Electrical Panel Wiring – What It Is and Why You Need to Know About It

Have you ever wondered how the electrical system in your home works?

Electricity has brought a lot of conveniences into our homes. More than just a bunch of wires, the electrical wiring system in our house is a complex system designed carefully to deliver the power we need as efficiently and safely as possible.

Getting to know about your electrical wiring system and understanding how it works is an essential step towards becoming a more confident and empowered homeowner. Electrical panels play a significant role in the power distribution in your home and having a basic understanding about them offers you benefits you might not have even realized.

Understanding Electrical Panel Wiring

The electrical panel is known in various names – a load center, circuit breaker, breaker panel, service panel, or distribution board. It is typically enclosed in a steel box and houses all the circuit breakers in your entire electrical system.

As your home’s main power distribution board, it is responsible for distributing and regulating the electrical current that flows into each of the circuits.

Electrical panels come with switch levers that you can turn on or off. If you take a look at your electrical panel now, you will see a main (and the largest) breaker usually mounted at the top of the panel. Below it are smaller circuit breakers that represent every room in your house and sometimes the hard-wired appliances in your home such as your air-conditioning units and water heaters. You’ll also see a number on the panel which identifies your circuit breaker amperage capacity. The amp varies from 100, 150, 200, or 400, but a typical household utilizes 100 amp, and it is the minimum amp allowed for residential homes. 

For older homes, instead of an electrical panel you may still be using a fuse box that basically functions the same. However, instead of breakers what you have are fuses which are essentially the weak links in an electrical circuit designed to burn out safely when there is a circuit overload. At this point, when a fuse burns out, the overload should be addressed, and you’ll have to replace the fuse with the same amp rating, so the circuit works again. Generally, fuse boxes are known to be less safe and efficient compared to the modern electrical panels that come with circuit breakers.

How Does an Electrical Panel Work?

There is a good reason behind why an electrical panel is dubbed as the heartbeat of the entire electrical system of your home. Electrical panels work by supplying and dividing the electrical power into its subsidiary circuits. It gets the power from the service drops which are then split into the sub-panels or circuits. Electrical panels keep your overall electrical system safe and secure. They help you avoid the risk of short circuit or fire accident in your home. In the event of an electrical overload, the circuit breaker automatically shuts off the power supply to the circuit, reducing the risk of fire and further damages.

Electrical panels are strategically located in your home in such a way that they require little to no maintenance at all to ensure they are able to function smoothly. In general, they should be placed in a safe area where they are not exposed to direct sunlight, moisture, and harmful chemicals. 

How Do Electrical Panels Keep You Safe?

When working with electricity, safety should always be the top priority. Your home’s electrical system must adhere to building codes necessary to protect you, your family, and your home.  Electrical panels protect your wiring from shorts or power surges, effectively cutting off or shutting down the power supply when tripped. For instance, when wires are tripped, it’s your circuit breaker that shuts off the power supply to prevent fires.

The Importance of Learning About Electrical Panel Wiring

So, why should you care about electrical panel wiring?

It is important that you know where your electrical panel is located inside your house so you can turn it on or off immediately when needed. Understanding how the electrical panel wiring functions is also vital for your protection and safety. A responsible homeowner knows the importance of being well-prepared. And, the basic knowledge about electrical panel wiring will save you from troubles later on.

Final Words

Dealing with the electrical wiring panel can be dangerous and may even cost your life. If you are unsure what to do, a trial and error can be a costly mistake to make. That said, if a problem arises or you need a repair done in your electrical panel, it is best to contact a licensed electrician immediately to take a look at the issue for you.

When it comes to maintenance, a little effort can go a long way. Make sure you keep the electrical panel cover on and keep it closed to protect it from dusts and other substances that may cause damage. Ideally, you should also have a professional electrician check your electrical panel wiring at least once every three years to keep it working at its best.

Smart Ways to Protect Your Home From Power Surge

A power surge is a fairly common occurrence and could happen at any given time. In most cases, power surges can be very brief and small for homeowners to notice them. But, that does not mean that the damage is not taking place. Small frequent power surges can wear on your appliances internal components which can significantly shorten their lifespan.

While it can be unavoidable, you can take some measures to prevent the damages caused by power surges and every homeowner should take this opportunity. Read on to find out how you can ensure that your home is protected when a power surge occurs.

What is  a Power Surge?

A power surge refers to the sudden or abnormal spike in the flow of  electric current in your home. It can be a very brief occurrence but may still cause a considerable amount of damage to your home, gadgets, and appliances.

Some of the common sources of a power surge at home are the following:

  • They can originate from the electric service provider, typically during a power grid switching.
  • When major appliances like refrigerators and air-conditioning units are turned on or off.  High-power equipment demands a bigger amount of energy to power on or off its components such as the motors and compressors and the switching creates abrupt, rapid demands for energy which in turn upsets the steady voltage flow in the electrical system.
  • Lightning. During a lightning storm excess voltage may enter your home through existing power or cable lines that can cause an electrical surge.
  • Downed power lines and faulty transformers
  • Faulty electrical wirings that can cause uneven flow of current.

How Do Power Surges Cause Damage?

A power surge can deliver excess amounts of voltage in the electrical circuit which generates heat in the electrical components. A strong burst of power surge can instantly burn or scorch circuit boards and sensitive appliances such as computers. At the same time, even smaller power surges that don’t seem to cause immediate and noticeable damages can be the source of wear and tear and slowly damage the electronic components of your appliances, ultimately decreasing their lifespan. 

How to Avoid Power Surge At Home

Our appliances at home have helped make our lives easier and more convenient. Frequent power surges can shorten the lifespan of these valuable appliances. Below are some of the ways you can protect your home from power surges:

  1. Invest in a whole house surge protection system.

A whole house surge suppression unit works by automatically shutting off the power and redirecting the excess voltage to the ground wire. These units are typically installed at the service entrance or load center of your home and a licensed electrician can help install it for you to protect your home from power surges.

  • Use of SPDs or Point-of-source Protection Devices.

While SPD’s won’t actually suppress electrical surges, they can prevent most damage from an electrical surge by diverting the surge to the ground.

  • Ensure your home has a good grounding system.

This is an important feature since most surge protectors work by redirecting the surge into the ground line.

  • Install surge protection outlets and power strips

Even with a whole house surge suppressor, there can still be a tendency for a power surge to affect sensitive appliances that are susceptible to power surge damages. To enhance your surge protection, you can install power strips to sensitive appliances such as your computers.

  • Be smart about where you plug your devices.

As mentioned earlier, high-power devices can cause energy fluctuations when turned on before settling at a lower wattage. To protect your delicate appliances like your computers, it is best that you plug them in separate outlets. In other words, you should avoid plugging your large appliances and sensitive devices together in a way that they are sharing the same power in the outlet. This puts your sensitive appliances at risk of electric surge damage coming from the large appliances.

Choosing the Best Surge Protection for Your Home

It only takes one major power surge to bring costly damages into your home. Investing in a good surge protection for your home far outweighs the cost and the hassle in the aftermath of a damaging sudden power strike. Installing an entire house surge protector can offer protection and give you security and peace of mind knowing that your whole household is covered.

When choosing for the right surge protector for your home, check out its Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rating and expiration date. UL is the oldest independent nonprofit organization that tests products and technologies for safety before they are marketed. Also, check if your surge protector can handle at least 600 joules. Look for surge protectors that have some sort of an indicator that will notify you of surge protection failure. Finally, to get the most out of the benefits of these surge protectors, it’s a good idea to have a licensed electrician install them for you.

Protect Your Home – Electrical Safety Tips You Should Know About

Electricity has made our lives more convenient and enjoyable in many ways. From your coffee maker to dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner to your dimmer lights in the bedroom – take a look around your house, and you’ll see that almost everything runs through electricity.

However, electricity can be a double-edged sword and wreak havoc on properties, even destroy lives. Each year, electrical fires in homes have caused injuries, deaths and significant damages to properties. But, that doesn’t end there. These electrical fires could have been prevented, and avoided altogether if homeowners practice electrical safety and take precautionary measures when dealing with electricity at home.

 Below we give you the list of electrical safety tips you and your family should practice at home.

10 Electrical Safety Tips You Should Not Ignore

  1. Do not overload your outlets.

Overloading an electrical outlet with too many plugged devices is one of the main culprits of electrical fires. Ideally, you should only plug one heat-producing appliance in an electrical outlet at a time.

  • Replace or repair any damaged or worn out power cords.

Power cords are also subject to wear and tear. Exposed wires from power cords can potentially cause electrocution or even ignite a fire. You shouldn’t ignore or delay replacing them. You can put black tape around them for temporary repair, but for your safety, you should consider replacing them with new ones as soon as possible.

  • As much as possible avoid using extension cords.

Extension cords are both electrical and tripping hazards and should only be used as a temporary solution. Major appliances, however, like refrigerators, electric stoves, and dryers should be plugged directly into the wall outlet and never on extension cords or plug strips.

  • Be extra cautious when you have young children around.

Young children are just beginning to explore things, and their curiosity level is intense. Make sure that you keep dangerous appliances such as blenders, electric kettles, and toasters away from your children’s reach. Secure your outlets with covers and safety caps and tidy up loose cords and keep them away from children who may be playing or tugging them.

  • Unplug any unused appliances to reduce the risk of electrical hazards.

This is probably the easiest way to protect your home from electrical hazards but, is sadly the most neglected one as well. Unplugging unused appliances from the electrical outlets protect them from damages caused by sudden power surges and at the same time may help you save energy. Many appliances at home actually keep using electricity even after they have been turned off.

  • Keep the outlets and other electrical appliances away from wet areas.

Water and electricity is a recipe for disaster. Additionally, you should not work with electricity when your hands are wet to avoid injuries from electric shocks.

  • Always follow the guidelines on the instructional manual for your appliances.

Manufacturers purposefully include the owner’s manual in your appliance purchase to serve as your guide on how to properly use them, as well as to avoid malfunctioning and potential electrical hazards.

  • Make sure your home is properly grounded.

To enhance your home protection against electrical hazards, use GCFIs or Ground-fault Circuit Interrupters which work by monitoring imbalance in electric current flow and react automatically by shutting off a faulty or tripping electronic circuit.

  • Ensure that you only use the correct wattage in all your bulbs, appliances, and other electric fixtures.

Appliances and bulbs should come with labels indicating their wattages and these are not placed there without a purpose. You need to follow them to avoid short-circuits or overloading your electrical wiring system.

  1. For your safety, any major electrical works at home should be done only by a licensed electrician.

While many homeowners may try to do things themselves, primarily to save on labor costs, when it comes to electrical works it’s best to leave the job to a licensed electrician.

Electrical Wiring and Your Home

With the advent of technology, more and more devices we have at home will need electricity in order to function. Without electricity, we will not be able to make use of the electrical devices which we have come to rely upon for our daily activities.

Now, let’s take a look at how electricity has powered our homes and allowed us to enjoy many of the things imaginable.

How Does Electricity Get Into Our Houses?

The journey of electricity going to our homes begins at the power stations. Power stations are huge plants where electricity is produced from different energy sources including coal, wind, solar, geothermal, and water for hydropower.

From the power stations, electricity as high as 25,000 volts, or more, travels through overhead lines going to the large substations. At the substations, the transmission of electricity starts with the use of transformers. The transformers work by increasing or decreasing the voltage of electric currents depending on the current applications. Transformers have also made it possible for electricity to be transmitted over long distances without losing too much power during the process.

After the first substation, electricity goes into the transmission network where it is prepared for distribution to houses, businesses, and other electric consumers before it finds its way to the second substation. At the second substation, the electricity voltage is already significantly reduced to a level that’s safe for household and commercial use. From there, the electricity makes its way to the distribution power lines and then enters the house through the service drop. Finally, the electricity passes through the main circuit breaker where it is divided into each of the electrical circuits for every area or room in the home.  

What are the Major Parts of Electrical Wires?

As power enters our house, it travels through our home’s electrical wiring. The electrical wires carry the electricity to be distributed to the circuits and then to the appliances. These electrical wires and cables are made up of different parts. But the three major parts are the following:

  • Conductor

Composed of either aluminum, copper, or metals, this is the material in the electric wire which allows electricity to flow through.

  • Insulator

The insulating part of an electrical wire has a high electrical resistance. This is the part of the wire where internal electric charges cannot flow through freely, and its main function is to prevent electricity leakage

  • Sheath

The sheath is the outer cover that holds all the interior materials of the wires together, and protects the wire from external damages.

Electrical Wires: What You Should Know About

Electrical wires follow safety codes. The color code dictates what the wire is for. Black, blue, red, and yellow wires generally indicate hot wires while the green color signifies the ground line of an electrical circuit. Meanwhile, gray and white indicate a neutral wire.

In addition, the size of the electrical wire determines how much electricity can pass through, such that larger wires are used for heavier loads and the smaller wires are for smaller loads.

Home Electrical Wiring Tips

When dealing with your home’s electrical wiring, safety should always be the top priority. In any case that you are unsure what to do, contact a qualified electrician to help you. Otherwise, you risk yourself from electric shocks and other electrical hazards. Here are essential tips when handling your home’s electrical wiring

  • Always test electrical wires and devices for power before you start working on them or near them.
  • When installing a device make sure that it has the right amperage compatible with the amount of amperage that the circuit carries.
  • Secure the wiring connections, loose wiring can result to power arcing where electricity can jump through the air and transfer from one conductor to another.
  • Never work with your electrical wiring with wet hands or near damp areas.

Don’t hesitate to call professional electricians if you need to do some electrical wiring.

Columbus Ohio Electrician, 1550 Old Henderson Rd #45, Columbus, OH 43220, (614) 340-2458

Hidden Electrical Hazards in Your Home That You Should Be Aware Of

How safe is your home from electrical hazards? As we are used to electricity around us, many homeowners underestimate the dangers of potential electrical hazards and tend to ignore minor signs of electrical issues which over time can quickly escalate.

Unfortunately, our homes can be a prime location for various electrical hazards, and some of these hazards may not be readily noticeable and hidden from plain sight.

To help ensure your home is protected from electrical hazards, here are some of the hidden potential electrical dangers you must be aware of:

  1. Using poor quality chargers.

We need chargers primarily for our cell phones and laptops. You might think you are getting a good deal from cheap chargers you can easily buy online, but you should know that these cheap chargers can put you at risk of electrocution and even electrical fires. Almost always, you can expect that they are substandard and fail to meet safety standards.

  • Extension cords running under the furniture, carpets, and rugs.

Extension cords can cause slip and fall accidents. Meanwhile, if you run them under the furniture or carpet, chances are they’ll get damaged and their wires may get frayed without you noticing it immediately which can be dangerous.

  • Leaving unused appliances plugged in the electrical outlet.

A number of fires happen each year because of unused appliances that are left plugged into the outlets. Most unused appliances left unplugged from the outlets still consume energy that could add up to your energy bill, and more importantly, they are at risk of power surges and electrical damages.

  • Wall decor and pictures.

Think twice before hanging that wall decor. If you need to nail a picture or new decoration on your wall, be careful about hitting the live wires or damaging your wiring insulation. Otherwise, you risk getting injured from electric shocks, or in worst cases cause electrical fire to start.

  • Dirty and dusty exhaust fans

Exhaust fans plagued with dust and dirt can potentially lead into overheating and ignite a fire. Make sure you pay attention to the exhaust fans in your bathroom and have them maintained and cleaned regularly.

  • Flickering lights.

Flickering lights may be more than just a problem with your lighting fixture, it could also indicate a short in your electrical circuit which may call for an electrical panel upgrade.

  • Electrical outlet that feels warm to touch.

Overloading your outlets is dangerous. It can damage your appliances due to power surge, or in extreme scenarios may cause fire. If your outlet feels warm to touch, that can indicate an electrical issue that has to be addressed properly before the problem can go worse.

  • Burning smells.

Be wary if you notice burnt smells. This should not be ignored especially if you see signs of frayed or sparkling wires. Contact a qualified technician to have the issue taken care of.

The Importance of Proactive Home Electrical System Maintenance

As a widely popular saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and, this particularly applies to your home’s electrical system.

It is recommended that you have a licensed technician check your home electrical system every 3 or 5 years to ensure that they are in their best working condition. Make it a habit to do a routine visual check on your electrical wiring and outlets, and look for indications of cracks, broken pieces, and loose wirings and plugs. never ignore any signs of wear and tear and other electrical issues. Keep in mind that ignoring your home’s electrical system can be a costly mistake to make. Even what seems to be a minor electrical issue can escalate quickly and lead to devastating damages.