Do you feel intimidated when your construction project reaches the electrical wiring stage? Electrical installation might seem intimidating, but once you understand how it works, you'll realize it's very basic.
How does power work?
In order to understand how an electrical installation operation works, first you need to learn where the power comes from.
The electric company sends power to the house through the distribution lines, which then pass through the meter. This linear power movement later enters through the panel and into the circuit wires. Then the power is passed into each outlet of the house.
The meter is connected directly to the main source of power, which comes from the electric company. It's located on the outside of the house so that the electric company can perform meter reads.
This device keeps track of how much electricity was used each month. It measures power in kilowatt-hour units (kWh).
Main breaker panel
Once the electricity passes through the meter, it goes directly to the main breaker panel. The size and capacity of the panel will determine the maximum amps of electricity that can pass through the house.
The panel has the main breaker switch, which can be turned on and off to prevent overloading, fires, or electrocution.
Directly below the main breaker, there are smaller breaker switches. Those switches are responsible for delivering electricity to the other rooms in the house. If you want to cut the electric supply to one room, simply turn off that switch.
The power is transported out of the panel through a wire. This wire is insulated with a red or black cover. The power returns to the panel through a neutral wire covered in a white insulation.
There is a third wire that provides the ground and is encased in green insulation. Those two wires will connect to a neutral bar in the panel.
It's recommended to get thicker wires for safety reasons. If the wires become too hot, they could overload and the insulating case could melt.
Fuses and breakers
Both of these are installed as a safety precaution. In case of the power overloading, the breakers or fuses shut off and prevent the wires from overheating.
The breakers could be reset in case it has to shut off due to overloading. A fuse needs to be replaced in case it blows.
Terms to Know
Also called amperes, are the units used to measure electricity.
Watts are the units used to measure the amount of power an electrical device uses. They can be calculated by multiplying amps times volts.
Volts refer to the force contained in a power source. For example, most common household wires carry 120 volts.