From the Ground Up: Electrical Wiring
Whenever we flip a switch, plug in an appliance, or adjust a reading light, we interact with the electrical system in a house. A good electrician can make those interactions easier in a hundred little ways, so it’s best to communicate your needs early—ideally after the house is framed and before the drywall or insulation goes up
who has wired many This Old House TV projects, takes his customers on a job-site walk-through, showing where he plans to put switches, lights, and receptacles. “I’ll even ask them if they’re left-handed or right-handed,” he says. “It makes a big difference when you’re looking for the light switch.” It’s easy to make changes at this point in the process, but once the walls are closed in, any second thoughts become far more difficult and expensive to implement.
starts wiring a house, virtually every aspect of his work is controlled by codes, both local and national. These codes are the final word on safe installation practices. Gallant is meticulous in adhering to them, yet he often goes a step further to make his electrical systems even safer and easier to use. On the following pages, you’ll see the basics of wiring a house to meet code
Outlet Boxes: Plastic or Metal?
When given a choice between installing outlet boxes made of blue PVC or those made of steel, chooses plastic. “People say metal is so durable. But so is plastic—it’ll be around forever—and it’s about 70 percent cheaper.” Plastic boxes also save installation time because there’s no need to ground each one, as must be done with metal. (Local code has the last word, however; in some communities, plastic boxes are forbidden.)
Receptacles: Massachusetts requires electrical outlets every 12 feet; puts one every 8 feet. “Not a big deal on the budget, but it’s a lot more convenient.”
Security lights: For added safety, mounts exterior floodlights controlled by a switch in the master bedroom.
Light fixtures: always hard-wires at least one light fixture to a switch. If the switch just controls the receptacle that a lamp is plugged into, “sooner or later someone turns off the lamp, and then the switch won’t work,” he says. “It’s a pain.
Outdoor receptacles: The code mandates two (with GFCI); installs at least three, in front and in back.
How are electrics installed?
Electrical installations in homes are carried out by licensed electrical contractors. They typically involve first a series of designs, establishing where things like lighting and power outlets will be positioned, as well as where large appliances like rangehoods, exhaust fans, air conditioners, stoves and the like will be installed. All of the decisions around where electricity needs to go will focus on how the home will be used – both to begin with, and in the future.
These designs are normally carried out by an electrical planner, and it’s crucial that they be completed early in the build, to ensure that no further changes are required once things are in place. Revisions to the electrical plan once walls have gone in can significantly add to the cost of your electrical installation.
A typical electrical installation
Have a look at the diagram – that will explain the basic layout. The electrical supply comes into the home from a pole transformer or from a line passing the house with a pole transformer somewhere along the street – or your house may be in a streetscape where the electricity comes in from underground cabling. A service fuse connects the supply to the switchboard / switch box with its power meter and main switch. From there, power is routed to the individual circuit breakers and safety switches for the different light and power circuits in your home.
the basis of electrical installations
Power comes in on two wires; the active and the neutral. Electrical current flows from the power generators, through power lines lines to the suburbs and into your place via the ‘active conductor’ wire, and flows back into the grid via the ‘neutral’ wire.
the basis of electrical safety
By rights, were you to touch a neutral wire connection point (please – do not actually do this!), you would not receive a shock because there are so many earthing points for the neutral, and you yourself are earthed. A safety switch, mentioned above, monitors if there’s any leakage of electrical current to earth in the circuits it is wired to protect (normally power point circuits).
ELECTRICAL TIPS BLOG
ELECTRICAL DON’TS FOR YOUR HOME
Whether your home is new or old, there could be things wrong with the electrical work that you are unaware of. Oftentimes, these issues are never noticed until someone gets hurt or a fire occurs. It?s important to have an inspection of your home?s electrical system by one
1. LOOSE OUTLET OR SWITCH
Sometimes new homes are built so quickly that adequate care is not taken to secure the outlets properly. Besides being an eyesore, they can be dangerous. Wires can move around and come loose from the terminals, causing them to overheat and potentially catch fire. You can buy plastic spacers to tighten the connection or place small washers around the screws.
2. CUTTING ELECTRICAL WIRES TOO SHORT
Wires that are too short provide a poor electrical connection. More importantly, they can be dangerous. Wires should stick out at least three inches from the electrical box. If you have wires that are too short, you can buy wire connectors that will extend the wires. These are available at home improvement and hardware stores.
3. EXPOSED COMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL FROM RECESSED ELECTRICAL BOXES
If an electrical box is behind combustible material like wood paneling, sparks or heat from the wires can cause a fire. You can fix the problem by adding a plastic or metal box extension. This is another problem that many people may not notice themselves, but an experienced residential electrical service provider can find and easy fix.
4. INSTALLING A THREE-SLOT RECEPTACLE WITHOUT A GROUND WIRE
Many people choose to replace a two-slot outlet with a three-slot one so that they can use three-pronged plug in them. That seems simple enough. However, the outlet has to be grounded in order to do that. To find out if your outlet is grounded before installing a three-slot one, you can purchase a tester. If you find an ungrounded three-slot outlet in your home, just replace it with a two-slot one.
5. TOO MANY WIRES IN AN ELECTRICAL BOX
This can cause wires to short-circuit and can be a fire hazard. You can purchase a larger box. These come in plastic and steel. It requires some calculations involving the number of wires and clamps and knowing what gauge wire you have.
What Is a Safety Switch, and Why Do I Need One?
A safety switch is an essential component of ensuring your safety when using electronic devices. However, not all homes have safety switches installed on the circuit breakers, potentially putting their families and homes at risk of electric shock, electrical fires and other complications.
Though a safety switch is a component of a circuit breaker and can often be used in tandem with a surge diverter, these three things are not all the same. Here’s what you need to know about what distinguishes safety switches and why they are so important.
Just about every home is equipped with a circuit breaker. You may find it in your garage or in a closet somewhere in your home. The circuit breaker shuts down the power to a specific room or area of your home when a disturbance in the power is detected. This can often occur when an individual power point becomes overloaded if you have too many appliances plugged into it or a wire short-circuits. While circuit breakers can be incredibly helpful in preventing electrical hazards, they can’t prevent everything, so you’ll need to put additional protections in place to maximise your safety.
A Safety Switch Takes Your Protection to the Next Level
A safety switch goes beyond the capabilities of circuit breakers and surge diverters, giving you the highest possible level of protection. The safety switch attaches to your circuit breaker and serves as an additional layer of protection. When the safety switch detects any fluctuations in the electrical current, it will automatically shut off your power.
How to Test a Safety Switch
Having a safety switch installed in your home is a great way to maximise your family’s safety, but it won’t do you any good if it isn’t working properly. Because of this, you’ll want to test your safety switch periodically to ensure everything is working as it should so that it is ready to go when you need it most. However, you don’t want to create an unsafe scenario just to find out if your safety switch really is working.
Installation of Electric
Control options: wall switch, remote control and/or automated wind sensor
Primrose electrical awnings give you maximum flexibility and choice, while at the same time being easy and cheap to install. When you purchase your awning you can have an indoor wall switch only or a indoor wall switch with remote controls. You can also buy an optional wind, sun and rain sensor to go with the remote control kit. The following summarises how the wiring works for each option.
The reason the cable coming from the awning is 4 core cable is because this allows for two separate electrical circuits – one circuit for opening the awning and one for retracting it. This 4 core cable wires directly into the wall switch. A standard 3 core mains cable comes out of the wall switch to your mains. You can simply attach a standard 13 amp plug to this mains cable, or it can be wired directly into your mains.
The 4 core cable from the awning must be connected to the wall switch, which you fix to the wall. You then run the standard mains cable from the wall switch to an indoor mains socket. This is a relatively simple thing to do and should not need an electrician. It is our understanding that in general this is not notifiable under Part P of the Building Regulations.
Alternatively you can wire the indoor wall switch directly into the mains. You may wish to use a professional electrician to do this. If you do the work yourself it may be notifiable under Part P of the Building Regulations; if in doubt it would be prudent to check by telephoning your local building regulations authority.
have 2.4 metres of what is known as 4 core cable coming out of them. The cable contains two separate circuits – one circuit for opening the awning and one for retracting it. The 4 core cable from the awning must be wired into the receiver box. You then run a standard mains cable from the receiver box to a mains socket. This is a relatively simple thing to do and should not need an electrician.