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Low Voltage versus High Voltage: Uses and Differences

The topic of voltage doesn’t always enter your mind. But it is an important subject to understand especially when you’re talking about electricity.

Voltage is one of the factors in evaluating electrical appliances and power lines. Understanding voltage ranges have implications on your safety as well as on the operation of the entire power system of your homes or commercial establishments. Moreover, it’s important that you can differentiate low voltage and high voltage to meet the requirements your appliances and electrical equipment need.

Low Voltage

Voltage ranges differ depending on the electrical safety code of the country. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) designates voltages from 50 V to 1000 V alternating currents and 120 V to 1500 V direct current as low voltage. Low voltage circuits are relatively harmless but can still cause electric shock and burns.

Low voltage is utilized in home and office electrical wiring for appliances that are commonly plugged into wall sockets. A typical Australian household has a mains voltage of 230 V which is within the range of normal home wiring at 100 V to 240 V AC. Although this is the case, the voltage range is considered by homeowners as high voltage. To them, low voltage devices are those ranging from 5 V to 24 V.

Aside from the mains electricity, low voltage wirings may also be used in: 

  • lightings and smart systems 
  • outdoor electrical fixtures
  • fire alarm systems and CCTV
  • doorbells
  • thermostats
  • sensors and access controls
  • batteries

High Voltage

High voltage is defined as greater than 1000 V AC and above 1500 V DC. Electrical energy at these voltage ranges can be fatal to humans and other living creatures, especially because high voltage can cause electrical arcing. 

High voltage electricity is optimal for extensive areas to be supplied with adequate electricity such as small factories and industries. Moreover, it can also be used in complex industrial, military and scientific applications such as in:

  • cathode-ray tubes 
  • X-rays and particle beams generation
  • photomultiplier tubes
  • high power amplifier vacuum tubes 
  • huge powerplants

Implications of Low and High Voltage

When electricity runs through your home wiring system, it passes through the circuit breaker which splits off the power into various voltage ranges and supplies the appropriate voltage level to your devices. This means that voltage ranges entering your home’s system are regulated through the circuit breaker.

However, power surges and drops can disrupt this voltage stability when the supplied voltage is too high or too low, respectively. Surges in voltage levels can occur when you unplug huge power-hogging devices such as air conditioning units and refrigerators. As a result, your other electrical equipment will be oversupplied with electricity and can be damaged or burnt.

On the other hand, blackouts or brownouts can occur if there is a drop in the power supply. When this happens, your electrical devices will not be able to receive enough power causing it to operate poorly or be delayed.

Conclusion

Supplying the appropriate voltage range to your electrical devices is essential for your safety and the longevity of your appliances. If the basic concept of low and high voltage perplexes you, perhaps working on your home electrical project is not for you.

That’s why Sydney Eastern Suburbs Electrician is here to help you with all your electrical service needs. We understand that experimenting with electricity is a fatal task to deal with so our company only employs licensed and skilled level 2 electricians to perform these dangerous electrical tasks. Our promise is to keep you safe and give you quality electric work.

Don’t take the risk! Feel free to contact us at (02) 8378-2827. 

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