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Electrical 101: An Introductory Course on Home Electrical Systems

A General Guide to Electrical Components

Though people often learn the definition of an electrical circuit in school, the electricity that has become an essential part of everyday life in the modern world is often a great mystery. Homeowners use electricity daily but often know little more than how to operate a light switch or a circuit breaker. This is a chance to learn everything a homeowner should know about their electrical system, including that they should not do the work themselves.

The Basic Layout of an Electrical System

electric meterFirst of all, every home that has an electrical system is going to have certain components present. Electricity comes to the home via wires raised above the ground or buried underneath. The "load side," which is the part of the electrical system on a person's property and for which they are responsible, will be discussed in this section. Reviewing the basics, one must form circuits (complete closed paths) for electricity to be safe and work properly. The closed circuit allows the current of electricity to flow without causing damage. Below is a list of the basic elements of a home electrical system.

  • Electric Meter: The electrical meter measures the electricity used in the home so utility companies can charge the right amount. It is attached directly to the wires supplying power to the home on one side and the main breaker panel on the other.
  • Breaker Panel: This box on the home's exterior has a panel of switches that control the power to various parts of the home. There is usually one large cutoff switch that shuts off the power to the entire house and smaller switches that control the power to branch circuits that supply power to certain areas of the house.
  • Disconnect Switch: In some homes, there is a separate switch outside the main electrical panel called a disconnect switch. It acts as a shut-off for all power in the house.
  • Electrical outlet: Also called receptacles, these are, of course, where a person plugs in devices that are not directly wired into the electrical system.
  • Switches: There are many different switches that control lights and fans or any other device directly wired into the electrical system. Switches interrupt the circuit when in the off position and connect the circuit to the device when in the on position.

Warning Signs of an Electrical Problem

electrical warning signsIf there is a problem with the wiring in a house, it can be very dangerous, even deadly, for the inhabitants. Faulty or overloaded wiring can cause inconvenience, structural damage, and fires. If a homeowner notices any of the following signs around their electrical system, they should contact a reputable electrician for repair right away:

  • Burning Smell
  • Flickering Lights
  • Dimming Lights
  • Sparking Outlet
  • Hot Outlet

Electrical Safety Means Calling the Pros

If a person is experiencing problems with their electrical system, they should never attempt a do-it-yourself solution. This can be as dangerous as ignoring the warning signs listed above. Electrical repairs should be done by a trained professional because they know what electrical codes apply and whether or not certain safety measures are needed, such as GFCIs(ground fault circuit interrupters).

About Edison Electric, Inc.

Serving Minneapolis, MN and the surrounding areas with fully-stocked trucks and upfront pricing, Edison Electric, Inc. has been in business and growing since 2007. Call them today for hassle-free electrical services!