Understanding Electricity: Amps, Watts, and Volts

Electricity is described by three terms: Amps (amperage), Volts (voltage), and Watts (wattage). Often you will see amps, volts and watts listed on electrical items. Amps are simply the amount of electricity used by the item. Volts are the measure of the force of the electric. Amps multiplied by volts gives you the total wattage (workload). Understanding how the three terms relate helps with understanding the electrical requirements of an item.

Amps X Volts = Watts (Amount X Force = Workload)

Electrical items require a certain number of watts to run, and if the total watts exceed what the circuit can handle, the circuit kills the power as a safety precaution. For example, if you attempt use a microwave, a space heater, and a vacuum cleaner at one time and all three electrical outlets being used are connected to the same circuit, you will trip the breaker requiring you to perform a reset. Always check the electrical requirements for the item that you are installing to determine whether or not the item will require its own dedicated circuit.

Was this article helpful?
111 out of 135 found this helpful