About House Wiring

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About House Wiring
About House Wiring (Image: Treehugger)

Behind the walls of your home lies an intricate network of wires and piping. This network is the life of the home, the way in which electricity is carried to every part of the structure. Before tapping into it, you must have an understanding of just how vital the house wiring is to a home's electrical system. You must also consider the safety implications if the house is wired improperly.

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Significance

Aside from the cost, a proper wiring job can enhance use of the home. For example, misplaced light switches and fixtures without the proper voltage affect the aesthetic of the room. Similarly, flickering lights and uneven sound can hurt the home's comfort. Then, there is the fire hazard. Special attention must be paid to house wiring to ensure that the proper wires are connected. Missed connections can spark a fire, as can overload circuits. Thus, house wiring is important to the budget, comfort and safety of a home.

Function

In house wiring, all of the outlets, fixtures and circuits are placed in the home. All are connected behind the walls, ceiling and floors to a primary system of wires that snake their way through the home to the primary circuit. This is the circuit breaker. Here, you can control the electricity throughout the entire house, turning it on and off as needed.

Types

Homes are wired after the plumbing goes in, but before the walls and ceilings. Certain projects require wiring after the home is finished. Intercom systems, ceiling fans and lighting systems must be connected to the home's main electrical system. In these cases, the house needs rewiring. It could be modified to incorporate the new items. Homes are also rewired when they previous system is outdated or malfunctioning. Essentially, house wiring involves anything that must be connected to that main circuit breaker.

Features

There are several key components to wiring a house. Switch boxes are used to mount light sockets and switches into a wall. Each switch and fixture is connected to the main electric system through three wires. The hot wire is often black. It carries the current through the house to the appliance or switch being used. The ground wire is often a bare copper wire used to carry the current into the ground if the hot wire fails to carry that same current to its designated outlet. A neutral wire, brown, carries the current back to where it came from where it originated. All of these wires are enclosed in a metal pipe, on which the fixtures are often mounted. Wires are capped on the ends by either terminals or wire nuts that splice two separate wires together. A series of clamps are used to secure the piping or any wires outside of the piping to studs.

Warning

Don't attempt house wiring when the power is on. Before working with any type of electricity, you must be sure that the main circuit breaker is shut off. Read the house blueprints carefully to avoid any hazardous situations and to properly wire the house.

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