In our last article Understanding Electrics in Your New Home Build we discussed basics of electric wiring and phases. In this article we discuss electrical basics in your new home construction.
Where the power supply enters your property there should be a meter which measures the amount of power that you use every month and a circuit breaker which prevents too much power entering your property. Should the provider experience a problem and there’s suddenly a spike in voltage this could damage the wiring and electrical appliances in your house, even causing a fire. The circuit breaker is there to immediately cut the power if there’s a power surge and it prevents overloading of your house’s electrical system.
The breaker also allows your electrical contractor to switch the power off in the house should they need to work on the electrical wiring or the electrical distribution board in the house so that it is safe for them to work.
The meter must be accessible for the authorities to read.
In your house is an electrical distribution board (possibly in the garage, kitchen or storeroom). The power from the street feeds into this and it’s then distributed via different circuits (wires). Usually ovens, stoves and air-conditioners should have their own circuits. The lights are normally on one circuit and electrical outlets are on another circuit (or possibly more circuits). The circuits all have a circuit breaker which is usually denoted in Amps and may be 15A, 20A, 25A, etc. These limit the amount of current entering the circuit and they must be matched to the size wires in the circuit. They are designed to ‘trip’ and cut off power when the current drawn exceeds their capacity. Without this protection the electrical wires could burnout and cause a fire, or at best require the wires to be replaced. It’s imperative that a larger breaker isn’t used than the circuit is designed for, or that the breaker isn’t prevented from ‘tripping’. No matter how frustrating it is to have a breaker trip, never be tempted to remove it or stick something in it to prevent it cutting power. You may have a faulty appliance tripping the breaker, or too many items consuming power on that circuit. Simply disconnecting an appliance may mean the breaker doesn’t trip.
The circuits should have safety switches, sometimes known as RCD’s (residual current device) or GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) that cut the power off in milliseconds should a fault develop. In addition some countries require AFCI’s (arc-fault circuit interrupter) which cuts power when the current is causing a spark which could start a fire.
Note: please get expert advice for all electrical matters.
In our next articles we discuss the location of electrical outlets or sockets (plugs) Electrical outlets in your new home and lights Choosing lights for your new home.
This is an extract from the author's book 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses: Volume 1 Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home'.
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Paul Netscher has written 2 easy to read books 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses - Volumes 1 and 2'. An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses Volume 1 deals with Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home. and Designing your ideal home Volume 2 deals with Finding Your Ideal Property and Designing Your Dream Home.
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