Every house will definitely have an electrical system installed in it. At the core of every one of these electrical systems is the panel board. Because of this, panel board suppliers see to it that they provide the best materials and products to ensure that the center of your electrical system is safe and efficient in everything that it does.
With that being said, some panel board suppliers even take it a step further and educate their customers about how a typical home electrical system functions. Every homeowner needs to be aware of how their home electric system works because it is technically a part of their everyday lives. If you know how it works, then you will find it easy to look for solutions to problems with it.
From the Power Plant to Your Devices
Before talking about your home electrical system, you should first understand how electricity is brought into your home. Once you are familiar with this, you will be able to understand the basic journey that the electricity takes before it can power your home.
It will also be easier for you to understand electrical problems such as dim or flickering lights, circuit overloads, and weak power outlets—so without further ado, here is a brief description of the journey that electricity takes to power your home!
Electricity is continually produced and stored in power plants all around the country. It then travels through transmission lines that are either on a pole or underground until the electricity reaches its destination. But before electricity enters your home, it will first have to go through an electric meter.
This meter is responsible for keeping track of how much electricity a building is consuming. Most of these meters are still mostly mechanical, with spinning wheels that display the information. Nowadays, though, there are newer meters that have digital displays on their screens.
After the electricity goes through the meter, it will then go straight to the main breaker with a switch that controls the whole flow of the panel. If it’s turned off or tripped, then absolutely no electricity will flow into your home. The main breaker also acts as the interrupt between the utility service and the circuits inside the main panel board.
Panel boards are also known by many names: the breaker panel, circuit breaker panel, distribution board, fuse board, service panel, and many more. In essence, a panel board is basically a box in which electricity is distributed to different circuits. But first, they need to pass through the circuit breakers which are also found within panel boards.
Circuit breakers are usually found below the main breaker. Each of these is a switch that controls the flow of electricity to a branch circuit. Same as the main breaker, when a circuit breaker is turned off, power is shut off for that particular circuit.
When breakers are turned on and electricity is allowed to flow smoothly, then you will be able to power up your devices, gadgets, appliances, and the like by plugging them into outlets or turning on switches.
And that’s how electricity travels to your home and gets distributed to every corner of your house!
Every part of an electrical system is essential for it to function properly. But out of all the parts, the one that has the most relevance would be the panel board. Suppliers will always emphasize how important they are since they play a big role in the entire electrical system.
The Main Distributor – The Panel Board
As the core of every home’s electric system, the panel board is something that every homeowner should be knowledgeable about. So whenever an electrical problem arises, you would know what to do. In any case, panel board suppliers will be happy to explain the ins and outs of a panel board for you.
As mentioned above, a panel board holds the main breaker which can shut off all power except incoming utility power from transmission lines.
Panel boards are usually placed in a steel box with a hinged door on the front. Once it is opened, all the circuit breakers inside become accessible. In most cases, a house only has one panel board. But if a panel board supplier sees that you might have a need for a smaller one for a specific area, it is still possible to have more than one. These smaller panel boards are called subpanels and have basically the same function as the main one.
Inside a panel board, the circuit breakers are typically arranged in two columns and each one controls the flow of electricity in one particular circuit.
And that is what a homeowner should usually know about these panel boards. However, there are still much more to know and understand about it, especially if you plan on doing some electrical work on your own.
You can remove the protective cover around the breaker switches, known as the dead front cover, to gain access to all the components of the panel.
If you take a closer look at the main breaker, you should see two thick, black service wires. These two wires typically carry 120 volts from the electric meter which it then feeds to the two “hot bus bars” in the panel. When snapped onto these bars, circuit breakers use the power from them to provide power to their circuits.
Once electricity has passed through its circuit and through appliances or gadgets, it will then go back to the panel board and onto the so-called neutral bus bar. The sole purpose of this bar is to return the current back to the electric grid.
And lastly, within the panel board is the main bonding jumper which provides a ground connection between the neutral bus bar and the panel board.
The panel boards consist of many other parts, not just breakers and wires. Each of these parts has a specific function and a safety feature.
Many panel board suppliers and electricians agree that panel boards serve a very important role in managing electrical energy. One of the main advantages of utilizing panel boards is the branch circuit design that it has. This enables selective tripping of breakers which is incredibly useful for electrical repairs in residential, commercial, and industrial areas.
Panel boards also play a huge role whenever there is an overload or short circuit. The panel board serves as one big shut off button that will stop things from getting any worse.
What Homeowners Should Know About Their Electrical System
When it comes to a home electrical system, the most complicated part for the typical homeowner is usually the inner workings of the panel board, while the rest of it is fairly easy to understand. As long as you don’t play around circuits and wirings—which is definitely not something you would want to do even if you’re a professional—then you won’t shock yourself with unexpected surprises.
With that being said, becoming knowledgeable is always something that every homeowner should aim to be—that goes double for your home electrical systems. The more you know about this, the easier it will be to find problems and solutions to them.
Is your electrical system up-to-date?
If you just moved to a house or are living in a relatively old building, you might want to consider inspecting your electrical system. Outdated electrical systems will provide you with a multitude of problems and possible hazards so this is something that you should take care of. If your home has an outdated electrical system, you should upgrade it right away. Replace old wiring that might have dated components such as aluminum or knob-and-tube wiring so that you won’t have any problems with overloading fuses or circuits.
Leave DIY Projects to the Professionals
Electricity is not something that should be underestimated. Unless you have a good understanding of how it should be handled, you should avoid complex DIY projects. If you think that you can manage a very simple DIY project though, then make sure that you have the main breaker turned off before starting. As much as possible, strictly follow the directions provided. Working with electricity can be very dangerous. Getting shocked is not something that any person would enjoy. So if you really want or need to do a project, make sure you do the necessary preparations before starting anything.
What are GFCI outlets?
These are specialized outlets that are designed to stop the flow of electricity once it detects a difference in power. If you live in a country like the Philippines, GFCI outlets are recommended to have in areas of the house that are prone to getting wet such as bathrooms, crawl spaces, kitchens, and outdoor locations.
Avoid Overusing Extension Cords
It might be more convenient to use an extension cord and plug everything there, but it actually has a negative effect on the way electric currents flow. It won’t be evident at the start, but if you always use extension cords for long periods of time, it will have an effect on the circuit, particularly the outlet where it is connected to. It is recommended that people who use extension cords a lot to just install more outlets instead.
Electric Wiring Does Not Need Regular Maintenance
There is no need to have your electrical wiring regularly checked unless you have a problem with your electrical system. In most cases, due to the wires being hidden behind walls, they are usually protected from any sort of damage. It is safe to assume that even after 10 years, your electrical wirings will still be as effective as they were when they were installed. What they do need is an upgrade when such technology becomes available. Though not a requirement, upgrading to the latest electrical system will make your life easier by making your power consumption as efficient as possible.
Important Things to Remember When Handling your Home Electrical System
As mentioned above, it is highly recommended for you to hire a professional when you have to repair something that is connected to your electrical system. In most cases, their experience and expertise will always be better than the how-to guides from the internet. But if you have no choice but to work with your electrical system on your own, then here are some things that you must remember!
Switch Off the Power
When doing any kind of project connected to your electrical systems, make sure that you turn off the power first. Shutting off the main breaker will ensure that no matter what you do on the wires or outlets, you will not get an electric shock. You can choose to only shut off a particular circuit breaker for an isolated project, but just to be safe, shutting off the main breaker is your best option.
Test for Electricity
Shutting off the power isn’t enough. Always test wires that you’re working on for power first before starting anything. Most circuit breaker suppliers often fail to include a label that tells you which part of the house they are connected to, so take your time and carefully test each one. Even if you’ve already labeled them properly, there is always a chance that a stray circuit would still have a little bit of power left after the power was shut down.
Organize your Wirings
Especially in a house with children, always find a way to put wires in a position where it won’t be easily seen or reached. For wirings that are outside of walls, place them neatly in the corners of a room. Run them through the very corners so that it won’t be a nuisance to anyone. For overhead wiring, make sure that they are not obstructed and reachable. The best way to do so is to install it a little over 10 ft above the ground.
Respect Grounding and Polarization
Grounding and polarization are essential for your safety in every modern electrical system. Grounding creates a safe path for stray electrical currents caused by faults in the circuit. Polarization ensures that electrical current travels from the source along powered wires and returns to the source along neutral wires.
There are many things that homeowners need to take note off when it comes to their home electrical system. Always remember that when you plan on working on it, you should do the proper preparations and follow strict guidelines to ensure that you won’t get the shock of your life!
Meiji Electric Philippines: The Homeowner’s Go-to Panel Board Supplier
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