There are three main components to your electrical wiring residential system including:
- BC Hydro’s Electricity Meter
- Electrical Panel
- Home Electrical Wiring & Circuits
BC Hydro’s “Smart” Electricity Meters
It’s been 10 years since BC Hydro began implementing their Smart Metering Program in 2011. According to BC hydro, the program is replacing old obsolete mechanical meters with modern “Smart” meters.
The new Smart Meters are more efficient and designed to improve energy savings and curtail energy theft.
When BC Hydro’s main power line is connected to your home, it is connected directly to your electricity meter, which is usually located on the outside wall of your home. The meter records your home’s monthly electricity consumption, which is measured in Kilowatt hours, and BC Hydro bills you accordingly.
From the Smart Meter, the electricity goes directly to your home’s electrical panel.
Electrical Breaker Panel
Older homes prior to 1960 generally had fuse boxes installed. Fuse boxes have since been replaced by the more efficient and safer electrical circuit breaker panel. See our post entitled Circuit Breaker vs Fuse Box for more information on this topic.
Generally, home electrical panels are installed inside your home, most often in the garage or basement. As electricity enters your home from the main power line through the Smart Meter, it is first routed to your electrical panel.
Your electrical panel acts as a safety breaker that will shut off power if there is ever an electrical overload.
Older homes tend to have a 100-amp electrical panel whereas new home construction generally includes a 200-amp panel to accommodate our modern electrical demands.
We recommend upgrading your electrical panel to at least 200-amps if you are renovating or have an older home that still only has a 100-amp service. If you have a much larger home, you might even consider installing a 400-amp electrical panel.
To determine how large your electrical panel is simply look near the top of the panel for the largest circuit breaker; it should tell you what amp service your home currently has.
From the electrical panel, electricity is then distributed throughout the house through your home’s electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Residential Circuits
To recap, the main power line connects to your electrical meter and the electricity is routed to your home’s electrical panel where it is then distributed through your home’s electrical wiring.
The electrical wiring is generally installed inside the walls, ceilings, and floors of your home. Your electrical panel may have dozens of circuit breakers, with each breaker supplying power to its own separate part of the house.
Once the electrical wiring reaches its destination, the two insulated wires can be connected to whatever may need power, including your home’s electrical plugs, as well as lighting, switches, etc.
If the switches are not turned on, or if there is nothing plugged into your outlets, the two insulated wires are not connected so there can be no power. The act of turning on a switch or plugging something into an outlet will connect the two insulated wires and complete the circuit, providing the power you need.
For safety, all wiring in your electrical wiring residential system will also have a copper ground wire.
The ground wire provides a path of least resistance to direct the electricity into the ground should there ever be a short circuit in your home’s electrical wiring.
Some of the outlets in your home should also be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets (GFCI), especially if the outlets will be located near water.
GFCI outlets have both a test button and a reset button and are designed to prevent shocks and electrocution. If the outlet detects even the slightest current imbalance it will shut off.
Here are type of outlets in your home that should be GFCI Outlets:
- Bathroom Outlets
- Kitchen Outlets
- Garage Outlets
- Outdoor Outlets
About Premium Electric
It’s not worth the risk! Always hire a professional electrician for electrical repairs and installations.
All electrical work completed by Premium Electric is guaranteed. We offer both residential electrical and commercial electrical services to customers throughout the Fraser Valley and the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
If you need help with residential electrical wiring including repairs and installations, please call us at 604-308-6195.