does Electricity Get in the Home: A Brief Guide

Need home electric help? Call our experts at P&C Electric at (407) 529-4138!

Nearly every homeowner depends on electricity in the home from the local power grid. Have you ever wondered how utility companies produce electricity and distribute it to customers? 

P&C Electric, the trusted Electrician in Oviedo, has an in-depth understanding of home electrification from start to finish. Let us share a few facts about power generation, distribution, and use in modern American homes.

Sources of Electrical Power

Power companies use many power sources depending on the region of the country. They include:

  • Fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and others)
  • Solar power
  • Wind
  • Nuclear power
  • Hydroelectric power

In recent decades, renewable energy sources have become more popular, in part due to decreasing electricity costs and increases in energy efficiency. However, fossil fuels still provide the majority of power in the United States.

In power plants around the country, these power sources release their energy, and utility companies transfer that energy into electrical current. The process is not 100% efficient since residual energy escapes in other forms, such as heat.

Some consumers with solar panels can use solar power directly for their own energy consumption or sell it to the power company to reduce their energy bills.

Transmission of Electricity Through Wires

Despite research in wireless power transmission going back over a century, electric power comes to American homes through wires. Some locations use buried lines to prevent power disruption during storms. However, burying power lines is costly and time-consuming, so many towns in Central Florida have above-ground power lines.

Electric current travels through wires in the form of alternating current. In alternating current (AC), the direction of power transmission changes multiple times per second, while direct current flows down the wire in one direction.

For technical reasons, power transmission at high voltage is easier with alternating current. Without it, home electricity would have to be much closer to homes and not practical in many locations.

Electricity in power lines is also significantly higher voltage than when it reaches the home, hundreds of thousands of volts. For some lines, called sub-transmission lines, the voltage is lower but still high, tens of thousands of volts. Electricity in the home is 120V AC for most circuits.

Electrical Power From the Power Grid to the Home

Transformers change the voltage of electricity. A transformer near your home converts the high-voltage current into two lines of 120-volt power and a ground wire for safety. The electricity in the home passes through a meter that measures your electricity usage and the electrical panel with circuit breakers that cuts power to a circuit if an electrical fault occurs.

Some appliances run on AC, while other electronic devices (including computers and televisions) run on DC. These devices have a rectifier that converts AC into DC.

Discover the Power of Home Power with P&C Electric

Our P&C Electric team can fix electrical issues that keep you from enjoying the full benefits of electricity in the home. Call (407) 529-4138 to learn more about our services and discuss your home remodel or repair project with a professional electrician.