When you were a child, you probably thought that electricity worked like magic – if you ever thought about it all. But by now, you know that your utility provider generates electricity and sends it to your home. What happens next? We take a quick look at home electrical system basics.

Your Main Panel or Distribution Board

Your main panel is the point where your home electrical system takes over from the utility provider. It has a main breaker which will trip off if there’s any problem that could prove dangerous.

Several smaller breakers control individual circuits. These circuits are arranged to share the load of providing electricity, and they’re usually pretty logical. Thus, one breaker will likely control the geyser’s power supply. Another will control the supply of electricity to power outlets, another will supply electricity to lights, and so on.

What’s the practical use of this information?

Well, if your main breaker trips off, NEVER force it to remain in the on position. It hasn’t tripped to irritate you. It’s telling you there’s a problem and forcing it to remain in the on position is dangerous.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do without electricity until the electrician arrives. Here’s what to do:

  • Switch off all the smaller breakers and try switching on the main breaker. If it remains on, you know the problem is in one of the circuits. Now to track which one is causing the problem.
  • Switch on one breaker and see what happens. If the main or the smaller breaker doesn’t trip, that circuit is fine. Now, try another, and another, until you find the culprit.
  • If the problem seems to be the power outlet circuit, an appliance might be faulty. Switch off all the appliances and try the breaker. If it remains on, start switching on appliances one by one. The second you switch on the faulty appliance’s power supply; the power will trip off again.

Of course, this trial-and-error process might get stonewalled at some point, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Overloaded Circuits

Sometimes, people try to run too many things at once, and the power demand becomes so high that the breaker trips off. If you are likely to drain that much energy on a regular basis, you might need to ask your electrician to improve the capacity of your distribution board or to install extra power outlets. Remember, too many things plugged into one outlet will cause switches to trip.

Heed Danger Signals

If anything inside the box looks worn, corroded, or worse yet, melted, do not attempt to switch the power on. Call your electrician right away. Faulty appliances may also have overheated, and there’ll often be a smell of burning or signs of melting. Don’t even try to switch that appliance back on.  Faulty electrical wiring or appliances can cause fires, and that’s why your main breaker is switching off the electricity supply.

Article by cs-electric.net – website.