Electrical system in Visual Studio .NET

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146 Electrical system
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Fig. 12-1. Two-wire inlet service provides 110 volts.
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Before going into the house, look to see if any tree branches overhang or hit the inlet service wires. They should be pruned. Otherwise, the wire s outer insulation can be worn away, exposing the electrically hot conductors. This could be potentially dangerous if that section of conductors is within reach, as from an upper-level porch. While looking at the inlet service wires, check to see if they are securely fastened to the house and whether there are any frayed sections of the outer insulation. In many communities, the inlet service wire (from the attachment to the house to the electrical meter) is the responsibility of the homeowner, not the utility company. Service-entry wires that are badly frayed should be replaced because they can eventually result in a hazardous condition. The inlet service wires, whether they are overhead or underground, terminate at the electrical meter, which can be mounted on the exterior or interior of the structure. The wires then run from the meter to a panel box, sometimes called the service switch. The panel box is basically a distribution center. The branch circuits throughout the house terminate in this box. See FIG. 12-3 for a generalized residential wiring diagram.
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Electrical capacity
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The unit of electrical power is called a watt. Watts are equivalent to volts times amps (W = V A). The electrical service that I have found in houses and the corresponding equivalent power capacity is shown in TABLE 12-1. In older houses, unless the electrical service has been upgraded, you are likely to find 30 and 60 amps at 110 or 110/220 volts. Any service less than 60 amps at 110/220 volts is considered inadequate. Homeowners with such electrical service might indicate that they have lived in the house for twenty or thirty years and have found the service totally Electrical capacity 147
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Fig. 12-2. Three-wire inlet service provides 110/220 volts.
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Kitchen Meter Kitchen clock Main switch Fan Range Dishwasher Dining room
100- to 200-amp main service panel with master disconnect Ground wire Switches at head of basement stairs
Basement lights & outlets Oil burner
Central air conditioner Fig. 12-3. Generalized wiring diagram for a residential structure.
148 Electrical system
Table 12-1. Power capacity. Amps
30 30 60 60 100 150 200
110 110/220 110 110/220 110/220 110/220 110/220
3,300 6,600 6,600 13,200 22,000 33,000 44,000
Inadequate Inadequate Inadequate Marginal (small house only; no major appliances) Minimum Good Very good
Table 12-2. Power requirements of appliances. Appliance
Attic fan Central air conditioning Clothes dryer Dishwasher Forced-air furnace (electric heat) Freezer Garbage disposal Hand iron Instant hot water dispenser Lamp (each bulb) Microwave oven Range, electric Portable room heater Room air conditioner Sauna Steam bath generator Television (color) Water heater
Power requirement (watts)
400 6,000 4,500 1,500 28,000 575 900 1,000 1,000 25 150 500 8,000 1,600 1,100 8,000 7,500 150 450 2,500 4,500
acceptable. That might be true for them because they have adjusted to the lower electrical capacity by not using any major electrical appliances. Nevertheless, if you buy a house with low electrical service, you will probably have to upgrade the service after you move in. The capacity of the electrical service should be great enough to satisfy the power requirements of the various electrical appliances to be used. Table 12-2 shows some typical electrical appliances and their associated power requirements.
Considering the many electrical appliances that are available to the homeowner, the minimum electrical service is 100 amps at 110/220 volts. However, if the house is small and the intention is not to use many electrical appliances, 60 amps at 110/220 volts will probably suffice. When a house is equipped with an electric water heater, electric range, electric clothes dryer, and a central air-conditioning system, it should have at least 150-amp service. If electric heat is used in addition to the above appliances, the house should have 200-amp service.
Electrical capacity 149
Fuses and circuit breakers
The panel box contains either circuit breakers or fuses to protect individual branch circuits from an overload. Overloaded circuits are one of the chief causes of home electrical fires, and proper protection of branch circuits is essential. Figure 12-4 shows a circuit-breaker panel box, and FIG. 12-5 shows a fuse panel box. Circuit breakers are more convenient than fuses. Once they have been tripped, they can be reset like a switch, whereas once a fuse has blown, it must be replaced. On the other hand, circuit breakers are somewhat less reliable than fuses. Circuit breakers have been known to freeze in the on position and should be manually tripped periodically to ensure operational integrity. Is the panel box a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) service panel There have been numerous reports questioning the safety of this panel box and its Stab Lok circuit breakers. Some of the breakers have failed to shut off, or trip, in
response to an overload and arcing has occurred in the panel box. As a safety precaution, replacing the panel box is recommended. It is important that the capacity of a fuse be matched with the current-carrying capacity of a branch circuit. When a fuse has been blown, it must be replaced by a new fuse with the same current-carrying capacity. Too often, a homeowner replaces a 15-amp fuse with a 20or 30-amp fuse, not realizing that all three are physically but not electrically interchangeable. In this case, if there is an overload on that branch circuit, the fuse will not blow, but the wires will become excessively hot and possibly cause a fire. This type of problem can be circumvented by replacing the fuse with a Fustat. (See FIG. 12-6.) A Fustat is basically a fuse with an adapter that fits into the fuse holder in the panel box. Once the adapter is inserted, it usually cannot be removed. The adapters are sized so that they accept only fuses of a specific current capacity and are not interchangeable.
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