Electrical Guide

120/240/480v wiring
A volt is a measure of electrical pressure, as it runs along a conductor. The average home is supplied with 240 volts, which is divided into three wires: two 'hot' wires of 120 volts each, and one neutral ground wire.
Aluminum wiring
There was a period during the mid-1960's to about 1976, when aluminum was used in place of copper, for wiring residential homes. This came about because aluminum was lighter weight, cheaper, and more available at that time.
Appliances
As a general rule, the bigger the appliance, the larger the wiring and the more voltage required. Small, portable appliances such as blenders, coffee makers and T-Vs can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet.
Computers and telephones
With the number of home computers and home offices growing rapidly, the demand for electrical service has increased. In older homes, especially, a wiring upgrade may be required.
Electric heating/air conditioning
Electric central heating is typically the largest-load item in the household, thereby demanding 240-volt wiring. In addition, the heating system must be supplied by its own branch circuit, from the main service panel.
Ground fault circuit interrupters
A ground-fault circuit interrupter, or 'G-F-C-I,' is a special kind of outlet, that protects people from electrical shock. Ground faults can occur when a hot, bare wire in an appliance comes in contact with the appliance's metal frame.
Outdoor wiring
The biggest challenge behind outdoor wiring is protecting the system from the elements. Shock hazards from water are the main concern, though wind, ice and even sun can cause problems, too.
Plugs and switches
Plugs are a common term for what the pros call electrical outlets, or receptacles. Each plug is like a branch on a tree, with the tree being the electrical circuit that runs from your service panel, to plugs throughout the house.
Pool/spa and jacuzzi wiring
Wiring around water elements like swimming pools, spas and jacuzzis is one of the most complicated and dangerous jobs. If not properly installed and grounded, a severe shock hazard is created, which could injure or kill those using the equipment.
Washer/dryer wiring
Major appliances like washers and dryers call for special wiring and receptacle outlets, to operate safely and efficiently. For these big machines, a 240-volt circuit is required, and is usually run with number eight wire, or even number six wire.
Wire size
All electrical wire is numbered according to size, using a rating system called the 'A-W-G,' or American wire gauge. In this system, the bigger the wire, the smaller its number.
Wiring - new rooms
When adding on a new room, it's important to plan for your electrical needs. Consider how many outlets you want, and where. Typically, a room is required to have a wall outlet every six feet, though your local code may vary.
Wiring - older rooms
Vintage homes have an undeniable charm. But along with that charm may come some pretty outdated wiring. What worked fine back in the 20's, 30's or whenever, can't begin to safely power all the gadgets we use today.
Wiring - rural locations
When setting up wiring at a rural location, your first step will be to acquire power from the transformer, which is the barrel-shaped device on top of the utility pole.


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