Your House's Electrical System: Everything to KnowMany of the comforts and conveniences you enjoy at home are powered by a mostly unseen and somewhat mysterious electrical system. Since you use it on a daily basis, it’s good to know more about this complex system and how it functions.

Home Electrical Systems 101

Electricity from the power company gets delivered to your home via a main line that’s either buried underground or strung on roadside poles. From there, it’s routed through your household system that’s comprised of:

  • Meter box. The power company’s wire goes directly to a meter on your home’s exterior, which is in place to keep track of your electricity usage so the company can bill you each month.
  • Main breaker panel. The line from the meter is run inside your home to a main breaker inside an electrical panel. Most homes today have a 200 amp main breaker, which is the maximum amount of electricity available for use in the house. The main breaker is wired to smaller breakers that distribute electricity via individual circuits to different rooms. If there’s a short or an overload on a circuit, its breaker will trip to stop the flow of electricity and prevent a fire.
  • Circuits. Bundled wires are run from individual circuit breakers to light fixture boxes, outlets and appliances/equipment that needs a dedicated circuit, such as the air conditioner, refrigerator and water heater.
  • Light switches. For ease of use, electrical wires are run from each light fixture box in your home to one or more conveniently-placed switches. Flipping the switch either completes or breaks the circuit running from the main panel box to the fixture, which turns the light on or off.
  • Receptacles/outlets. These are essentially sockets that let electricity flow from your home’s main panel to power plug-in items, like electronics, lamps and small appliances. Locations where water is present, like the kitchen and bathroom, typically have ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) outlets that halt the flow of electricity to prevent shocks.

To learn more about the electrical system that powers your Grand Traverse County home, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about electrical systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.

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