Electrical Components – Best Brands to Use
How Your Electrical System Works
This section of the Electricians Texas website covers various brands of electrical components like breakers, outlets, and wiring.
Most homeowners will limit electrical repairs to changing out a light switch or outlet, replacing a worn circuit breaker or perhaps rewiring an electrical device like a garden well pump or old lamp in need of a new electrical cord.
The most important thing to remember when doing these repairs, aside from general safety precautions when dealing with electricity, is to make sure you use the proper replacement parts.
Take a light switch for example. Most people would just run up to the hardware store and by a new switch. Many would determine what switch to buy based on price.
However, you need to make sure you get the proper switch for the job. What is the amp rating? Does your house have copper or aluminum wiring? Is it a standard switch or 3-way switch?
And what about replacing a breaker in your electrical panel? Do you know what type and brand to replace it with? You need to see who manufactured the panel and then use that manufacturer’s breaker.
In Buffalo, the most popular breaker manufacturers are: Square D, General Electric, Federal Pacific, Thomas and Betts, and Westinghouse. Here is a great website where you can type in information on your existing circuit panel box and it will tell you what breaker to order:http://www.baybreakers.com/catalog/
When it comes to wiring, the most important consideration is to use the proper gauge. Wiring comes in different sizes depending on the circuit amp requirements and number of wires, or conductors. So, if you have a wire in your home that feeds a standard electrical outlet, it will have two conductors… the black wire which is the hot leg, and the white wire which is the neutral leg. It will also have a ground wire but this is not considered a conductor so is not used to label the wire.
Depending on how much current flows through the wire, it will be rated by size and the electrical industry uses a set of numbers to indicate this size like, #8 gauge or #12 gauge. They combine the wire size with the number of conductors and name the wire like that. So, a typical circuit might have a wire labeled, 10-2.
This means it is 10 gauge and has 2 conductors. It is absolutely vital to choose the right size wire for the amp draw of a circuit or appliance. If you are replacing the power cord for an appliance that is rated at 10 amps, would you know what size wire to use?
Here is a great site that has a chart for all the amp draws and wire sizes to use for those draws:http://www.encorewire.com/docs/amp%20voltage.pdf
So, do your homework and get the proper components and make sure they are rated for your electrical requirements. You will be glad you did and can rest easy knowing you have done the job right!