Your Home Electrical System: Understanding It And Hiring An Electrician For Service
As licensed master electricians, we get calls all the time for service and repair of main electrical panels, meter socket replacements, grounding, and a slew of other things related to a home’s electrical system. As residential and commercial electricians, we know what needs to be done by us versus what needs to be done by your utility company (PECO) when it comes to new service and/or repairs. Today we decided to write a blog about what your home electrical system consists of so you can better understand how it all works, and to give you insight on when to call a licensed electrician like KB Electric LLC. Let’s get started!
Outside Service of Your Home Electrical System
The first part of your electrical system consists of a service head that is connected to the big power lines that the utility company (PECO) handles. Power from the big power lines flow through the service head to provide electricity throughout the house. Usually, the service head is connected to the utility lines overhead from a mast riser on your roof, or underground with the use of a conduit. Electricians can service and replace the service head because it is connected to your home.
The service head is then connected to an electric meter mounted on the outside of your home. This electric meter is how the utility company (PECO) knows how much electricity you use for billing purposes (your electric bill).
Electricians like ourselves can replace the meter box that houses the meter which is called a meter socket. Over time, a meter socket can become worn due to aging, weathering, or improper installation.
Service Entrance Cables
The riser cable is the wire that connects the electric meter to the service head. This is also something that an electrician like us can repair or replace for you.
The jumper cable is the wire that connects the electric meter on the outside to your main electrical panel located inside your home. This is also something that an electrician can repair or replace for you.
Inside Service of Your Home Electrical System
Electrical Service Panel
Your electrical service panel, also known as your main panel, is basically your distribution center for powering on your switches and outlets that give power to various items around your home like lights, fans, large and small appliances, etc. The electrical service panel consists of circuit breakers or fuses that cut off power when a fault is detected in the electrical system. Faults can be anything from an overloaded circuit, a short circuit, or a ground fault.
An overloaded circuit occurs when multiple appliances and/or devices are consuming a lot of power on the same circuit. A circuit or fuse will shut off the current flow to prevent an electrical overload (too much current flow), which can cause an electrical fire.
A short circuit can occur when your hot and neutral wires inside an outlet touch each other. This creates too much current to flow, and can be caused by improper wiring or loose connections over time.
A ground fault occurs when your hot wire touches your ground wire. Like a short circuit, this causes too much current to flow and the circuit breaker will trip.
Electricians can replace circuit breakers/fuses, troubleshoot your electrical service panel, and even replace your entire service panel. Replacing your electrical service panel is a wise decision if you need more amperage to power your appliances and devices. To check and see what amperage your electrical service panel currently has, open the door to the electrical service panel. Usually, your main disconnect breaker at the top will have the numbered amperage right on it.
Grounding consists of taking your electrical system and grounding it to the earth so that any extra voltage from lightning and surges can go directly to the ground. This extra line voltage going to the ground means no chance for electrocution and/or shock to a person, no damage to your appliances, and no damage to your electrical system. Basically, the earth is a great conductor, and pointing any excess electricity to the earth as a third path can save your life and your devices/appliances.
To ground your electrical system, an electrician takes your wiring system and grounds it by using a metal rod. The electrician then takes a conductor and connects the rod to terminals inside your electrical service panel. In addition, an electrician will run a conductor to your cold water pipe.
Is My Electrical System Grounded?
An easy way to tell if your home’s electrical system is grounded is to see if you have 3-prong outlets in your house. If you aren’t 100% sure who grounded your electrical system, it’s always a good idea for an electrical inspection to be performed by an electrician. Improper grounding can cause many hazards, so it’s best that you know a professional grounded your electrical system correctly.
When Should I Call An Electrician for My Home Electrical System?
Call KB Electric LLC today to have one of our licensed electricians perform an electrical safety inspection. We will be able to tell you what your electrical system is lacking, and we will give you recommendations to ensure your home electrical system is safe and up to code.
Need an electrical service panel upgrade? Need your circuit breaker fixed? Does your meter socket need replacing? Don’t just let any licensed professional handle it. KB Electric LLC is your family owned and operated licensed electrician since 2004 offering clean, quality service you can count on. (267) 467-3178