Home Wiring Basics FAQs

From volts to amps, get the lowdown on home wiring basics.

What are some home wiring basics that you should know? Read on for the answers to a few FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

Hopefully, this basic information will provide a short, fun, and informative look into electricity, electrical currents, and the electrical infrastructure that courses through your home or office.

Your electrical system works behind the scenes delivering a reliable supply of power for all your appliances, electronic equipment, heating systems, water heaters, and so much more.

It’s only on those rare occasions when something goes wrong that an electrician has to peel away the outer layers to take a peek and a poke inside.

Sometimes trouble arises from small things, such as a tripped circuit breaker box (service panel), or bigger things, such as wiring problems.

Please note: Electrical work on housing wiring (or any electrical wiring, electrical circuits, etc.) should only be done by an electrician. The FAQs below are provided to readers of our blog for informational purposes only.

On a related note: If you think you have a problem with your electric meter, which measures the amount of electricity your home or office consumes each billing period, contact your utility company right away. It’s rare for something to go wrong with these meters, but it’s fine to ask the power company to check it for you.

Contact Prairie Electric with any questions about our services.

Now, on with the FAQs!

Where does all that electrical wiring go?

If you’re wondering about how to know where an electrical wire goes, you’re in for quite a long story. That’s because the average home has hundreds if not thousands of feet of electrical wiring. You need all that wiring to power everything from tiny light fixtures to enormous refrigerators and air conditioning units.

But it’s good to know where all that wiring runs in case you’re interested in doing some home repairs or remodeling projects. Stud finders, cable detectors, and voltage detectors can help you locate the wiring in your home or office space. Keep in mind that these tools may not detect voltage if the wire has been shielded.

In the most basic terms, the wiring leads from the electrical outlet to the breaker box. The wiring in the breaker box leads directly to the electrical meter outside. This, in turn, leads to the transformer and ultimately back to the source: the power company.

This isn’t quite Your Electrical System A to Z, but for our purposes here, it should suffice.

What are some basics of household wiring?

We covered most of this in the first FAQ above, but there are a few more details that will help paint a more complete picture.

Basic No. 1: Your local electric company supplies electricity to your home or business via service cables. These can be either above or below ground. These connect to the building through your electric meter.

Basic No. 2: Your home or business’ electricity also passes through the service panel (also known as the breaker box, circuit box, fuse box, fuse panel, etc.). So-called hot wires connect to lugs within the service panel. Another wire — the neutral wire — completes the circuit after it flows through the building.

Basic No. 3: Circuit breakers within the service panel include those that power small things like lighting and big things like washing machines. The main breaker controls them all.

Basic No. 4: It’s all color-coded. Hot wires are black or red. Neutral wires are white. Green (or bare copper) wires are ground wires or ground faults. You’ll also see yellow and blue wires in some complex arrangements; they’re hot, too.

What goes into the cost of rewiring a house?

The cost of rewiring a house can vary a great deal. When you connect wires in a building, the costs are in large part determined by square footage, job complexity, labor, and materials. For example, HomeAdvisor.com reports that the average cost to wire a home is $1,322.

“While the project can run as little as $125 and as much as $4,300,” they write, “wiring or rewiring typically falls between $537 and $2,107.”

You’ll need to speak with an electrician to determine your specific needs.

Prairie Electric is happy to help!

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