Any electrical repair in your home involves first turning off the power to the circuit to be worked on at the main electrical service panel. The service panel, or breaker box, is a steel box with a hinge or lift-up door; it receives incoming power from the utility company and distributes it to each of the circuits that supply the various lights, appliances, and devices throughout your home. This box should be conveniently located within the house where it can be easily accessed if you need to get to it.
Inside the box, each circuit breaker is controlled with a lever that can be manually set to the ON or OFF position. This lever automatically moves to the third position between ON and OFF if a circuit breaker overloads and trips. Breakers should be labeled with stickers to identify the main area or appliance served by the breaker’s circuit. Everything but the incoming utility power can be shut off and turned on at the main service panel.
Circuit wiring should always match the circuit breaker or fuse it is attached to, meaning the breaker or fuse amperage should never exceed the rating of the wire.
Aluminum wiring is much softer than copper, and connections often loosen up with the heat. Loose connections can lead to electrical fires in homes. So be sure that all neutral, ground and hot connections are tight. To do these connection tests, you will need to turn off the breakers one at a time as you tighten the hot feed wire connections.
Remember – dabbling with electricity can be very dangerous. So if you have even the slightest reservation, you may want to call in a professional electrician to help you.