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Power from the two 120-volt lines may be combined at the service panel to supply current to large 240-volt appliances like clothes dryers or electric water heaters. Incoming power passes through an electric meter that measures power consumption. Power then enters the service panel, where it is distributed to circuits that run throughout the house. The service panel also contains fuses or circuit breakers that shut off power to the individual circuits in the event of a short circuit or an overload.
The following pages show how to work with the following components for your projects. Hand tools you’ll need for home wiring projects include: Stud finder/laser level (A) for locating framing members and aligning electrical boxes; Tape measure (B); Cable ripper (C) for scoring NM sheathing; Standard (D) and Phillips (E) screwdrivers; Utility knife (F); Side cutters (G) for cutting wires; Channel-type pliers (H) for general gripping and crimping; Linesman pliers (I) combine side cutter and gripping jaws; Needlenose pliers (J); Wire strippers (K) for removing insulation from conductors.
Usually covered with white or light gray insulation. Also called the grounded wire. Non-metallic sheathed cable: NM cable consists of two or more insulated conductors and, in most cases, a bare ground wire housed in a durable PVC casing. Outlet: See receptacle. Overload: A demand for more current than the circuit wires or electrical device was designed to carry. Usually causes a fuse to blow or a circuit breaker to trip. Pigtail: A short wire used to connect two or more circuit wires to a single screw terminal.