What is meant by recreation room?

The recreation room is a utility room where different electrical equipment is installed. The recreation room forms the major electrical utility room that powers the entire building. The recreation room is responsible for electricity distribution to building premises. Hence, it is majorly known as the electrical room. The wiring of the different parts of the building runs down to the electrical room. Many buildings house an electrical room which is proportional to the size of the building accompanied by sub-electrical rooms. Apart from power distribution, the electrical room is also responsible for establishing communications and housing communication equipment.

This is the back of an antique electrical room, operational at a US plant as of 2014. All conducting busbars are open and operators must be careful not to touch them.
CC BY-SA 4.0 | Image credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | Ichudov

The construction of an electrical room depends on the type of equipment to be installed such as transformers which require strong reinforced concrete floors, walls, and ceilings, and these are made up of adequate strength materials to sustain the weight of support systems of thick electrical wires and cables. Walls are also made up of good refractory materials which can sustain repeated stress cycles due to thermal gradients caused by heating and cooling of the equipment. Additional ventilation must be provided in order to remove toxic fumes liberated due to equipment functioning.

Compared to small electrical rooms, large electrical rooms have provisions for earthing and enclosure features for the equipment to prevent electrical shocks. Besides these, an electromagnetic shield is created inside the electrical room for preventing any outside electric interferences.

In this article, a basic introduction has been provided regarding the electrical room and its different equipment have been outlined.

Different components of an electrical recreation room

The different components of an electrical recreation room are outlined below:

Electrical switchboards

The electrical switchboards are used to distribute the current from various sources to different smaller load circuits. The switchboards are electrical panels with installed switching devices. This ensures protection and efficient circuit controls. There are two sections in an electrical switchboard, they are the main section and the distribution section.

Distribution boards

A distribution board divides the electrical power towards different electrical circuits with an enclosure and circuit breaker for each circuit. Other devices such as main switch, residual current devices, residual current breakers with overcurrent protection are also present.

Circuit breakers

Circuit breakers are electrical devices that are designed to protect an electrical circuit from over current or short circuit. The basic function of circuit breakers is to stop the electricity flow whenever a higher current than the safe rated current is detected by the circuit breaker. Unlike a fuse, a circuit breaker can be used multiple times.

Electricity meter

These are the devices that measure the amount of electrical energy consumed by a premise or a building. These are generally used for billing and monitoring purposes.


Transformers are the devices that are used to either increase or decrease voltages. They work on the principle of electromagnetic induction. The high voltage from the transmission lines is converted to a suitable voltage rating which can be used by the building.

Electrical busbars

Busbars are metallic bars or plates that are used for high-power transmissions. These are generally not insulated to allow the cooling of conductors.

Backup battery

A backup battery provides power to a system when the primary source of power is not present. These are large batteries whose primary job is to provide an uninterrupted power supply.

Fire alarm control panel

A fire control panel monitors and controls the entire fire extinguishing system of a building. Fire alarms, sensors, sprinklers, and so on are wired to the fire alarm control panel.

Distribution frame

A distribution frame is a housing or channel for laying out connecting wires. It also provides channels and spaces for other cables.

Regulation for constructing an electrical room

The construction of an electrical room is standardized by building codes and electrical codes. Some of the standard procedures for constructing an electrical room are outlined below:

  • The electrical room must be secured and restricted to permit the entry of unauthorized people. An unskilled person has a high risk of getting electrical shocks or initiating a fire hazard in the building.
  • A quick exit should be mandatory in an electrical room to permit rapid escape in case of electrical and fire hazards.
  • Electrical rooms equipped with oil-filled devices should have an active and efficient fire control system and other common equipment such as fire extinguishers.
  • Since electrical rooms deal with high current ratings, fire-resistant cables of high thickness should be extensively used to prevent a fire hazard.
  • For large electrical rooms with transformers and generators, proper ventilation is extremely necessary to prevent explosions due to flammable fumes liberated by these devices.

Lightning protection system

As the electrical room deals with high current electrical systems with high voltages, it acts as an attractive source of lightning. A lightning strike at such a place may lead to a severe explosion. To avoid it, an efficient lightning protection system must be installed. Lighting protection works by intercepting the strikes and passing the spark safely to the ground.

The lightning protection system consists of a network of air terminals, bonding conductors, and electrodes for grounding purposes. These systems as a whole provide a low impedance path for the strike and safely grounds the electricity suppressing the heating effects.

Context and Applications

This topic is widely taught in many graduate and postgraduate degree courses of:

  • Bachelors in Technology (Electrical Engineering)
  • Bachelors in Technology (Electrical and Electronics Engineering)
  • Masters in Technology (Electrical Engineering)

Practice Problems

Q1. Which of the following components is/are the component of a lightning protection system?

  1. Bonding conductors
  2. Air terminals
  3. Circuit breakers
  4. Both a and b

Answer: Option d

Explanation: The bonding conductors, air terminals, and grounding electrodes form the primary component of a lighting system. These components provide a low impedance path to the current suppressing the heating effect.

Q2. Which of the following is a component of an electrical room?

  1. Backup battery
  2. Mechanical turbines
  3. Electricity grid
  4. None of these

Answer: Option a

Explanation: A backup battery is used to power the electrical room in case of failure of the primary source. They provide an uninterrupted power supply to the electrical room and its components.

Q3. What is the purpose of circuit breakers?

  1. To stop the current flow
  2. To stop the fire from spreading
  3. To initiate short circuit alarm
  4. For cooling purposes

Answer: Option a

Explanation: Unlike electrical fuses, the circuit breakers contain switches that are triggered off when an overcurrent is detected in the circuit. Thus, they stop the current flow.

Q4. What is the function of transformers?

  1. To increase voltage
  2. To decrease voltage
  3. For both increasing and decreasing voltage
  4. None of these

Answer: Option c

Explanation: A transformer works by the principle of mutual conduction. These devices are meant to increase or decrease voltage based on needs. In an electrical room, a transformer decreases the voltage coming from the substation in a voltage rating which can be used for consumption.

Q5. What is an electrical meter?

  1. They are used to measure charge.
  2. They are used to measure electrical fields.
  3. They are used to measure the amount of electricity consumed.
  4. Both b and c.

Answer: Option c

Explanation: An electric meter maps the amount of electricity consumed by the building. The meter rates the consumed electricity in kWh (kilowatt hour).

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