Electrical Service is the system of pipes, wires and equipment that transfers power from the electric utility to your house. It is a vital component of your home and should be carefully maintained to ensure that it is working safely.
The main electrical service reaches your home through two 120-volt wires that offer a combined 240-volts of power (voltage is the measurement of electricity’s pressure or rate of flow). They can be delivered via overhead lines that enter a power mast on your property and pass down through an electric meter into your home or, as in newer homes, they are often buried underground which is known as a service lateral.
When the wires reach your home they connect to an electrical panel where the circuit breakers and other devices in the panel are connected. It is also where you will reset a breaker after a short or overload occurs. Newer homes may have AFCI’s in the panel to help prevent fire hazards caused by overheated or stressed circuit wiring and devices.
Overhead service lines must be kept clear of trees, limbs and debris. This is particularly important in areas that have frequent lightning strikes and wind storms. The rules for where and when it is safe to trim trees around power lines can vary from area to area and are best determined by a certified local arborist or electrical inspector.
The grounding and bonding of the electrical service is very important as well. When sizing the main service for a new home or when making significant electrical improvements, the size of appliances and the amount of usage should be taken into consideration.