What Are The Components Of The Electrical
System In Your Allentown, PA, Home?
Electrical Systems 101: Your Guide To The Basics
Like most Allentown, PA, homeowners, you likely don’t think about your electrical service as long as it’s working well and your energy bills remain in the range you expect. Many components go into a well-functioning system, enabling it to provide a steady, safe source of electricity for your entire house.
When you need a service upgrade for your home, many of these components will also be upgraded. We’ve broken down each essential piece of an electrical system with an explanation, so you can better understand exactly what’s powering your appliances. Read on to learn more about what keeps your lights on.
Main Service Panel
Generally, the main service panel is called the “breaker box.” However, if you have a very old home and require a service upgrade, you may have fuses instead of breakers, in which case the panel will be referred to as the “fuse box.” Note that if you have this type of setup, getting a service upgrade as soon as possible is essential for fire prevention.
This panel is the primary source for electricity distribution throughout your home. Within the box, two large wires are connected to screw terminals or lugs. These lugs are what deliver power to the panel. In addition to the active lugs, there is a neutral one.
Electricity will travel through the hot wires to the panel and onward through the rest of the electrical system. It will return to the box through the neutral wire to complete the circuit.
In some Lehigh County homes, one main service panel is not enough. For these situations, one or more sub-panels will be installed. These sub-panels distribute electricity to a specific set of circuits within the home. Often, you’ll find the need for one of these panels in an outbuilding on the property with lighting or other electrical services.
In most situations, your electrical meter will be installed outside your home. When you complete a service upgrade, any meter installed inside your Allentown, PA, home will be relocated to a location outside.
The utility company provides your electrical service by supplying cables to your home’s electrical meter. The meter measures every time you use electricity – alerting the electric company to how much they should charge on your bill.
Your breaker box contains a series of switches to control the different electrical loads in your home. Generally, the average-sized Lehigh County home will have several circuits dedicated to lighting, receptacles, and major appliances.
Every circuit breaker can be manually switched or “flipped.” This enables you to work safely on an electrical circuit by deactivating it.
However, they are specifically designed to trip when hazards are detected. For example, they will trip when the current draw becomes excessive and can cause wiring damage or a fire by overheating.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter circuit breakers are also designed to trip when current leakage is detected. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter circuit breakers will trip when they recognize overloading or sparking.
Main Circuit Breaker
In addition to the circuit breakers for each individual circuit, there is a large main breaker within your service panel. This controls all the breakers, and its size depends on the capacity of your home’s electrical service.
So, if you have a 200 amp service, that’s all the main circuit breaker will allow to pass through the house. If the electrical use exceeds this number, it will cause the main circuit breaker to trip, and your power will cut off. All current to the panel will stop when this breaker trips.
However, it’s essential to remember that even with the main breaker shut off, there is still electricity running to the lugs. To stop this, you must shut the power off at the disconnect switch – or the utility company will need to disconnect the service.
Most residential applications use a non-metallic cable with a flexible plastic sheathing covering several wires. The wire gauge and other important information are printed on this sheathing. In addition, the sheathing may be color coded to help identify wire gauge and specific use.
There are different designations for various applications. For instance, you cannot use the same cable for lighting circuits that you would use for large appliances. A professional electrician will know the difference when performing any work on your electrical service.
If You Need A Reliable Electrician In Allentown, PA,
Turn To Shafnisky Electric
If you’re having any electrical problems at your Allentown, PA, home, don’t wait to have them inspected and repaired by a Master Electrician who will take the time to solve your issue the right way. Here at Shafnisky Electric, we provide quality work that ensures real solutions.
Our reputation within the community speaks for itself. We’ve established our company as the one you can trust to get things done safely, effectively, and efficiently.