Home Electrical Essentials | Best Pick Reports
Faulty electrical work can lead to a house fire and extensive
property damage. However, by understanding the basics of a home's
electrical wiring, homeowners can avoid fires that result from improper
wiring. There are a number of licensed Atlanta electrical contractors
who are qualified for electrical installations or repairs.
How electricity works.
Electricity is delivered to a home through service wires, which can run
underground or overhead. After going through the electric meter, wires
enter the home's main fuse box, also called the service panel. From the
fuse box, different circuits or loops connect to different parts of the
house. Lights and other standard wall outlets are powered by 120-volt
circuits. Kitchen appliances, electric dryers, and air conditioning
equipment require heavy-duty 240-volt circuits. Most homes have 200-amp
service; however, a few older homes still use 60-amp service.
Circuit breakers and fuses.
The electric service panel keeps too much current from being drawn
through the circuit. In the case of too much current, the circuit
breaker or fuse discontinues the flow of electricity. In the case of an
extreme emergency, the service panel has one main breaker that shuts
off all power to the house.
Most Atlanta electrical circuit breakers have common operating
features. Generally, newer panels use circuit breakers and older panels
use fuses. Once one of these circuit breakers is tripped, the appliance
that caused the problem should be turned off before the circuit is
reset. Calling an Atlanta electrician is not always required -
homeowners may easily reset the tripped circuit breaker by switching it
all the way to the "off" position and then back to the "on" position.
While circuits can be reset, blown fuses must be replaced.
Homeowners with a fuse box rather than a circuit breaker should keep
spare fuses on hand. Different circuits require different fuse sizes. A
burned-out low-amp fuse should never be replaced with a higher-amp
fuse. Fuse panels remain hot even if the main breaker is turned off or
the main fuse is removed; therefore, only qualified professional
electricians should work on a home's main panel.
Grounding. The ground leg,
the third round leg on most power cords, is designed for safety. Many
appliances, such as computers, are encased in metal. If the case is not
properly grounded and an electric short occurs in the appliance, it is
possible for the case to become electrically charged. The ground
provides a path for electricity to travel safely out of the house and
into the earth in an emergency. Breaking off the ground leg on a power
cord is dangerous. By breaking off the ground leg, the homeowner
typically assumes all liability for the appliance or product and voids
all manufacturer’s warranties.