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Feb 11, 2022

How to Test AC Voltage

We have electricity running all around of us, especially in the 21st century, but not many people understand how electricity works let alone how to test electrical systems. Fortunately, you do not have to be an electrician for some of these simple tests. In this short article, we will review how to test AC voltage. If you find the work is better left to an experienced electrician, then call Mr. Electric of Houston. We serve Houston and the surrounding areas with quick and reliable electrical repair service. With that said, let’s get started on testing some voltage.

What is Voltage?

Before we get to testing the voltage, we want to make sure everyone is on the same page. Let’s start with the basics. What is voltage? Voltage is the measurement of the pressure from an electrical circuit’s power source. So, when you think voltage, you can think of the water pressure in a hose. The higher the voltage, the higher the pressure from the electrical circuit’s power source.


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Voltage can be either alternating current (AC) voltage or direct current (DC) voltage. DC voltage flows in a straight, one-way line. You will find DC commonly used in batteries and battery-powered equipment. AC voltage flows in waves and reverses direction at regular intervals. Generators and utilities deliver AC voltage. In this article, we will be testing AC voltage.

Why Testing Voltage is Useful

Electricity is delivered through circuits to loads—electronic devices, appliances, machines, etc. Each load has electrical reference values usually on a nameplate. These indicate voltage, wattage, and so forth. These numbers tell a technician or electrician what readings to expect when the load is performing normally. Testing the voltage will objectively identify deviations from these norms.

Let’s Test the AC Voltage!

To accurately test the AC voltage, you will need a multimeter. This is an essential tool to keep on hand. The multimeter is used to measure multiple electrical properties including voltage. Here’s how to start testing:

  • Grab your multimeter and turn it on into the AC voltage mode.
  • Bring the voltage setting up to or higher than the voltage of the appliance. You can even turn it to the maximum setting to be safe.
  • Attach the multimeter’s black probe into the slot labeled "COM" or common; the red probe into the other slot usually marked with a "V."
  • Place the other end of the black probe against one side of the appliance and the red probe on the opposite side.
  • Make sure the circuits are not tripped and the power is on. You should see the results!
  • Finally, remove the probes and turn off the multimeter.

Hire an Electrician

Testing voltage is easy, but actual electrical work is best left to trained professionals. If you are looking for an electrician, then you are welcomed to call Mr. Electric of Houston. We are proud to serve Houston and the surrounding areas with quick, affordable, and reliable electrical service and electrical repair. Our live representatives are always happy to take your call.


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