Homeownership 101: Key Electrical Components of a Home

One of the most important aspects of homeownership, is maintaining the safety of your house. Some of the main elements of home maintenance involves all the electrical systems.

Here’s a list of the key electrical components of your home, and some tips for maintenance of the systems:

  • Electrical panel: the first thing to know, is where your electrical panel is and how to turn your breakers on and off. When a breaker is tripped, it will be in the middle position, and to reset it you’ll need to turn it fully to the off position then back on. If a breaker does not reset, you’ll have to contact an electrician. One more tip: keep one metre of space in front of your electrical panel, and never store anything inside it.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: know the location of all your safety alarms, and have the manuals as well. Be sure to replace your detector batteries twice a year, your detector usually beeps when new batteries are required. A life span is indicated on your alarms, but generally speaking, replace smoke ones every 10 years and carbon monoxide every five years.
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI): these circuits include outlets located within two metres of sinks, showers and bathtubs; outdoor outlets within three metres of finished grade; switches within one metre of showers and tubs and hot tubs and jetted tubs. Important to understand what these circuits are, if they trip frequently it’s likely because of faulty cords.
  • Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI): these circuits include every outlet inside and outside the home and garage, except the kitchen fridge, kitchen counter, kitchen island and sump pump. Important to understand what these circuits are, if they trip frequently it’s likely because of faulty cords.
  • Light fixtures: the only thing to remember with lights, is never exceed the manufacturer’s bulb wattage listed right on the lightbulb.
  • Furnace: understand where the disconnect switch or breaker for furnace is located on the electrical panel.

Looking for more information on the key components of your home? The City of Calgary has a great online resource for home maintenance.