The basics of house wiring involve creating electrical circuits that provide alternating current to outlets, fixtures and appliances. The majority of residential homes utilize single phased power producing 120 or 240 volts of alternating current. Various building codes and regulations exist to reduce the risk of safety hazards improper wiring may create.
Single phased power utilizes two hot wires and one neutral. While the neutral wire is always used in connections, those made with only a single hot wire produce the lower voltages suitable for most small electrical devices and fixtures. Wiring both hot wires provides the higher output needed to power major household appliances, such as ranges and water heaters.
The first step to wiring a house or performing electrical repairs is to disconnect power to the circuit at the panel. Using a non-contact voltage tester ensures that no current is flowing through the wires during installation or repairs. Basic house wiring begins with the main service panel. The service panel interrupts various electrical circuits that run throughout a house, and it operates in the same manner as a light switch. Wiring a house requires the installation of a variety of different electrical circuits, including outlet, lighting, room, 240 volt and arc fault circuits.