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Power and my home, 3 tips to get your smart home running

By September 9, 2022 No Comments
Power and my home, 3 tips to get your smart home running

Maintaining a safe and functional electrical system in your home is crucial.  A homeowner should always make sure their electrical system within the house is safe for everything they need to power.  The most important step you will take is consulting a qualified electrician to assess your power situation.


Smart Wiring

Welcome to the world of “smart” everything!  We are talking appliances, devices and gadgets that require the internet, cars that have such technological advances they can be charged within your home.  Residential homes have a wide range of wiring hidden behind their walls. But for most homes built in the last 60 years, the bulk of the wiring has been consistent: one live/hot, one neutral, and one ground/earth wire.


Residential Power

In order for the house to have power, several circuits need to be completed. If you know where your electrical panel is, take a look at how many circuit breakers there are. Each breaker represents a part of your home that is receiving power, such as a master bedroom, dining room, kitchen, and anywhere else that is getting electricity.


Here is where our friend the circuit comes in.  A circuit is a loop that starts by sending electricity out to all of the outlets, light switches, and other fixtures for a given room. However, to complete the circuit, the flow of power needs to be brought back to the breaker. If this flow is interrupted, the entire circuit is shut down.


A live wire sends the power out and a neutral wire brings it back. And some would say the safety wire of the bunch, the ground wire, is in place to absorb any surges along the line. In most cases, the live wire is covered in black sheathing, the neutral in white sheathing, and the ground is left bare or has a green sheathing.


All three wires are the same material, but the different colors help to differentiate between the three down the line. Imagine trying to keep the wires straight through a junction box, four or five outlets, and a light fixture/switch!  All three wires are all encased in another sheathing that acts as protection and keeps the wires together.


That’s important as the wire is run throughout the home, along joists, through wall studs, and in and out of junction boxes. If you’ve ever seen a remodel or new build taking place, you’ll see just how much wiring is involved to make sure you can microwave popcorn on movie night.

While you could run one circuit throughout the entire house, that would be entirely too much load for one breaker. That’s why there are so many breakers in the panel, each designed for a particular part of the house. A dedicated dryer line will use a 30 AMP breaker while a circuit to the den may be 20.


Panel Needs

So, when you start to introduce new technology, bigger and better appliances tend to require more.  As a homeowner you need to make sure your panel can handle everything you want to accomplish in your home.  Do you have an electric car that you want to charge in your garage within your residential home?  Well, as a qualified residential electrician our team of experts at Northern Electrical will be able to assess your situation.  There are several things we will look at:

  • Check that your service(the power coming from the street to your home) will support the charging system of the car.

  • Depending on the type of car you have, you may need to install a separate electrical panel if there is not enough room in the existing one.

  • We want to make sure it is grounded!


Wires also come in different sizes (gauges) and it’s important that the appropriate wires are used in the correct breakers.  A wire to connect a car charger is going to look alot different than one to power a blender.  If a home owner tries to plug something in that is not wired correctly you will cause damage to the panel itself and could cause major damage to your home.  In most cases, however, the wires throughout the house are the same gauge.


While residential electrical wiring does have some differentiation it’s always best to consult your local experts at Northern Electrical to assess your residential home’s electrical needs!