What Does an Electrician Do?

Those who pursue this career need to complete a vocational or trade school program followed by a paid apprenticeship under a master electrician. The apprenticeship program combines classroom learning with hands-on work experience.

Electrician Fort Worth TX must follow local and national safety protocols when installing or repairing electrical wiring. They also adhere to industry regulations regarding the use of specific tools and materials.

Electrical wiring connects various accessories for the distribution of electricity from a supplier meter board to a variety of domestic appliances. Wiring is also a means of safeguarding the electrical supply in a home and protecting it from short circuits and other potential hazards. Wiring is a complex task that should only be performed by a certified electrician.

Before beginning any work, ensure that the power to the circuit you are working on is shut off at your home’s breaker panel. This will prevent the possibility of electrocuting yourself or having your work accidentally interrupted by an energized wire that causes a fire or other serious damage. In addition, make sure to inform yourself about electrical safety and how to properly use tools before you start rewiring outlets or switches.

It is important to understand that the colored “wires” you see around your house are actually sheathing that covers inner copper wires. The outer sheathing—which may be green, black, red, blue or white—has markings on it that let you know the number and gauge of wires inside. This helps you identify which wires carry power and which ones should be used with caution or left unconnected.

Typically, the red and black wires are live or hot wires that carry current to outlets, lights and other appliances. White or neutral wires return current to the power source, while the ground wire protects against short circuits and helps to prevent fires. Ideally, the grounding wire should be a different color from all other wires to distinguish it as such.

Insulated wires are typically run in one of several forms between devices, depending on the environment. This could be a specialized, bendable pipe called conduit or one of several varieties of metal (rigid steel or aluminium) or non-metallic tubing such as plastic. For large jobs, wires might be run in rectangular cross-section metal or PVC troughs with lids.

Before starting any work, draw up a wiring diagram to guide your progress and help you anticipate any problem areas such as tight spaces or possible wet spots. It is important to plan ahead for these situations because they may slow down your progress and lead to frustration or even an electrical failure if not handled properly.

Circuit Breakers

The electrical wires in your home and all of the outlets, switches and appliances plugged into them can only safely carry a certain amount of current. When the electricity running through them gets higher than it’s designed to handle, the circuit will heat up and potentially burn up. Electrical breakers prevent overheating by automatically switching off the power to a specific circuit when it reaches its limit. This is much safer than the older fuse box technology and saves you the hassle of having to replace a blown fuse.

There are several different types of breakers used by electricians, with each one serving a different purpose. The most common are single-pole circuit breakers, which monitor the current coming into a building or appliance and shut off when it reaches its limit. Single-pole breakers typically have an amperage rating of 15 or 20 amps, which is adequate for lighting and receptacles in bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms. Kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms are best served by the heavier-duty 20-amp breakers.

A single-pole breaker works by monitoring the current of a single energized wire and using its movable contacts to separate them when overcurrent is detected. This process usually uses mechanically stored energy, such as a spring or compressed air, to open the contact mechanism and stop the flow of electricity. The breaker can then be manually reset by flipping the lever back into place.

Another type of circuit breaker, often used in residential settings, is the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). GFCI breakers are required by electrical code in areas where moisture is more prevalent, such as in kitchens and bathrooms. They detect short circuits, which happen when a live wire comes into contact with something metal and creates a huge spike in current that can cause equipment damage or fire.

When a GFCI detects a problem, it will trip and immediately stop the flow of electricity to prevent injury or death. This type of breaker can also be reset, but it’s important to understand why it’s tripping so that you can fix the root cause. If you’re constantly resetting your breaker, it’s a good idea to have a licensed electrician troubleshoot the issue and determine what is causing it to trip so frequently.


There are several types of switches used by an electrician. The type a professional chooses depends on what the switch is used for and its form factor. The number of poles and throws a switch has also impacts its function.

Essentially, a switch is an electrical component that allows or blocks the flow of electricity. The electrical signal the switch receives is either a current or voltage. These signals can be either AC or DC, which means that the switch can be used with either alternating or direct currents.

The basic switch consists of two conductive pieces (typically metal) that touch to complete a circuit or separate to break one. These contact points are known as the switch terminals. They usually have a coating of corrosion resistant metal to prevent the formation of insulating oxide layers on them. They also need to be hard, mechanically strong and have a high degree of wear resistance. Other materials like conductive plastic may be used for some applications.

Most switches are designed to have a mechanism to hold the switch in the “on” position once it has been actuated by a human, animal or machine. This is done to reduce the risk of electric shock.

In addition to this, a switch can have an additional mechanism that cuts off the power when the switching process is interrupted. These are often called safety switches, and are useful when there is a risk of an electric shock or fire.

There are a variety of different kinds of switches in use, with each type having its own benefits and limitations. Some of the most common include:

SPST (Single Pole, Single Throw) Switches: This simplest kind of switch has one input line and a single output line. When the switch is open no electricity flows, but when it’s closed the contacts meet and power is directed to the load. This is the type of switch that most light fixtures use.

Three-Way Switches: These are used when a fixture is located in two different locations. They are typically installed in pairs, for example, at both ends of a hallway. They have a common or COM terminal that connects to the power source, and a set of traveling or traveler terminals. The COM terminal is always the darkest screw, and it’s important to mark these wires as hot so that they are not accidentally touched by someone working on the switches.

Electrical Panels

The electrical panel, also known as the load center, service panel, breaker box or panelboard, controls electricity from your utility company entering your house and then distributing it to all outlets, lights and appliances. It contains circuit breakers or fuses that protect the wiring and switches that turn the power on and off for each device. It may have a main switch that cuts off all power to the home or business and multiple other switches with different amperage ratings, each responsible for supplying electricity to different parts of the building.

In older homes, the electrical panel is sometimes called a fuse box. It often uses round, screw-in fuses that must be replaced when they burn out or overheat. Newer panels are likely to use circuit breakers instead. They are usually gray and have a front that opens to reveal many small switches. They are labelled to identify their amperage rating and which areas of the building they control.

There are different sizes of electrical panels found in homes, ranging from 100 to 400 amps. A homeowner should have an electrician determine the size of their home’s service and upgrade the panel if it isn’t large enough to handle their home’s power needs.

If a breaker in the electrical panel trips, it will cut off all power to that area of the building. If a breaker repeatedly trips, it can be a sign that the wiring in that area is overheating and dangerous.

An electrician will replace the tripped breaker and switch it on again. They will then test the system to make sure it works properly. They will also inspect the entire panel for signs of wear and tear, such as loose or cracked screws that can cause a short circuit, which will result in a fire. They will also make sure that the panel cover is always kept closed, as opening it can be dangerous since it exposes live mains wires that conduct power into and out of the box.