Home Electrical Wiring

The "101" on your home's electrical wiring system

When I was a kid growing up, my dad would give my brother and me "lie detector" tests when he thought we weren't telling the whole truth.

I was old enough that I remember this routine to this day, but young enough at the time to actually believe what he was doing worked.

Home Electrical Wiring

Any time our answers were in question, out came his lie detector. A device about the size of his hand, it had two dials, a thin pointer that swung back and forth across various numbers, and two long wires with pointy probes at the end of them.

We always told the truth when my dad's polygraph machine was connected to our fingers...

...at least until we learned his trusty little gadget was actually a multi-meter, a.k.a. volt-ohm meter. By the way, he also used it to tell if batteries and wall sockets were lying too!

While a multi-meter can't tell if you or anything else is lying it can tell a lot about what's going on anytime you're working with electricity or things that run on electricity.

An electrician's best friend, you too can use this tool any time you're working on a home electrical wiring project, whether installing wiring and electrical boxes or devices, or troubleshooting and repairing them.

A home's electrical wiring is its lifeline to bringing you light and operation of all your electrical devices. A network of electric wires, your power enters your home at a single point and then gets distributed all around your house to where you need it.

Home electrical wiring is usually made of copper, which is a good conductor and an easy-to-install, flexible material. Insulated with plastic covers in your home, electrical wiring is referred to as a conductor since electricity can travel through it easily.

Residential electrical wiring is rated in gauge numbers, from 1 to 18, with No. 18 wiring representing the smallest in size and No. 1 wiring, the largest.

Wires are also color-coded depending on their purpose, e.g. red and black wires are always "hot" meaning they carry voltage (electricity).

If you're just getting familiar with your home electrical wiring it's good to understand what a circuit breaker panel for electrical wiring is. Hey, you already know it helps you get the lights back on after something gets blown, right?

From there, you'll eventually be doing basic electrical repair and troubleshooting around the house such as fixing a broken doorbell. Who thought you could be so advanced?

You can also visit the electrical outlets or the light switch wiring sections for specific questions on those topics.

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