Understanding Household Electricity

by | Electric

Every house or apartment is going to have an electrical system of one sort or another. Whether working with buyers or sellers, it pays to understand the basics of home electrical systems. To know your electrical system and how it works in your house is important, you need to be certain of the electricity provider for you, you want to have the best, wherever you are your county/area will have their own electricity providers, looking for electricity companies in Texas if you’re in the south will help with your decision, it is always best to shop around so you know that you are not overpaying for a service.

Electricity is generated at power plants, travels to sub stations, then to transformers where it is converted to 120/240 volt service for most residential services.

Most houses today have 3 wire 120/240 volt service. Houses built prior to approximately 1932 may have 2 wire 120 volt service.

Fuses or circuit breakers are found in the main electric panel of a house. The main panel is where all the circuits in the house originate from and it’s usually near where the electric power enters the building. They both serve the purpose of cutting the flow of electricity when a circuit gets overloaded. Circuit breakers will be found in most houses built after the 1960s.

Most moderately sized older houses have 100 amp service. Larger new houses are often built with 200 amp service to accommodate all the electronics used today. If a buyer is thinking of modernizing an older house, one consideration will be if the electrical system is big enough to handle the additional requirements.

Most electrical outlets that you see accept three prong plugs, meaning the outlet is grounded. A grounding wire, which connects to the round third hole, protects against electric current escaping from the circuit and causing shocks. Older houses might only have two prong outlets, meaning there’s no grounding protection in the circuits. Upgrading would be recommended.

GFI protected outlets (ground fault interrupter) are typically required by building codes when near a water source or a damp location. These can be either an outlet with a test reset button, or a breaker with a test button. In the event of a short circuit or a ground fault, the GFI will instantly trip, cutting the power. A GFI is also known as a GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter.