Though you may have learned the basics of electricity in high school, you may not remember much other than the fact that AC/DC is not just a heavy metal band name. You need a little more!
If you’re staring at a burned out light bulb wondering what to look for, check first for the amps, volts and wattage requirements of your light fixture. These are basic electrical specifications you need to get started.
In simplest terms:
· Amps is the amount of electrical current flowing through a device.
· Volts is the force of the electricity being sent.
· Watts is the electrical power delivered per second.
It helps to use an analogy. Electricity flowing through a wire is like water flowing through a garden hose.
· Amps is the amount of water that can flow through a hose based on the diameter of the hose.
· Volts is the pressure with which water is pushed through a hose based on how far open the faucet is.
If you use a wider hose or open up the faucet, more water will flow. The same is true of electricity. The greater the voltage or amps, the more electrical current will flow.
Now suppose you are using a hose to turn a waterwheel. A certain amount of power is needed to turn the wheel at a certain rate. In electrical terms, this is the wattage delivered to a device.
Wattage is the product of amps and voltage. As a formula, this is expressed as:
Volts (force) x Amps (current) = Watts (power)
A light bulb, like any electrical device, requires a certain amount of power to make it work. You’ll see voltage and wattage requirements listed on light bulbs, which are maximum values.
Tip: You can always use a lower voltage light bulb in a fixture that lists a higher rating – but never use a voltage that is higher than the maximum listed for the fixture!