Wiring a new home requires strict adherence to electrical safety standards and the observation of national and local building codes. Because the risk of an electrical fire from faulty wiring is high, some areas do not allow an unlicensed homeowner to wire his own house. In this case, you may still be able to wire your home if you do so under the direction of a licensed electrician. In other areas, especially in rural locations, you are free to wire your house. Make sure you have the authority to do so before you begin.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Breaker box
- Outlet, switch and fixture boxes
- Rolled wire (various thickness)
- Electrician’s tools
- Drill with 1-inch bit
- Carpenter’s hand tools
Design a wiring diagram or hire an electrician to draw one for you after you’ve obtained clearance to wire your home and you’ve acquired a copy of your local building code for wiring. A wiring diagram shows the location of the breaker box and the path of the wires to each outlet.
Attach the outlet, switch and fixture boxes to the studs. This is the first step in wiring, and it takes place after you frame the walls but before you install insulation. Check local code for the minimum amount of space between electrical sockets. In general, the more outlets you have, the safer your home.
Determine how many outlets and switches will run on one circuit. Again, local code controls this in most areas, but normally, six outlets per a 110-voltage circuit are allowable in a living area, while as few as two per circuit are the standard in a kitchen, where appliances use more wattage.
Have an electrician check your diagram if you’re drawing it yourself.
Drill holes with a 1-inch bit in the middle of the studs where your wires will travel.
Set your breaker box in an area where you can easily access it in the future. An unfinished location in a basement or a utility room is desirable. Choose the correct amperage for your breaker box, usually 200 amps for a midsized home.
Place the roll of wire next to the breaker box and begin pulling the wire according to your diagram to the closest outlet or switch for each circuit. Be aware that certain appliances--refrigerator, microwave, oven and furnace--are equipped with a 220-volt outlet and require corresponding wire. Check with an electrician if you have any questions.
Cut the wire after it extends through your first outlet on each circuit. Leave a few inches to work with later. Start a new wire from that outlet to the next one on your diagram. Repeat this process with every switch and outlet, following your diagram carefully.
Use wire strippers to remove the outer plastic coating from the ends of the wires and attach them, according to the instructions on the box, at each outlet, fixture or switch.
Purchase and install the individual circuits for each wiring set. These must match the amperage of the wire and the intended purpose of the outlet. Err on the side of caution if you are unsure about a specific circuit and install one with a higher load capacity for safety.
Run your nonelectrical wires--such as cable, television or phone--after the electrical wires are in place.
Tips and warnings
- Refer to individual diagrams to wire three-way switches. These diagrams come in the box.
- Don’t attempt to wire your own home unless you have a working knowledge of electrical circuits. At the very least, consult a licensed electrician to oversee the job and to review your diagram.
- Never splice wires between junction boxes. The biggest cause of fire from faulty wiring occurs with splicing mistakes. If you run short of wire in a wall, pull the entire piece out and use a new piece that is long enough to reach the junction box.
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