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Electric power is the product of two quantities: current and voltage. These two quantities can vary with respect to time (AC power) or can be kept at constant levels (DC power).
Most refrigerators, air conditioners, pumps and industrial machinery use AC power whereas most computers and digital equipment use DC power (the digital devices you plug into the mains typically have an internal or external power adapter to convert from AC to DC power). AC power has the advantage of being easy to transform between voltages and is able to be generated and utilised by brushless machinery. DC power remains the only practical choice in digital systems and can be more economical to transmit over long distances at very high voltages (see HVDC).1415
The ability to easily transform the voltage of AC power is important for two reasons: Firstly, power can be transmitted over long distances with less loss at higher voltages. So in power systems where generation is distant from the load, it is desirable to step-up (increase) the voltage of power at the generation point and then step-down (decrease) the voltage near the load. Secondly, it is often more economical to install turbines that produce higher voltages than would be used by most appliances, so the ability to easily transform voltages means this mismatch between voltages can be easily managed.14
Solid state devices, which are products of the semiconductor revolution, make it possible to transform DC power to different voltages, build brushless DC machines and convert between AC and DC power. Nevertheless devices utilising solid state technology are often more expensive than their traditional counterparts, so AC power remains in widespread use.
The computer as an aid in the design of the installation
Electrical installations, especially those which will be installed in buildings with complicated structures often require the creation of a very difficult project. Special computer programs enable electricians much easier to plan where and how they will run the wire, where will be located branch and so on. In this way, more and more electricians may remind us of specialists, because the design of electrical networks at the present time is done properly only through the computer. Special programs also allow control of parameters during operation of the installation.
An electrical contractor
An electrical contractor is a business person or firm that performs specialized construction work related to the design, installation, and maintenance of electrical systems?a $130 billion industry in the United States.1
An electrical contractor is different from an electrician; an electrician is an individual tradesman and an electrical contractor is a business person or company that employs electricians. Both usually hold licenses and insurances to properly and safely operate a business, protecting the employees and home owners/business owners from insurance liabilities. These requirements vary from state to state. Electricians may work for an electrical contractor, or directly for individuals or companies.