We're Open & Here For You! Important Coronavirus Information - Click Here to Learn More

How Do Electrical Systems Work?

Electrician fixing electrical panel in residence

Electrical systems distribute electricity throughout the home so we can use it for light and for powering up our appliances. Electricity is provided by a local utility company and arrives at your house via a power line or conduit.

Parts & Uses of Home Electrical System

These are the main parts of your home’s electrical system:

The main panel

The main panel serves as the central distribution point from which the electrical circuits connect to the lights, appliances, and outlets around the house. It is usually found under or near the meter.

The main panel also disconnects from the power source so that if there’s an emergency, you can quickly turn off the flow of electricity into your home.

The circuit

The electrical system circuit features a hot wire (usually black) that connects the main panel to the lights, outlets, and appliances, and a neutral wire (usually white) that runs back to the main panel.

There’s also a grounding wire that returns to the main panel and is connected to a ground rod affixed to the earth outside the house. The ground diverts electricity from any hot wires that short circuit. Its purpose is to prevent electric shock.

The subpanels

Subpanels are connected to the main panel and are scattered around the house, providing power to parts of the house where there are large appliances or numerous circuits. They are typically found in laundry rooms, kitchens, and garages. Subpanels are equipped with their own set of circuit breakers.

Aside from these main parts, an electrical system also consists of an electrical meter, a weatherproof disconnect, electrical boxes, switches, and outlets.