When dealing with any electrical appliance or wiring in the home, it is important to know what kind of electricity you are dealing with. The main power in your house is potentially deadly and you should always consider consulting a professional if you are not confident with your knowledge of electricity.
In the U.S., the mains power is three phase at a voltage of 120V at a frequency of 60Hz. This is a lower voltage and higher frequency than almost all of Europe, Australasia and South America. This means you should only be using appliances rated and approved for use in the United States.
You should never be dealing with any wiring which comes from the power lines on the street, before it enters your fuse box (otherwise known as a service panel or circuit breaker box). This is something which should only be done by a trained professional as it can be very dangerous. You should always switch off the circuit breaker for the section of the house you are working in to avoid electrocution. Also, ensure you do not use a metal ladder when working with electricity in the home. In the U.S., there are three colored wires in your house:
- Black wire
- White/silver wire
- Green wire
The black wire carries the phase power which is in conjunction with the white neutral wire that takes the power to your appliances. The green wire is the ground wire - it provides a safe path for the electricity to take if there is a short circuit or the system is overloaded.
Smaller appliances in your house such as microwaves, toasters and hair dryers use only one phase. Larger items which draw more current such as clothes dryers and hot water systems require two phase power (higher voltage). The size of your fuse box was calculated when the building was being designed and any large additions to the power consumption of your home may put extra strain on the circuit breakers.
If you are planning any large additions, you should consult an electrician or electrical engineer to determine if the box needs to be resized. We are experts in the field. Contact us today at 410-276-3420 for a free quote!