How Does an Overhead Electrical Service Work On My Home?
When you look at your Edmonton or Sherwood Park home, you may notice wires running from the street to your roof. These wires are part of an overhead electrical service, which provides your home with electricity. Understanding how an overhead electrical service works can help you maintain and troubleshoot your electrical system.
What is an Overhead Electrical Service?
An overhead electrical service is a system of wires and equipment that delivers electricity from the utility company’s power lines to your home. The service consists of three primary components: the utility company’s power lines, the service drop, and the electrical service entrance.
The Utility Company’s Power Lines
The power lines that run along the street are owned and maintained by the utility company. These lines carry high-voltage electricity from the power plant to the various neighborhoods and homes in the area. The voltage is stepped down at local substations, which reduce the voltage to a level that can be safely delivered to homes and businesses.
The Service Drop
The service drop is the set of wires that connect the power lines to your home. The service drop typically runs from a utility pole to a point on your roof, where it connects to the electrical service entrance. The service drop consists of three wires: two hot wires and one neutral wire. The hot wires carry the electricity to your home, while the neutral wire provides a return path for the electricity.
The Electrical Service Entrance
The electrical service entrance is the point at which the electricity enters your home’s electrical system. The service entrance consists of a meter, which measures the amount of electricity your home uses, and the electrical panel, which distributes the electricity throughout your home. The electrical panel contains circuit breakers or fuses that protect the electrical system from overload and prevent electrical fires.
How Does an Overhead Electrical Service Work?
When you turn on a light switch or plug in an appliance, electricity flows through the wires in your home’s electrical system. Here’s how an overhead electrical service delivers that electricity to your home:
Step 1: Power is Generated
Electricity is generated at a power plant and is sent through high-voltage transmission lines to substations.
Step 2: Voltage is Stepped Down
At the substation, the voltage is stepped down to a lower level that can be safely delivered to homes and businesses.
Step 3: Electricity is Delivered to the Neighborhood
The lower-voltage electricity is sent through distribution lines that carry the electricity to the various neighborhoods in the area.
Step 4: Electricity is Delivered to the Home
The service drop, consisting of two hot wires and one neutral wire, connects the power lines to the electrical service entrance on the home. The electricity flows through the meter and into the electrical panel, which distributes the electricity throughout the home.
Step 5: Circuit Breakers or Fuses Protect the System
The circuit breakers or fuses in the electrical panel protect the electrical system from overload and prevent electrical fires. If the electrical system is overloaded, the circuit breaker trips or the fuse blows, cutting off the flow of electricity to the affected circuit.
Maintaining an Overhead Electrical Service
Maintaining an overhead electrical service is important to ensure that your home’s electrical system is safe and reliable. Here are some tips for maintaining your overhead electrical service:
1. Inspect the service drop regularly. Check for any damage, such as broken or loose wires, and ensure that the wires are not touching any tree branches or other objects.
2. Keep the area around the electrical service entrance clear. Do not store any items near the electrical panel or meter, and ensure that the area is easily accessible for electricians and utility workers.
3. Schedule regular electrical inspections. An electrician can inspect your home’s electrical system and identify any potential problems before they become serious.
4. Upgrade the electrical service if necessary.