Electricity enters your home through an electricity meter supplied by the power company. This meter is used to calculate your electricity bills.
Insulated wires run between electrical devices in one of several forms, such as specialized bendable pipe called conduit or rectangular cross-section metal or plastic cable trays and trunking.
Electrical wiring is a process of connecting wires to devices like fuses, switches, sockets and lights. It is done to ensure that electricity reaches the appropriate places in a structured manner and for continued power supply. It also helps in better load control. There are several kinds of wires available in the market and each one has a specific use. Before starting an electrical wiring project, it is important to understand the different types of wires and their connections.
This type of wiring uses insulated cables that run through straight teak wooden battens fixed on walls and ceilings. The wires are fitted to these battens with tinned brass link clips. This system is cheap and easy to install. However, it does not provide sufficient protection from fire as the sheath of the cable is not sealed and can become melted due to continuous contact with steam and chemicals.
Another common electrical wiring method is to use a steel mesh sheath that covers the cables. This sheath is protected by a layer of plastic or rubber. This protects the cables from water and other chemicals. This system is very durable and is suitable for outdoor usage. However, it requires frequent maintenance as the sheath can become corroded by rain or other chemicals.
The next step is to connect the wires to the distribution board. This is a structure that distributes the electricity from the power company to all appliances in your house. The distribution board includes a breaker that stops the flow of electricity when there is an overload or short circuit. Once the issue is resolved, you can switch the breaker back on.
Electrical wiring basics can make home improvement projects easier, such as replacing light switches and adding wall outlets. However, working on electrical systems can be dangerous. Each year, 10 people die and 750 are seriously injured because of DIY electrical projects. Knowing the basic wiring system will help you keep yourself and your family safe.
The basic electrical system consists of the cables that run through walls and ceilings, sockets, light fittings and switches, and the consumer unit (fuse box) that contains the fuses, circuit breakers and residual current devices (RCDs). An electrical installation includes all fixed components in a building or residential property, including its meter and main service panel.
An electric meter measures the amount of electricity that your household uses, sending data to the power company. The power company then sends the right amount of electricity through a wire that runs from the meter to the service panel. The wire is insulated with either black or red covers. The wires are color coded for identification: Black wires carry the power, and white neutral wires return it back to the meter or service panel. There is also a bare copper or green insulated grounding wire that conducts current in the event of an electrical fault, decreasing the chance of severe shock.
Switches connect network devices to a central hub, providing wired connections for printers, IoT devices and wireless access points. They are available in a variety of form factors, including standalone desktop units for use in a wiring closet; rack-mounted for use in an equipment cabinet or communications tower; and DIN rail mounted for industrial environments. Switches are also available in varying port density and speed to support different network requirements.
If you want to plug in your electric toothbrush or use your hair dryer, you need outlets. Outlets, also called receptacles or sockets, are part of your home’s wiring and connect to the electrical grid through switches.
There are different types of outlets depending on what they are used for. The most common are 15-amp, 125-volt outlets. These are most likely the ones you have in your house, and they come in both ungrounded and grounded versions. The latter are more useful in kitchens and bathrooms, where they can help prevent electrocutions if they occur.
A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet is another safe choice. It monitors the current in a circuit, and if it detects that the neutral wire isn’t passing through the ground anymore or there’s a power surge, it shuts down the electricity to prevent a dangerous shock.
Some outlets have USB ports so you can charge your phone or tablet. Others are smart and let you control the lights in your home with dedicated apps. You can tell whether an outlet is faulty by looking for sparks, heat on the plastic cover or blackening around the plug. If you notice any of these signs, call a professional electrician right away.
Electricity comes into your house through a mains line, which can be above-ground or buried underground. The mains are connected to your electrical meter, which measures how much power your home is using. Your electric company then bills you based on that usage. If you’re planning to make any major changes to your home, like adding an outdoor lighting system or new appliances, talk to a professional electrical contractor.
Lighting is a key element of home design that sets the ambiance for the room and transforms it. When you walk down the lighting aisles at your favorite home improvement store, the options can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing light fixtures for specific rooms and areas of your house. But, once you understand a few simple electrical terms and concepts you can make the best decisions to illuminate your home.
Also known as luminaires, this term refers to the entire fixture which houses a lamp and any other components that are necessary to create and distribute light. A fixture can have one or multiple lamps and may be hardwired to a switch or can receive power through an extension cord or plug.
The fixture’s shade or “cone” has a huge impact on how the light fixture distributes light throughout your room. The wider the shade, the more it spreads light to the sides and below. This is why some fixtures are designed specifically for use over tables or kitchen islands and aimed downwards to highlight these areas.
Another important aspect to consider when choosing a light fixture is whether or not it can be easily changed to accommodate your personal preferences or needs. This will often depend on what kind of light bulb the fixture accepts (e.g., some only allow small candelabra bulbs while others accept standard sized light bulbs) and how easy or difficult it is to access the light bulb (e.g., some have screws that can be tightened while others have a pull chain).
The amount of light output you need will also play a role in the fixture you choose. If your fixture is hardwired to a switch in the room, you will have to hire an electrician to reconfigure the wiring for if you decide to move it to another location. However, if your light fixtures get power through an extension cord or plug, they are much more flexible and can be moved around more easily.
A circuit is an electric path that allows electricity to go from the power source (such as a battery) through the load and back to the power source. A battery is a DC (direct current) power source and electricity at home is AC (alternating current). A conductor, such as an electric wire, connects the battery to the load, which is what converts electrical potential energy into the form of light and heat energy. A switch opens and closes the circuit and controls when electricity flows.
There are two main types of electrical circuits: series and parallel. In a series circuit, there is one path for the current and the voltage is the same everywhere in the circuit. In a parallel circuit, the current is divided up and each device has its own pathway and a lower voltage than in a series circuit.
Electric circuits are represented in two-dimensional diagrams called schematics, or electrical diagrams. They are standardized, simplified representations in which common circuit elements have specific symbols and wires connecting them are shown as lines. Most electrical codes require colour-coding of wires to identify their functions and limit the number of different wires that can be connected to each other.
If electricity is flowing through a circuit in the wrong way, it’s known as a short circuit and it can damage the equipment and cause fire. A fuse or a circuit breaker, both of which are incorporated into your electrical system, protect against this by breaking the circuit when too much current is drawn. Once the problem is resolved, you can reset the fuse or flip the switch to reopen the circuit. These devices are also used to prevent major fires caused by overloading a circuit in industrial applications.