Hey, everybody! It's Gwen from Gwenny Penny again. Back in April I was here sharing some tips on resourceful stain removal, and in June I shared some resourceful recipe substitutions. Today I’m back with yet another new topic. In a former life I was a mechanical engineer. When I was tossing around some possible topics for this month's post, Lorene immediately jumped on the idea of sharing some basic electrical knowledge. It's important to know what your breaker box does (hopefully you know where it is :) and how an electrical outlet and a light switch work. Are you ready?
|image source (and how cool is it that I found female electrician clip art?!?)|
What causes a tripped circuit breaker? The most common reason for a tripped circuit breaker is an overloaded circuit. This usually means that too many things are plugged into one electrical circuit. The circuit breaker switches off to protect the circuit from becoming overloaded.
How do I reset a tripped circuit breaker? You can easily reset a tripped circuit breaker. Look in your breaker box for a circuit breaker switch that has flipped off or is somewhere between on and off. If it is not already there, push the switch to the off position, then flip it to the on position. Power should be restored to the circuit. If the same circuit trips again, you should contact an electrician because there could be a problem.
Say you want to replace an outlet in the living room. You flip the circuit breaker for the living room. Now you need to make sure that there is no power going to the outlet. You just stick the two probes of the voltage tester into the outlet. If the lightbulb on the tester doesn't light up, there is no power going to the outlet. If the lightbulb lights up, you flipped the wrong circuit breaker and need to find the correct one. Houses can have weird wiring setups... code or no code, no two homes are wired the same. Your bathroom downstairs could be on the same circuit as your bedroom upstairs. I'll say it again... always test the circuit at the source before performing any electrical work!
|voltage tester... this one only costs $6!|
How does a light switch work? A light switch is like a gate for the electrical current passing through a circuit. When the switch is "on", the gate is closed and the electrical current is allowed to pass through the circuit. When the switch is "off", the gate is open and the electrical current can't pass through the circuit.
Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of electricity in your home. As always, but especially today, I should note that I am not a licensed electrician. I've done some basic wiring around the house and have some knowledge of electrical work, but everything you read here came from books I have read on wiring or basic electrical knowledge that I picked up through my introductory courses when I was getting my engineering degree. As I mentioned before, I have a mechanical engineering degree, not an electrical engineering degree. Please consult a licensed electrician for any electrical work that needs to be done in your home. That being said, I highly recommend the Home Depot book Wiring 1-2-3 if you are interested in learning more. There are some basic things that anyone can easily do, like replacing a light fixture or an outlet that accidentally gets painted over (not that I know anything about that :).
Please feel free to stop by Gwenny Penny anytime to say hello. I’d love to have you. I have really enjoyed being a part of the Housewife MacGyver series this year, Lorene. Thanks so much for letting me join in.
See what a smarty pants Gwen is? Thanks for sharing your smarts with us Gwen! I'll have to figure out some kind of award for your MacGyver awesomeness...
And thanks to all of you for reading! I've been a bit absent lately, but I have been working on lots of fun things to share... someday. We're doing the enjoy-summer-while-it-lasts dance (and enjoying it very much) but enjoying our summer means not spending as much time inside and on the computer. So, someday I'll share all the awesomeness that's been going on around here. :) I hope you all are enjoying your summer!
Housewife MacGyver series on just Lu. Read more about Housewife MacGyver and see all the posts in the series here.