Understanding Your Electrical Service Panel
Somewhere within your home, hidden in a closet or lurking in your basement, rests your electrical service panel. The electrical service panel is responsible for distributing the electrical currents received from your energy supplier throughout your home. Your Delaware electrician will need to access your electrical service panel in order to turn off your power before he is able to make upgrades or repairs. Hes familiar with what is under the cover but you may not be. Understanding the components that make up your electrical service panel is important to your ability to understand the type of electrical work you need to have done.
Opening the Electrical Service Panel
When you first open your electrical service panel youll see a series of circuit breaker switches, each with the ability to turn the power to certain areas of your home off and on. The panel itself has a cover over top so that the wires and other electrical components are not exposed, giving initial access to the switches alone. On the inside of the electrical service panel door you will find a sticker with a chart identifying what room or area of your home each lever within your panel controls.
The Main Circuit Breaker
Any electrician in Delaware who ends up visiting your home will likely remove the cover from the electrical service panel in order to access the wires and switches at the same time. At the top of the circuit panel box you will find the main circuit breaker, also commonly referred to as the double pole service disconnect. The main breaker connects to two large black wires that feed through your electrical meter and provides power to all of the other circuits in your home.
Hot Bus Bars
The two black wires connected to your main circuit breaker also connect directly to a piece of metal called a hot bus bar.
These electrical bars are responsible for the actual transmission of electrical energy from your main circuit breaker to the smaller breakers. When your Delaware electrician opens your electrical service panel he will see either one or two bars. The presence of one bar means you have a single pole circuit breaker providing 120 volts of energy to each of the other breakers. The presence of two indicates you are providing 240 volts of energy to each.
The Neutral Bar
When your electrical energy leaves the hot bus bars, it will transmit through a black wire to the devices plugged into your outlets. The energy will provide power to the device such as a lamp or radio and will then return to your electrical service panel. It returns through white wires that connect to the neutral bar, which safely transmits the power back to the utility companys closest transformer.
Grounding Wires and Bars
The neutral bar connects to the grounding wire for your house. The grounding wire connects the circuits to a grounding bar and then to the earth, either via another set of rods or through a metallic cold water pipe, and prevents electrical shock. Having a grounding wire properly attached to your electrical service panel is important because it causes a trip in your circuit breaker in order to remove the hazards caused by hot wires or electrical malfunctions. Depending on the type of electrical service panel you have, the grounding bar may be part of the neutral bar or exist separately. Your Delaware electrician will be able to tell the difference.
The Circuit Breakers
The circuit breakers you noticed when you first opened your electrical service panel are designed to protect you and your home from excessive energy use. If the wires in your home become too hot, automatic safety devices may cause your circuits to trip, causing you to lose power in one or more areas of your home. Your electrician in Delaware may recommend you attempt to turn the breaker off and on to restore power. He may also recommend you turn the breaker off completely until he can get to your home to investigate the source of your electrical problems.
While it is important for you as a homeowner to understand the electrical system running through your house, it is dangerous and risky to attempt making changes or repairs to your electrical service panel on your own. Consult a professional Delaware electrician for assistance.