How are circuits wired in houses?


how are circuits wired in houses

How circuits are wired in houses is a question that many people ask. I will explain it to you in simple plain language as a layman.

To begin with, there are two types of wiring used in electrical circuits. These are series and parallel circuits.

Table of Contents

Basics of series and parallel circuits.

In a parallel circuit, the voltage remains the same across all the connected loads in that circuit.

The electrical current in a parallel circuit divides according to the connected load. How is this done? each connected load in the circuit will draw the rated electrical current for that appliance from the supply.

This is why wired circuits in houses are done in parallel. This explains why all loads in a house are either rated at 120V or 240V.

All in all, houses are wired in parallel.

In a series circuit, the voltage divides according to the connected loads. What do I mean when I say that the voltage divide? For example, if I have a 10V power source, and I connect 5 different electrical loads.

Each electrical load will get 2v from the supply which is when all the connected loads have the same resistance.

All I am saying in the connected electrical appliances in a series circuit, share the voltage.

The other thing to consider in a series circuit is the behaviour of the electrical current. Each connected load will draw the same current from the supply.

Typical house wiring circuits.

There are 4 typical house wiring circuits in a home. These are:

  1. Lighting circuits
  2. Sockets outlets circuits
  3. Geyser circuits
  4. Air conditioning circuits.

What is the importance of earthing in the household circuit?

Well, the earthing conductor is a safety conductor. Earthing is a safety feature in electrical installations. Earthing basically protects you and electrical appliances from being damaged.

Earthing protects you from electrical shocks. How does the earthing protect you from electrical shocks? When an electrical current is in contact with any metal parts of your appliance and electrical fittings and machines. The earth conductor takes the unwanted excess current to the ground.

The earthing conductor does this with the help of circuit breakers and a lightning arrestor. When the excess current is large enough, it triggers the circuit breaker to trip. This stops the electric current to flow in the affected circuit, thereby protecting you from an electrical shock that can cause injury or death.

The earthing system in a home consists of lightning arrestors, earth electrodes and earthing conductors.

Why are parallel circuits used in homes?

As I have stated that in a parallel circuit, the voltage remains constant while the current is shared among the connected loads in that circuit.

How is this done in homes? Well, homes get electricity from the local utility electrical companies. These companies supply your home at a specified voltage. There are two common voltages that are used to supply domestic customers. These are 120V and 230V.

One of the reasons why homes are wired in parallel is all electrical appliances in a home, have the same voltage rating.

In all residential buildings, electricity enters your home through the meter box and it is distributed throughout the house using the distribution board or consumer panel.

It is in the distribution board where the electrical current is shared amongst the connected loads in the house. This is done through circuit breakers. The reason we connect circuit breakers in a home is to divide the current in-home this is important because different circuits and appliances have varying electrical current needs.

How are electrical devices connected in homes?

There are two ways electrical devices are connected in homes. one device is connected through a lighting point and the other device is connected through a socket outlet.

Electrical light fittings are connected through lighting circuits. In homes, there are light fittings.

  1. Wall sconce
  2. Pendant
  3. LED bulbs
  4. Downlights
  5. Chandeliers
  6. LED floodlights
  7. Camera LED flood lights
  8. UFO flood lights

Other electrical devices in a home are connected through socket outlets. Below is an example of electrical devices connected through socket outlets.

  1. Refrigerator
  2. Blender
  3. Juicer
  4. Coffee maker
  5. electric cooker
  6. Television set
  7. Home theatre
  8. Laptops

What are the three wires from the pole to the house?

Overhead power lines

There are basically four (4) wires in the utility distribution lines for domestic and residential customers. There are 3 wires that are live or hot these are called phase wires, and one neutral wire

In residential installations, there are two common types of power supplied to homes these are SINGLE phase installations and two-phase installations.

In a single-phase installation you have two wires coming from the electric pole to your house. Of course, the two-wire use a service drop or utility service cable. In this installation, you have one wire that is live and the other wire is the neutral wire.

In a two-phase installation, you have 3 wires coming from the pole to your house the two wires are live, hot or phase wires while the remaining wire is neutral.

What is the power line from a pole to a house called?

credit electrical academia

This power line is called a service drop or service wire. This is the link between the utility service provider and its customers. In most installations, a service drop is used in overhead distribution lines.

How do I check the voltage in my house?

How do I check voltage in a house

There are two ways you can check the voltage in your home. The first method you can use is an electrical tester screwdriver. An electrical tester screwdriver is good when you want to detect the presence of voltage in your home without actually knowing the value of the voltage.

The second method you use is a multimeter to know the value of the voltage in your home.

How to measure voltage.

Before you measure the voltage. You need to determine the voltage that you want to measure. This can either be AC or DC voltage.AC is alternating current and DC is direct current. Direct current does not change its direction with time.

When you have decided on the voltage that you want to measure. You move the selector knob to either the DC voltage setting or the AC voltage setting.

Here are the steps you should take when measuring voltage.

  1. You need to power off the circuit. You do this in order to reduce the danger of a short circuit, especially when you are working on a three-phase system.
  2. Put the black probe lead into the socket labelled com on your multimeter
  3. Plug the red probe lead into the socket labelled V.In most multimeters, this socket is also marked with omega and diode symbols.
  4. Make sure your multimeter is connected in parallel with the load that you want to measure voltage.
  5. Touch the black probe against the first point you want to measure.
  6. Then you power the equipment.
  7. Touch the red probe against the second point that you want to measure.
  8. Then take the reading on the LCD display of your multimeter.

What causes low voltage in house wiring?

There are many things that can cause low voltage in your home. Below I have listed some reasons that can cause low voltage in your home.

  1. Overload on the utility service provider. This usually happens during peak hours when most people are using electricity.
  2. Poor wiring refers to the problem originating from within your house.
  3. Weak insulation happens mostly in old electrical installations if this is the cause of low voltage in your house you should rewire your house.
  4. Corrosion and rust in connection points
  5. Loose connections.

If you have any questions or comments do so in the comments section below.


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