home electrical system

Understanding your Home Electrical System

Have you ever wondered how electricity from the power network gets into your home electrical system? Well, it’s not magic, but pretty close with modern technology.

The power supply from your power company, comes into your home either via an underground cable or a power line.  These are known as service lines.

Meter Box

The service line then connects to a meter box on the side of your home.  This meter box then measures how much electricity is being used, so that the Power Supply company you are with, knows how much to charge you for power.

Many homes now have smart meters – that communicate directly with the power company.  This records the flow of energy in both directions, so if you had solar energy – you could sell back to the grid.


The switchboard is where the power gets distributed around the house. The service line comes in from the street via the meter box and then on to the switchboard. From there, it then gets distributed throughout your house in smaller circuits that are then protected by circuit breakers/fuses/RCD’s. The switchboard serves as the main junction point that provides protection for all of your internal wiring.

Four Must have Devices in your Home Electrical System

  1. Circuit breakers – the purpose of a circuit breaker is to protect your wiring under fault condition or when current is drawing more than the rated circuit breaker.
  2. RCD – Residual Current Device – is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as cutting through a live wire behind a wall.
  3. Arc Fault Protection – A new addition to electrical home safety devices is the Arc Fault Protection device. These soon to be compulsory devices are effective at protecting your home and family in the event of an unknown short circuit by being able to accurately detect electric arcs that regular circuit breakers are simply incapable of detecting.
  4. Surge Protection -A surge protection device will act to protect all of your electrical appliances in the event of a sudden and unexpected electrical surge due to a lightning strike, power surge, voltage spike or extreme weather.

Many older properties do not have all of these protective devices installed and, sometimes, they only require you to install when additional work is undertaken.  AB Electrical would be happy to review and advise you on your options and obligations.  Insurance companies are asking prospective homeowners for confirmation of electrical wiring status, and AB Electrical is happy to help either a prospective buyer or a homeowner who is thinking of selling.  Feel free to contact AB Electrical on 0800 688 244.