DIY: Electrical Wiring Plans for a Residence

Written by hugh patterson
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DIY: Electrical Wiring Plans for a Residence
A well designed electrical system eliminates the need for extention cords and loose wiring throughout the structure. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

One of the most important components of residential planning is the wiring layout. A good wiring plan takes into account current and future electrical needs. A professional electrical engineer can be employed to create a residential wiring plan at great expense to a homeowner. However, homeowners can save money by designing the initial wiring plan themselves.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Local building codes
  • Graph paper
  • Pencils

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  1. 1

    Determine current and future electrical needs. Individuals purchase homes with the future in mind. An extra bedroom may become a nursery at some point in the future. If a family member is going to start a home-based business, any potential electrical needs should be considered in the plan. As a family grows, so do their electrical needs.

    DIY: Electrical Wiring Plans for a Residence
    Always include future electrical needs into a design. (Jupiterimages /Polka Dot/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Acquire local building codes. Knowing these codes is absolutely necessary. When wiring is installed, it is checked by a building inspector to ensure it is up to code. A building inspector will approve the work only if all local and state codes are met. To acquire a copy of your local building codes, go online to your state's Building Standards Commission. On the website will be a link for the state's electrical codes. Click on the link and download the codes.

    DIY: Electrical Wiring Plans for a Residence
    Building codes, once available only in book form, can now be downloaded in PDF form. ( Images)
  3. 3

    Draw a layout of the structure. Create a drawing and include doors and windows. Use graph paper to draw the structure to scale. Each square on a sheet of graph paper is ¼ inch in length and width. Using the graph paper will allow each ¼-inch square to equal a 1-foot square. If a room is 10 feet long, it will be represented by 10 ¼-inch squares or a line 2½ inches long.

    DIY: Electrical Wiring Plans for a Residence
    Graph paper allows a designer to create a drawing to scale. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  4. 4

    Determine the electrical needs of each room. Each room has different uses, which means differences in power usage and socket types. A laundry room uses 240 rather than 120 voltage. In a laundry room, the wall sockets need to be designed for use with a washer and dryer. In a room that serves as the multimedia centre, additional wall sockets will be needed to accommodate electronics equipment.

  5. 5

    Incorporate structural issues into the design. If a room has a fireplace, any wiring in that room needs to be kept away from the fireplace. The same holds true for plumbing and masonry. Work around structural issues.

    DIY: Electrical Wiring Plans for a Residence
    Avoid placing wiring too close to structures that will cause problems with the electrical system, such as a fireplace. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  6. 6

    Place the circuit breaker panel in an easy-to-access location. When the power goes out, it usually means a breaker has been tripped. Place the circuit breaker in a location that is easy to reach in case of an emergency.

    DIY: Electrical Wiring Plans for a Residence
    Locate the circuit breakers so that they are easily accessible. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  7. 7

    Calculate the number of electrical devices being used in the structure. Make a list of all the equipment being used. If a room is going to be used as a home office, include a DSL line and an extra wall outlet.

Tips and warnings

  • If using specialised heating and cooling systems, include them in the overall design.

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