Most of us accept electricity as a readily available and safe power source to use in our home electrical system. Consumers use electricity for many everyday things including heating, cooking, watching TV, charging our cell phones, and powering our computers.
Because of safety laws, electricians and home builders have the obligation to ensure that electrical wiring for homes and offices get properly grounded. This protects the customer from electrical shocks and accidents. Regulatory laws require electrical wiring for the home to pass inspection. In addition, regular checks and maintenance are always a good idea. This ensures that the home electrical system remains safe and in proper working condition.
Consequently, what steps could the ordinary customer take to guarantee electrical safety for the home? Answers to these simple questions may help.
- How is electricity provided to the home?
- How important is the electric meter?
- What is grounding?
How a home electrical system works
Electricity is generated at power plants that could be hundreds of miles away from the home. The generated power passes through power transmission grids at very high voltage. By the time electricity reaches the home, it has been stepped down to a lower voltage by a power substation. Next, it passes through a transformer, so that it arrives at a voltage that is usable in the home.
An electric meter attached to the home monitors power usage in order to accurately bill the customer. Inside the home, a breaker box (service panel) enables the customer to shut off power, reset a circuit breaker, or turn off power to localized parts of the home.
How important is the electric meter?
The main purpose of the electric meter is to monitor the amount of electric energy used in the home. In addition, accurate billing for customer energy usage remains important. Usually, the electricity provider installs the meter outside, but adjacent to the home. This makes it convenient for the provider to read the meter without entering the customer’s home. Another trend is to provide a meter inside the home so that the customer can send monthly readings to the provider through the internet.
What is grounding?
To ensure the safety of the customer, grounding provides a reliable path for electricity to flow into the ground. Since your home electrical system could malfunction, causing electrical faults, fires or power surges, users are rightfully concerned.
The customer can help detect electrical faults by:
- Noticing a burning odor at a circuit breaker, at the J-box (junction box), or at an electrical outlet.
- Observing arcing due to a bad or defective electrical connection.
- Detecting localized loss in electric power in parts of the home due to a tripped breaker.
Any suspicious activity surrounding your home electrical system should be investigated. The customer should seek the help of a licensed electrician when problems arise. A good source for resolving electrical problems is U.S. Electrical Services, reachable at https://usesi.com.