There are many different kinds of outlets. Within the confines of your house, you may find four or five different styles out outlets. In some areas of the house, near sinks and in basements and garages you may see GFCI’s. Behind the dryer and stove, you will see another kind of plug-in.

What actually lurks behind the cover plate on your outlet? Let’s talk about a very basic three-prong grounded outlet, found in most areas of the home or office. Remember if you decide to go hands-on, turn the power off.

The easiest way to find the correct breaker and kill the power is to plug a lamp or radio into the outlet. The radio works great if you are working alone, as you will hear when the power is off. As you switch breakers off and on, you will find the one that kills the device. Mark the panel so you know which one it is next time.
If you remove the cover and outlet, you will find three wires: black (hot), white (neutral), and green (ground). Note that the black wire is terminated under the gold screw, the white is under the silver screw, and the green screw gets the green wire. This is to assure correct polarity.  If you have one set of wires, this is the end receptacle on a circuit. However, in most cases, there will also be a set of wires leaving to power another outlet in the circuit.

You may find that the wires are “pigtailed,” or they may be pushed into the back of the outlet or screwed under the appropriate color screw. There are several methods of wiring a receptacle and any of these may be used.

Those large outlets that power your stove and dryer are 220V outlets, and those will be powered with 2 hots, a black and a red. You will also have white and green. These items will have their own breaker in the panel, and the breaker will be a 2 pole with two connected breakers. This is to assure that if one side of the breaker trips, it will shut off both sides for safety. These 220V appliances are generally stoves, dryers, air conditioners, and furnaces.

Understanding the basics of your electrical wiring is important. You should be able to go to the panel and find the appropriate breaker to shut off your power if an outlet is broken or worn. Of all the systems in a home or business, electrical wiring is the least understood by the majority of homeowners. Trusting your wiring to Professional’s skilled electricians will put you at ease. Give us a call.

If you are in need of any residential or commercial electrical services in Baldwin County or Mobile, Alabama look no further than Professional Electric! Visit us online at www.ProfessionalElectric.biz and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! We are available 24/7 for emergency services!
Mobile: (251) 473-5788
Baldwin County: (251) 929-8957

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