Skilled Trades

Industrial vs. Residential Electricity: What You Need to Know at Electrician School

February 09, 2018

become a maintenance electrician

To the average person, electricity is electricity. It all keeps the lights on, gets motors running, and performs thousands of other tasks at home, at work, and out in the world. Professionals with electrician training, though, know that there’s a bit more to the story, with significant differences existing between the electrical setups in different environments.

Want to get better acquainted with different electrical setups before you start your electrician training? Here’s a look at some of the differences between industrial and residential electricity.

Become a Maintenance Electrician and You’ll See How Powerful Industrial Electricity is

The main, and perhaps most obvious, difference between industrial and residential electricity is that industrial setups are usually far more powerful than the ones connected to a home. They use what is known as “three-phase electric power,” which allows a far greater amount of power – up to 600 volts – to be transmitted.

Single-phase electricity like you would get at home hits a maximum of 120 volts. The extra capacity allows for more to be done in an industrial setting, since big machines need a lot more power than your everyday stove or TV.

It also means amateur handymen should never work with industrial electrical setups. Instead, they should leave that kind of work to individuals who have received proper training at electrician school, both in how to work with the specific capabilities of industrial electricity and in the correct safety protocol for industrial work.

Electrician School Graduates Work With Specialized Equipment in Industrial Settings

Different kinds of components are required to enable and accommodate the difference in industrial electricity’s capabilities. One prime example is the industrial circuit breaker. It operates according to the same basic premise as a residential circuit breaker, set to trip and break off the flow of electricity when an overload is detected by the system.

The main difference is, of course, in the level of risk present when something goes wrong. With industrial and commercial electrical setups carrying a current that is many times more powerful than those designed for homes, it’s absolutely vital that the breakers be able to both handle much stronger loads and be able to work flawlessly in shutting down currents that are threatening to overload the system.

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Specialized circuit breakers and other components are used in industrial electrical setups

To become a maintenance technician who is able to work in the industrial sector means becoming familiar with these and other specialty components. A good electrical training program will provide expert guidance and hands-on experience working in this area, ensuring graduates leave fluent in the skills and knowledge required in all sorts of electrical work.

Complexities in Industrial Electrical Costs Mean There’s Great Desire for Better Efficiency

Inefficient energy use means more cost for the same result, which is of course something that no client wants. Combine that with complexities present in the industrial energy pricing model, in which it is not just total energy usage that affects a bill, but also sometimes the maximum amount of power the client might draw at any one time, and the need to keep energy costs lower gains renewed importance.

Today, there are also other factors, like carbon taxation and other energy reduction measures, which might also place pressure on organizations to cut down on energy usage. By comparison, homeowners and renters tend to enjoy a relatively simple, consumption-based bill, and shouldn’t directly experience quite as much pressure to cut down.

What could this mean? For one thing, it’s likely that clients will see the value in acquiring the services of well-trained electrical technicians who can service their machinery, keep it running in tip-top shape, and keep energy costs as low as possible. Complete training that includes an education in industrial electricity, and you could be poised to take advantage of these opportunities.

electrician career in construction

Training in repairing industrial electrical equipment could help you meet demand for greater efficiency

Do you want to become an expert in electrical installation and repair?

Contact North American Trade Schools to become a maintenance electrician today!

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