ELECTRICAL HARDWARE INTRODUCTION
--- Part Category: Introduction ---
Electrical Home Repair Hardware Section
Complete reference, encyclopedia and consumer guide
for do-it-yourself, diy, homeowners and building contractors
From The Illustrated Hardware Book by Tom Philbin
Descriptions and explanations of about 500 common store items including electrical and plumbing materials for home improvement, repair, remodeling, construction, house projects with little known how-to tips and information

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ELECTRICAL HARDWARE INTRODUCTION

To have a better understanding of electrical products, it's a good idea to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how electricity works.

In essence, it must travel in a loop. The loop starts at the power source where electricity is generated, then pushed along wires (the "push" is called volts or voltage) in a quantity called amps or amperage, and then through the wires in your house, where it is divided into circuits at the fuse box or circuit breaker box. The electricity travels along circuit(s) inside the house, passing through the receptacle or plugged-in electrical devices, then heads back to the power station to complete the loop. If the circuit isn't completed, nothing works. How many volts and amps are used depends on the particular device. A toaster, say, might use 6 amps, a dishwasher, 12.

For safety, most major electrical items in the house are grounded. This is a separate circuit to the ground. If there is an electrical malfunction, the errant electricity will follow the metal path established to take the current harmlessly into the ground rather than into your body.

All devices you buy will have the voltage and the wattage or amperage stamped on them.

Wattage, or watts, measures power usage, which may o{ten be calculated by multiplying amps used by voltage used. For example, if a device is 6 amps and 110 volts, then it uses 660 watts.

UL stamp seal, electrical 
hardware

Finally, all electrical products should have the UL stamp on them. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratory, an independent testing organization that tests products for safeness. The UL label doesn't mean that a product is high quality, just that it has passed minimum, that is, reasonable safety standards. Then it is considered "listed."



ELECTRICAL HOME HARDWARE SECTION
Description of Contents

Introduction
Boxes
Circuit Breakers
Conduit
Cord Sets
Fuses
Lamp Parts
Light Fixtures
Plugs
Receptacles
Switches
Taps
Wall Plates
Wire

OTHER HARDWARE SECTIONS
GENERAL HARDWARE SECTION
PLUMBING
ADHESIVES, PATCHES & MORE
SAFETY


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The Illustrated Hardware Book
Content Copyright © by Tom Philbin 1992
Originally Published As Part Of the Consumer Reports Homeowner's Library
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