Poor electrical wiring is a dangerous situation. Bad wiring can not only lead to injury, but fires and even death. Working with electricity is a serious undertaking. Even home wiring, were the majority of wires carry a lower voltage than commercial buildings; must be handled with respect and attention to detail. Electricity is literally a life or death situation.
Besides safety and building/electrical regulations, you should become familiar with three basic components of home wiring. Those three components are the service entry, panel board and branch circuits.
The service entry is the point where the main electrical service line, from the main grid, enters your home. While you routinely check this area for any problems, the service entry is high voltage and should only be worked on by a qualified electrician.
The panel board, also called the breaker box, is the central hub of your home’s electrical wiring. No matter what the job, from installing a new light switch to wiring in a new appliance, the panel board is where you can ‘flip the breaker’ and make sure the electrical current is off in the area that you are working.
Branch circuits are the different areas that are controlled by specific breakers in the panel board. The existence of panel boards and branch circuits allows the electricity to be turned off in certain areas and still be on in others.
The majority of home improvement jobs can be handled by the do-it-yourselfer, but when it comes to electricity, there is a fine line that determines when the professionals should be called in. Any time you are dealing with main power or running new electrical lines, it is time to call the pros. Not only do these types of additions need to be in compliance with safety and electrical codes, but the safety risk is too high to do this job yourself. Certified electricians are trained not only in the codes but in how to safely handle electricity and install/replace equipment as needed the correct way. While hiring an electrician may be the more expensive what to get an electrical job done, it is also the safest way and will allow you to sleep well knowing the job was done right and with safety in mind.