Guide to Electrical System Basics

Electrical System Basic Knowledge

Home electrical systems consist of a complicated network of wires, circuits, and appliances. Professional electricians undergo extensive training in school and in the field as apprentices to learn how to safely repair, install, and maintain electrical systems. Homeowners should know the basics of electrical systems to take better care of their systems and prevent electrical emergencies.

Practicing electrical safety is extremely important for preventing electrical fires and accidental electrocutions. Basic electrical system knowledge helps homeowners identify potential warning signs of a system malfunction and take steps to resolve the issue. Knowing how electrical systems work can also save homeowners money on energy bills by optimizing the performance of their home’s electrical system.

Components of Electrical Systems

electric meterElectricity is generated in power plants and distributed to the community through power lines. Energy enters the home’s electrical system via a connection monitored by an electric meter. The electric meter measures how much energy the house uses to bill for utilities. Electricians also use the meter to troubleshoot problems with the electrical system.

A disconnect switch is usually located either on the electric meter or in the breaker box that allows electricians to shut off the home’s power completely. This is important for safely working on the electrical system without the risk of electrocution. Homeowners may want to use the disconnect switch to shut off their electricity until professional help arrives if they suspect that there is the risk of an electrical fire due to a system malfunction.

The breaker box is a series of switches that control the home’s circuits. Each switch in the breaker box correlates with an area of the house or a hardwired appliance. When the circuits become overloaded, the breaker box will flip the switches to cut off power and prevent electrical hazards from occurring. This is why having a working breaker box is essential for preventing electrical fires.

Electrical circuits are passageways engineered to transfer electricity from one place to another. For example, a home’s electrical circuits carry electricity from the powerlines to the home’s appliances, lights, and outlets. Electrical outlets are what homeowners use to plug in their electric-powered devices.

Warning Signs of Electrical Problems

burning smellsThe following are signs of issues with the electrical system:

  • Sparking outlets
  • Sparking breaker box
  • Flickering lights
  • Burning smell
  • High energy bills

Homeowners should be on the lookout for signs of an electrical system malfunction. An electrical fire could affect the homeowner and the community at large if the fire spreads. The entire neighborhood, as well as local ecosystems, could be impacted by an electrical fire.

In addition to the risk of electrocution and fire, a malfunctioning electrical system can also cause a spike in utility bills. A sudden increase in the light bill could mean that the electrical system is not performing efficiently due to disrepair. Flickering lights could be caused by a lightbulb, but if the issue is consistent throughout the home’s lighting, it could mean the breaker box is malfunctioning.

Electrical Safety Is a Number One Priority

The most important thing that homeowners need to know about their electrical system is that leaving it in a state of disrepair or doing amateur electrical work is extremely dangerous. Electrocution and fires can be life-threatening. There is also the financial risk of property damage to consider. Rewiring the entire electrical system because amateurs have installed it is expensive and time-consuming.

Professional electricians are trained to service electrical systems safely and are protected by insurance in case of an accident. Homeowners should always ensure that they hire a professional electrician who is both fully licensed and insured to repair and install their home’s electrical system.

In addition to being aware of the signs of a malfunction and hiring an experienced electrician, homeowners should also be careful not to overload their circuits. When installing new appliances and lightbulbs, homeowners should check the recommended voltage/wattage. Another safety measure homeowners can take is installing a whole home surge protector to protect the home from power surges.

About Atlas Home Service

Atlas Home Service is a family owned business with over a decade of experience serving its neighbors in Alexandria, LA, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing and free in-home quotes and are also fully licensed and insured. Call them today for electrical services in Alexandria, LA.