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Back to School: Basics of Electrical Systems

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Learn the Basics of Electrical Systems

Homeowners can start this back-to-school season on the right foot by taking a crash course in electrical systems. Homeowners should always have a trusted local electrician a phone call away in case of an electrical emergency, but homeowners should also have a basic understanding of how electrical systems work.

Knowing a little about what an electrical system is, what parts make up an electrical system, and how to maintain a home’s electrical system can help homeowners keep their homes safe. Electrical fires are often caused by negligence, which is why learning about electrical systems can save lives.

Important Home Electrical Components

electric meter

Electrical systems are made up of a complicated network of wires, outlets, and connections. Here is a list of some of the most important electrical components for homeowners to learn and understand.

  • Electric Meter: The electric meter measures how much electricity the home uses. The utility company uses the electric meter to charge the amount of energy used by the home’s electrical system.
  • Disconnect Switch: The disconnect switch is used to shut off electricity to the entire house. It is necessary to disconnect the electricity to safely service the home’s electrical system without risking accidental electrocution.
  • Breaker Panel/Electrical Panel: Breaker panels are a series of switches located somewhere in the house, usually behind a small metal door. Each of the switches correlates to a different room or appliance in the home. When the circuits become overloaded, the breaker panel switches to an off position to shut off power and prevent an electrical fire.
  • Circuits: An electrical circuit is a pathway created for electricity to travel. The breaker panel controls the home’s electrical circuits.
  • Electrical Outlet: An electrical outlet is a receptacle for appliances to be plugged into the home’s electrical system for power.

How to Know If Electrical Repairs Are Needed

burning smell

Homeowners should always be on the lookout for warning signs that their electrical system could be malfunctioning. Electrical fires pose a serious hazard to the property and the people who live there. A house fire could even impact the entire neighborhood and local ecosystems.

Flickering lights could indicate a lightbulb burning out, but it could also mean something wrong with the breaker box. When lights continue to flicker even after switching to a new lightbulb of the correct wattage, it’s time to call an electrician for an inspection.

Any sign of fire like a burning smell or sparks coming from the electrical system is an immediate concern. When the circuits become overloaded, the heat from the electricity can melt through the wire’s insulation until they begin to spark. It only takes a single spark to start a house fire.

The longer that an electrical problem is left in disrepair, the more permanent damage can occur to the system. Homeowners should call a qualified professional for electrical repair before the damage worsens.

Practicing Electrical Safety

The most important thing for homeowners to remember when taking care of the electrical system is always to practice electrical safety. Professional electricians undergo rigorous training to obtain a license to install, repair and perform routine maintenance on electrical systems.

Homeowners should not attempt DIY electrical repairs or installation because it is extremely dangerous. The risks of amateur electrical work include electrical fires, electrocution, and property damage. Homeowners may even be sued if someone else gets hurt due to the amateur electrical work.

It is important for homeowners only to hire professional electricians who are fully licensed and insured for the type of work being completed. It requires the right combination of training, specialized equipment, and experience to work successfully on electrical systems.

Homeowners can do their part to maintain their electrical systems by looking for any warning signs of a malfunctioning electrical component, avoiding overloading circuits, and using the correct lightbulbs with the correct wattage. Surge protectors are useful for preventing a system overload.

About JDV Electric

JDV Electric is a family-owned and operated company serving the residents of Lansdowne, PA, and the surrounding areas. They provide transparent pricing, financing, and fully stocked trucks. Call them today for electrical services in Lansdowne, PA.

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