Three Home Electrical Basics Everyone Should Know

home electrical basicsArguably the most important discovery of the past 200 years has been electricity. It seems everything we do in life involves electricity in one form or the other. From starting our cars, to communicating with friends and family, the use of electricity has quickly become a necessity in today’s society. But, believe it or not, many of us simply don’t know home electrical basics that explain how it works, and what we can do to protect our family and ourselves from any electrical injuries.

Home Electrical Basics Made Easy 

First – How Does Electricity Enter the Home? Depending on when your home was built, electricity enters the home in two different ways:

  • From the street, electricity can enter the home via power lines outside.
  • The electricity can enter your home from underground power lines.

Once it enters the home from what’s known as the ‘service entrance’, the electricity will enter the main electrical switch. This is noted and clearly marked with an On & Off control. Usually the main power supply is located on the outside of a home, in a garage or basement. A very important thing to do before moving into any new home is to find out where the main power supply switch is located so you can access it quickly in case of emergency. From the main power switch, the electricity is then transmitted to a primary circuit breaker, where electricity is distributed to individual circuits though the home.

Second – What Causes a Short Circuit? Traditionally, a cut wire that is exposed to metal causes a short in the electrical system. Electricity is transmitted from room to room from the circuit breaker, or main circuit board. Fuses or circuit breakers are designed to power and protect each individual outlet inside your home. If an electrical shortage occurs, the circuit breaker will ‘trip’ or shut off to stop the flow of electricity to that particular power source. If you experience an electrical problem with an outlet, appliance, light or other electrical device that stops working, check the circuit breakers to see if one is ‘tripped’. If it is, flip the switch to ‘off’ then reset the switch manually.

Third – What is GFCI Breaker? Around the house, especially in bathrooms, kitchens or any electrical outlet located near a water source, you will find a funny looking electrical outlet, also known as a GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter. This device is designed to prevent electrocution, as if an individual starts to receive a shock near this outlet, the GFCI will sense this and cut off power before serious injury occurs. However, it is common for a GFCI breaker to ‘trip’ accidentally, especially when large amounts of power are consumed at the same time from the same circuits. This is common inside bathrooms when a blow dryer and curling iron is plugged into the same outlet. A GFCI circuit also impacts other circuits around the home. So if one of your major appliances stops working, and you’re main circuit breaker is ok, check the GFCI breakers inside your home to see if they have ‘tripped’ and reset appropriately. Electricity inside a home can be very dangerous. It’s for this reason that if you experience any electrical issues, you should call a licensed electrician to diagnose and repair all electrical problems. But, by understanding these home electrical basics, you’ll be better prepared to notice the difference between a major electrical issue and a common problem. Like what you’ve read? A very good way to educate yourself on basic home electricity. Click here to contact us today for all your home electrical service needs!


David Haynes

Dave Haynes, owner of Accel Electric, a Phoenix based electrical service company known for cutting edge approaches to home electrical needs. As a family-owned business, David stresses quality service with schedule flexibility. He strives to hire the most qualified and respectful technicians who are familiar with the specific electrical requirements of the Phoenix area. David is currently a Master Electrician and is certified by International Association of Electrical Inspectors. If you live in the greater Phoenix metro area and desire a qualified technician for all your domestic electrical needs, call David Haynes at Accel Electric - 602-861-9559 today or send an email.

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