Home electrical wiring basics

Electricity is a key component in how our homes operate therefore we rely on the electric system to give us power wherever we need it. From turning on the TV, charging our devices to powering heating and cooling systems, we must understand the basics of electricity distribution. Also, it is important to keep the system properly in safe working condition. Read on to discover home electrical wiring basics.

What is it?

An electrical circuit, in its definition, is a circular path in which current begins at a power source, powers the devices and returns to the power source. Most of the household circuits are parallel circuits. By understanding the basics of how electricity is distributed in your house, you can keep this system properly maintained and in safe working condition.

How does it work?

Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

A typical service head is made of two 120-volt wires and one neutral wire that deliver power to lights and appliances around the home. A regular electrical wire for household contains three wires and comes in an insulated sleeve:

  • a black wire ( hot) which carries the electrical current
  • a white wire ( neutral)
  • a copper wire ( ground).

Outlets and switches are wired so that the hot and neutral wires maintain a continuous circuit independent from the devices that draw their power from the circuit.

The 120-volt circuit is using one phase of the electrical service to power standard home appliances. Notice that certain larger appliances like heating systems or clothes dryers need a 240-volt circuit. This is created using both 120-volt wires and the neutral wire.

There is a service panel that distributes electricity to switches, outlets, and appliances in every home. This is found in the basement, garage, or utility area, therefore an easy to access area. This panel is equipped with breakers or fuses that shut off power to the circuits if an electrical system failure occurs.

Safety measures

If half a century ago a kitchen worked with only one electrical circuit. Today, a modern kitchen needs around seven circuits or more.  Mostly because of its many appliances. Kitchens must have at least two 20-amp 120-volt circuits serving the plugs in the countertop areas. Make sure that the electrical circuit is functional and supports all your modern needs.

Safety comes first, so grounding is key. Grounding is the method used to connect an electrical system to the earth with a wire. This adds essential protection against any electric shock and electrocution; therefore protecting  the person working on the system, the system itself, and any appliances and equipment that are connected to the system.

Hope this article on the basics of home electrical wiring will be useful for you.

Cover photo by Cheryl Winn-Boujnida on Unsplash

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