If you’ve ever lived in Europe or elsewhere, you may have noticed that you needed a voltage converter to power such things as your hair dryer if you brought one with you. Did you ever wonder why Europe has a different voltage than the United States?
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WHY IS VOLTAGE DIFFERENT IN EUROPE THAN IN NORTH AMERICA?
The answer lies in when electricity first began to be used by the masses at the turn of the 20th century. Both Canada and the United States use voltage of between 100 and 127 volts; whereas Europe and most other countries use voltage between 220 and 240 volts.
A man by the name of Nikola Tesla did a bunch of experiments in the late 19th century. His goal was to determine the best frequency and voltage for electricity to travel on. He concluded that for alternating currents, 240 volts worked best at 60 Hz frequencies. However, back in the United States, Edison preferred direct current and 110 volts. While 100 volts is safer, alternating current can travel a lot farther easier.
Basically, it all comes down to who discovers the processes first and successfully implements them. The German company AEG built Europe’s first electricity generating facility. They fixed the frequency at 50 Hertz, and because AEG had a virtual monopoly on electrical power generation (being the only company doing so at the time), their standards spread when others opened up.
An increased voltage allows more power with fewer losses. America did consider changing over to 220 volts in the 1950s. However, by that time, so many Americans had appliances in their homes that the cost to replace all of these appliances would have been huge. This led to many burnt out light bulbs in the United States, especially when too close to a transformer and not enough voltage to power increasingly powerful appliances, computers, and the like.
Finally, the decision was made to install in all older buildings and houses with 240 volts that would be split into two 120 volts in the house, which, between the two of them, would be enough to meet all of the power needs of your average American household and building. The neat thing about the split wire is that appliances that do need more power to adequately run, such as your refrigerator and air conditioning unit, can use the full 240 volts safely through the use of a common neutral wire.
HOW DELTA ELECTRIC IN JACKSON CAN HELP
Delta Electric offers local electricians who do both residential and commercial electrical services in the greater Jackson area. From your home to your office, we can handle any electrical problem or improvement, including rewiring your electrical outlets and installing a new circuit breaker box. When you partner with us, you can rest assured that your electrical problem will be fixed and much improved. Our team of electrical experts is dedicated to customer satisfaction and professionalism. We are licensed, bonded, and insured. Give us a call today for all of your electrical service needs!