Apart from aesthetics and comfort, homeowners need to consider safety as part of house management principles. After all, a simple error may lead to the worst home disasters. This is especially true when it comes to electricity, and so you need to understand how house electrical circuits work and what you can do to keep the system safe.
Understanding House Electrical Circuits
In a nutshell, electricity moves in a circular pattern throughout the circuitry in your house. Current passes through electrical wires going towards devices (via lighting fixtures, receptacles, switches, and sockets), and then returns to the circuit going back to the power source.
In other words, an electrical circuit is a loop that starts from a service panel or power source, goes through wires, receptacles and fixtures, and returns to the panel. The electrical circuit may also include a meter to measure the power usage.
Mapping Electrical Circuits in Your Home
When you look at your service panel, you should see a series of fuses or circuit breakers, which you may find with labels to indicate which parts of the house each device is controlling. A typical home contains a handful of electrical circuits – say, one for lights, one for the basement, and another for the kitchen. The process of identifying the electrical circuits in your house is called mapping.
If the breakers or fuses are properly labelled, you can identify which one controls a particular electrical circuit of the house. This is helpful when you want to troubleshoot an electrical problem, and you want to isolate a section to work on. If you discover that your circuits haven’t been mapped, it’s probably best to contact an electrical contractor to help you do it.
How To Keep Electrical Circuits Safe
Make sure that your home is safe from potentially risky electrical failures. Here are some tips to keep your electrical circuits as safe as possible:
Upgrade your electrical panel: Circuit breakers offer a lot more advantages than fuses, and so it’s probably best to upgrade your current panel towards a safer and more modern technology.
Install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI) breaker or outlet: This device shuts off the power in mere milliseconds, when it senses a potential shock. This is useful in areas where moisture is present, such as bathroom, kitchen, and the outdoors.
Have your electrical system assessed for potential problems: Precaution is always a great option to ensure safety in your home. Contact an electrician or electrical specialist to help you check for any loose wire contact, corroded circuit components, and other dangerous signs.