Lights, computers, coffee makers, microwave ovens, payment processing, wireless phones: We all depend on electricity every day we live and work. We also rely on skilled electricians to install, repair and maintain the systems that deliver the power for our daily needs and objectives.
As certified specialists in electrical service for residential, commercial and industrial customers as well as for new construction, Trinity Electrical Services has developed the knowledge and skill that only years of training and hands-on application can provide. In addition to serving our customers in Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, Yorkville or Plainfield, we enjoy informing them about how electricity works and how it serves them.
An informed consumer is a wise and prepared one, so today we’ll review a few items of relevance for residential, commercial, industrial and new construction customers.
Electrical Service: Residential
It’s good to know how responsibility for electrical service is allocated for residential consumers. The utility company manages the line portion of the service, which includes everything up to the home’s connection point. Everything beyond that point is considered the load side, which is the homeowner’s responsibility.
After passing through the meter, your electrical service feeds into your home’s main service panel (also referred to as the breaker box). The service panel then contains a main breaker that controls different circuit breakers for different branch circuits in the house.
As electricity enters the home on the load side, the wiring includes a few different types.
- Non-metallic cable (referred to as Romex): The most typical circuit wiring, it is made for use in dry, protected areas that are not vulnerable to excessive heat or mechanical damage (e.g. on the sides of joists, inside stud walls).
- Bx cable (also known as armored cable): Wires run inside a flexible steel or aluminum sheath that is somewhat damage-resistant. It is common where wiring is exposed, as it can be for appliances such as dishwashers and garbage disposals.
- Conduit: Inflexible plastic or metal tubing protects individual insulated wires. You’ll often see it used in sheds, garages and outdoor applications where wiring cannot or should not be exposed.
Wires that run inside non-metallic cable, Bx cable or conduit are sized by a gauge number according to each circuit’s amperage. The lower the gauge, the larger the wire, and the more current it can handle (e.g. 12-gauge wiring for 20-amp circuits is heavier than the 14-gauge wiring for 15-amp circuits).
Electrical Service: Commercial & Industrial
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity consumption in the U.S. in 2020 was about 3.8 trillion kilowatt hours (kWh). (As a matter of scale, that amount was 13 times greater than the electricity used in 1950.) Together, the commercial and industrial sectors accounted for about 60% of that use.
On the commercial side, electricity for lighting has often been the greatest expense; however, LED bulbs and high-efficiency lighting equipment have been contributing to a downward trend. The EIA’s compiled data show that the largest share of energy consumption is shifting toward computers and office equipment.
The industrial sector uses electricity to operate machine drives (motors), lights, computers and office equipment, and equipment for facility heating, cooling and ventilation. Some industries, such as steel manufacturing, use electricity for process heat, while others such as food processing use it to cool, freeze and refrigerate food.
In 2020, manufacturers accounted for about 77% of total annual industrial sector electricity purchases, followed by mining (10%), agriculture (8%) and construction (5%). Machine drives were the largest use of electricity by U.S. manufacturers.
Electrical Service: New Construction
If someone is building a house with new construction in Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, Yorkville or Plainfield, it’s common to plan for just about everything from where pictures will be hung to where chairs and tables will go to what windows will be facing the sun.
What we might not consider among all of that, however, is where the electrical outlets will go. We do quickly think about that when it’s time to plug things in where we want them but we can’t. We also find that adding outlets after new construction is finished calls for cutting new holes and running more wires and tying them to a circuit (ideally an existing one or a new one has to be provided). This can all add up to more expense than we would have had if we’d had it worked out from the start.
It’s not always easy to figure out where the outlets should go when all you see are studs and the house frame. What you can do is study the builder’s electrical drawings, which will show where the switches and outlets will go. Rearranging some of them might take the electrician a little longer, and you may have to pay extra, but it will typically be less than if you do it later, and you’ll have outlets where you want them from the start.
- Other things to consider for new construction can include planning ahead for:
- lighting scheme (e.g. track lights, wall washes, hanging lamps; dimmers, sensors, light switches)
- exterior lighting, such as for Christmas lights
- outside wiring, such as for a whirlpool tub
- wiring for special features (e.g. theater room)
- extra cable and phone capacity
Professional Electrical Services for the Fox Valley
Trinity Electrical Services serves Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, Yorkville and Plainfield with licensed, bonded and insured electrical work for residential, commercial, industrial and new construction customers. In addition to providing the electrical solutions you need, we are here to make you an even smarter consumer of electricity. For answers to your questions, simply give us a call at (630) 499-1492.
We also provide skilled residential, commercial, industrial and new construction electrical service for local communities such as Montgomery, Sugar Grove, Geneva, Batavia, Sandwich, Plano and North Aurora.
Trinity Electrical Services is Master Electrician certified.
24-hour emergency service and 1-hour emergency response time are available.