By AJ Danboise
Knowledge is Power
All of us rely on electricity to get through the day; from the time we wake up, and into the night, we use electricity – even while asleep. The electricity in your home operates around the clock to supply power to all your major appliances. Because your home’s electrical system is an integral and necessary part of life, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some basic concepts. Should something go awry, you’ll have an easier time identifying the source of the problem before calling a licensed electrician, not to mention you just might impress your friends and family with all your newfound knowledge!
Our intention isn’t to overwhelm you, so we’re going to focus on just four basic terms we think every homeowner should know.
Electrical Panel/Breaker Panel
Located in either your basement or garage, the electrical panel controls the flow of electricity to your home. As a homeowner, it’s a good idea to find the location of your panel and get familiar with it. Your electrical panel houses a series of circuit breakers, which control the power of an appliance. These circuit breakers are usually labeled to indicate the breaker controlling an appliance. While there is value in familiarizing yourself with your electrical panel, it’s important to leave all panel work to a licensed electrician! Electricity isn’t something you want to experiment with, as the results can be quite ugly.
Otherwise known as a ground fault circuit interrupter or ground fault interrupter (GFI), this type of receptacle protects people from electrical shock by monitoring the current flowing into or out of a plugged-in device. Should this receptacle detect a current exceeding five milliamps, it will shut off the flow of electricity in as little as .025 seconds. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that all new kitchens, bathrooms, crawl spaces, unfinished basements and most outdoor receptacles have GFCI outlets installed. These locations usually have a water source, which is why the NEC has named these locations. If you live in an older home and do not feel that your home has adequate GFCI receptacles, schedule an appointment with one of our trained technicians! We will help safeguard you and your loved ones from electrical harm.
A watt is a unit of measurement indicating how much electricity is being used in one second. Even if you didn’t know what this term meant, you’ve probably seen it on the packaging of light bulbs. It’s important to know that watts do not determine the brightness of a bulb. A bulb’s brightness is expressed in lumens, which we will explain next. Light bulbs with higher wattage will use more energy, thus increasing your utility bill. You can decrease the amount of energy you use by switching to Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Both have lower wattage than incandescent bulbs but emit the same amount of light.
Lumen is a unit of measurement that describes the brightness of a bulb. If you want to enhance a space with additional light, choose a bulb with more lumens. If you’re looking to add ambiance to a room, choose a bulb with less lumens. Under the direction of the Federal Trade Commission, light bulb packages now have labels, similar to nutritional labels in appearance, that provide information on the brightness, energy cost, the bulb’s life expectancy, light appearance (warm or cool), wattage, and whether it contains mercury.
If you ever have any questions about your electrical system or are in need of an electrical repair, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (248) 453-2337! We’d be happy to assist you in learning the ins and outs of this incredibly vital system. As they say, knowledge is power – no pun intended!