Electrical 101 For The Homeowner

Dive into the basics—become the master of your home’s electrical domain.

The other day, we got to thinkin’: If we were to put together a sort of Electrical 101 for the Homeowner, what would it look like? What subjects would it cover? What would we consider to be the essential, fascinating facts about electricity and electricians that everyone should know?

It wouldn’t be a How-To type of blog. It would be more of a What-Is-It? or Did-You-Know? type of blog — the kind that provides a brief overview of some common electrical topics.

In other words, it would be an Electrical 101 for the Homeowner along with some Fascinating Facts About Electricity!

Sound good? Let’s get right to it.

Electrical 101: 5 Fascinating Facts About Electricity

No. 1

Electricity travels fast! Electricity and light are forms of electromagnetic radiation. In a vacuum, they both travel at the same speed — the speed of light (about 186,000 miles per second)!

However, the electricity in your home is limited by the wiring and infrastructure through which it travels. (You may vacuum your home, but your home is no vacuum.) As it courses through your household electrical wiring, the flow of electricity is going anywhere from 50% to 90% of the speed of light.

From the breaker box (service panel) to your electrical devices, light switches, light fixtures, and water heater — and back again. An electrical circuit lickety-split.

No. 2

The earliest electrical instructors were fish. Yes — fish. Ancient texts from as early as the third millennium BCE referenced the shocks people felt from electric fish. People were often encouraged to touch electric fish — and thereby be rendered numb — to relieve symptoms of pain.

Later, cultures across the Mediterranean (circa 600 BCE) performed experiments with electricity, including static electricity.

No. 3

Sources of electricity are varied. It’s created at power stations, nuclear reactors, and from the wind, sun, and water (hydro). We can even generate electricity from animal waste!

Next time you see those metal boxes (transformers) near your home or office, take a minute to think about where that electricity originates.

No. 4

Worldwide electrical consumption. China consumes more electricity than any other nation — by a wide margin. The United States is second in electricity consumption — but it consumes more energy per capita than China.

No. 5

Wires, wires, everywhere! Your home or office is filled with electrical wires: hot wires, ground wires, black wires, white wires, neutral wires — plus, of course, wire connectors, circuit breakers, and so much more. A lot goes into delivering electricity consistently and reliably.

If you need electrical work done on your home’s electrical system or electrical service performed on your worksite, please contact Prairie Electric. We look forward to partnering with you!

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