Getting to Know Your Home’s Electrical System

November 7, 2017 Posted by kyu7

Whether you’re building a new home and need some help planning out your home’s electrical system, or you live in a home that has already been constructed, understanding the basic layout and makeup of your electrical system is very important. We rely on our electrical systems to provide us with the power that we use everyday, making a basic knowledge an important part about home ownership. By understanding our home’s electrical system, we can better troubleshoot and handle minor problems, as well as explain more extensive problems to local electricians whenever necessary.

Your home’s electrical system consists of a few basic components. It is made up of your electrical service (the electricity being supplied to your home), electrical outlets, hardwired appliances and your lighting. To make sure that it works at the proper level, your electrical service must be sized appropriately for your lifestyle. In most cases, this means a 100-200 amp electrical service. For large homes, your electrical service may be as large as 400 amps. Your electrical service must be installed by a licensed, professional electrician who may also run other wiring in your home, such as telephone and cable.

Your electrical lines typically reach your home underground, where they meet with your electrical meter box. This box is normally located on an outside wall, where it can be easily read by meter readers. The wiring goes through your wall and into your breaker panel, which breaks the current into separate circuits through the use of switches called circuit breakers. These circuits allow you to control the electricity in several different portions of your home. It is at the breaker panel that the total amps that your system can handle are distributed throughout your home. Each circuit breaker is rated to handle a certain amount of electricity, 10 amps or 20 amps for example.

In order to keep you, your family and your property safe, your electrical system is safeguarded by local building codes and a variety of safety measures. This include, but are not limited to the following:

GFCI Outlets – A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is mandated in areas that are frequently wet or moist, such as kitchens, bathrooms, garages, pool areas and outdoors. These outlets contain special sensors that will shut off the power whenever any problems are detected

Circuit Breakers – Circuit breakers are your first line of defense against dangerous electricity levels. They are designed to cut off the electrical supply whenever power levels reach dangerous levels in order to prevent fires and electrical shocks

Smoke Alarms – Smoke alarms can be hardwired in each bedroom, hallway and common area to provide the highest level of fire safety to the occupants of your home.

In addition to the precautions above, national, state and local building codes require a certain set of procedures and standards be followed in order to improve the overall safety of our electrical systems. In most cases, your electrical system must be inspected by an electrical inspector both during the installation and after completion to ensure that everything is installed according to these codes. It is this set of regulations that both standardizes and improve the safety of our homes, businesses and other buildings.

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