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Connecting Your New Build to the Mains – All You Need to Know

In the United States, power distribution and electrical wiring for residential units and commercial establishment are carried out in strict compliance with the National Electrical Code or NEC.

There are amendments and supplements to the code that vary from state to state. If you need to connect your new build to the mains, you have to know the regulations for your area and get a reliable company who can provide you with power generation, transmission, and power distribution solutions that will meet your specific needs.

We can’t all be electrical engineers, but knowing the basics of residential wiring can help you understand how electrical wiring works. Here are some of the basics you need to know.

power distribution

Follow the code

The National Electrical Code offers a comprehensive list of the regulations that must be followed when it comes to electrical wiring. The code contains conventions for the design and installation of wiring systems in homes, commercial establishments, buildings, and other settings that make use of electrical power.

It lays down rules for calculating circuit loading, which utilities require dedicated circuits, the colors used for wiring, and even the size of electrical boxes and the number of wiring devices contained therein.

Electrical wiring makes use of different wires, insulated and identified by color. The assigned colors for each type are identified in the NEC. These include the following:

  • Neutral wire – identified by white or gray insulation
  • Phase wire – wires in a circuit may have red, black, and orange insulation
  • Grounding wire – usually insulated in green. This wire is used to bond metallic systems such as piping, water, and natural gas to the building grounding system

The electrical grid

Electricity makes its way from generating stations or power plants to cities and suburbs through large, high-voltage transmission lines. It then passes through demand centers or substations that lower the voltage to make it safe for home use. The electric power travels through distribution lines or power line cables that have a lower voltage. It enters a house through an electricity meter and the circuit board or meter box that contains the circuit breakers.

The circuit breakers are the ones that divert the electrical power along small wires that are laid out behind the walls. These wires form different circuits and deliver power to the wall outlets and switches. It is important not to overload circuits, so if you have major appliances such as air conditioners that draw more power, it’s best if you allot them their own circuit.

Fuses and circuit breakers

These devices work by blocking an incoming power surge over a certain safety limit automatically. A fuse will melt and render the circuit it supplies power to unusable until the fuse is replaced. The blown fuse must be replaced while the circuit breaker is switched off. The number of circuits installed in the house depends on the size of your home and the kinds of appliances you have or planning to install.

Connecting your new build—whether it is a house, apartment building, or business complex to the mains is no easy task and may be problematic if not done correctly. Getting service providers with expertise on the electrical grid is crucial, especially for large structures that may need their own electrical substations. Different structures have different electrical needs, so make sure you consult a professional.