Electricity is a staple energy source for the modern world, and the United States is a particularly energy-hungry nation. Power plants across the country, whether traditional fossil fuel plants or solar panels and wind farms, are all generating vast amounts of electricity for private homes and public buildings alike 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Many devices and infrastructure are in place to make sure that energy is going where it is needed, and in a form safe enough for homes and other buildings to use. A current transformer meter, for example, can measure the amount of electricity that a transformer is converting into safe amounts for a home’s systems to use. A transformer, in short, converts huge amounts of power found in the primary system into safer, smaller amounts that a building’s utilities and appliances will need. For this reason, measuring the amount of electricity being used is key to keeping the system safe and producing an accurate electric bill. Current transformer testing, or CT testing, should be done regularly.
Those new to owning a home or public building may want to know the basics of electricity so that they can better understand their electric bill and know what to do for CT testing if something goes wrong. The basic measuring unit for electricity is the Watt, and like computer bits, they are grouped by the thousand to form larger units, which are often used to measure electricity use on a large scale. 1,000 watts, for example, form a single kilowatt, and 1,000 watt-hours from home use adds up to one Kilowatt, or kWh, which is often the unit of measurement that will appear on a person’s electric bill for home use. In turn, 1,000 kilowatts will form a single megawatt, and 1,000 of those will form a gigawatt. Such vast scales are not relevant to a public building manager or a homeowner, however; watts, kilowatts, and sometimes megawatts will be the units of measurement to track with a meter, and CT testing can make sure that a meter is working the way it should. Individual appliances, meanwhile, use even smaller units of electricity: volts. Items ranging from flat-screen TVs to toasters to plugged-in vacuum cleaners will measure their energy use in volts.
Volts and alternating currents are relevant to power lines and the electricity that a home will use, and to keep an electric bill accurate after all this energy use, CT testing should be done every so often for a homeowner or public building owner. Why? There is plenty for a meter to keep track of, and an inaccurate electric bill can be trouble, not to mention electricity wasted if a public building manager thinks that they are not using as much power as they really are. A power plant will produce three different phases of C power at the same time, and they are offset by 120 degrees from one another. Meanwhile, four wires are coming from the power plant: one for each phase, and a fourth neutral one that acts as common ground. In three-phase power, one of those three phases is nearing its peak at any one time, and high-power three-phase motors, like those for industrial work, have an even power output. A home, meanwhile, uses single-phase power. The electric service will be a single-phase, 120-volt AC service.
CT testing can ensure that a building is paying its fair electric bill, and if the readings are off, a homeowner or public building manager may make harmful adjustments to this false reading. If the reading is too high, the building owner may cut back on electricity that they need, thinking that they are getting rid of excess. If the reading is too low, the building owner may add more electricity to the daily usage, and this could waste power. CT testing and other meter testing can be done by professionals to make sure that everything is accurate, and this can prevent problems and expenses for everyone involved in the future. A concerned homeowner or public building owner who suspects a problem may look up and hire professionals who can visit the building and start CT testing to get everything in order.