February 11, 2020

Why Do Electricians Need Math?

Author:  Mitchell Burns

From an early age we’re always being encouraged to do well in math as it’s essential for many careers. It’s obviously important in accounting, engineering and science but did you know electricians need to be good at math as well?

It’s easy to figure out why – excuse the pun – that math is an important element of an electrician’s role. While there’s plenty of hard-graft and labour involved in being an electrician, trigonometry, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and algebra are all essential for understanding voltage/current relationships.

Why Do Electricians Need Math?


Most of the calculations used are basic and not too complicated, an electrician will need good arithmetic and know how to add and subtract as well convert to percentages. Many of these simpler measurement calculations can be performed in your head, but there’s always the calculator on a mobile phone to speed things up.

Many house fires are caused by faulty wiring and correct equations are needed to work out wire size to prevent potential damage to a property.

Why Do Electricians Need Math?

Calculating currents and voltages

Electricians must always consider voltage, current and resistance. Voltage is what makes electric charges move. It is the ‘push’ that drives charges around in an electric circuit. Current can be considered as the speed at which the charges move, or the rate of flow of charge, measured in amps. Resistance is just as it sounds, the resistive force the wire provides, against the flow of charge.

A wire conducts electricity just like a pipe carries water. Push too much water through a pipe and it will burst. When a current is too great, similarly to the pipe, the wire may fail; overheating, melting and potentially causing a fire.

To accommodate for higher currents, electricians must increase the size of the wire. The larger the diameter of the wire the more current it can conduct; however larger wire is expensive so an electrician will need to determine the right wire gauge for any job.

Calculating the appropriate wires, currents and voltages will result in safe and reliable circuits.

Why Do Electricians Need Math?

Complex math

Electricians will also need to calculate angles for pipes, which can be achieved through basic trigonometry. Math skill is needed when bending a conduit to find the correct angle and the appropriate distance between bending points.

Drawing up and presenting plans which are to scale is another requirement. While math is certainly needed as an electrician, tasks can be undertaken with just basic arithmetic and algebra. Throughout their career lifetime electricians will carry out hundreds of calculations.

Whatever your electrical requirements, the numbers add up to call the experts at PWA Electrical Services. We offer an affordable service 24/7 throughout Perth and the surrounding area.

We can help you with electricity fault finding issues, repairs to lighting and power and maintaining and diagnosing faults with security systems. With over 30 years’ experience you can be assured you’ll be receiving the best service, so make contact with us today.