Planning for Your Electrical Needs



Article_ScottTip electrical


In order to make any changes or additions to your home’s electrical plan you will need a permit, and in order to get that permit, you will need to present a detailed electrical plan to the city. (Note – permits must be taken out by the party who is doing the work, which is one reason why you need a licensed electrician).

While it’s certainly possible to make an electrical plan yourself, you’ll need to be vigilant about adhering to local building codes. In most cases it’s best to have your contractor or designer handle this part of the job directly with the electrician. That said, whether you’re making the plan yourself or working with a professional, it’s best to have a very good idea of your electrical wants and needs. Even if you’re hiring a contractor, he or she will need to know what your requirements are and what kind of lighting you want.



How to Plan for Your Electrical Needs

Walk around the room and determine where you will want to place light fixtures and electrical appliances. Think about things like television placement and cable lines, whether you’ll have any audio requirements, work zones, and so on. Thinking of putting in a treadmill or other large piece of power equipment? You may want to consider a dedicated circuit for that because they take a lot of power – same thing for washers and dryers. And don’t forget about appliances like microwaves, air conditioners, furnaces, and water heaters (if applicable in your home). It’s also important to think about not just where you want the lights and appliances, but where you want the switches and outlets.


Breaker Panels

As  electricity is fed to your house from the utility company, it passes through the meter, then the supply system, then through your breaker box. As electricity enters the box, the lines are broken into separate circuits that are connected to fuses. The fuses help to protect the system from overloads. Once you know what your electrical needs are you (and your electrician) will decide what size breaker panel you need.

Breaker Panel


Types of Outlets

There are several different types of outlets to consider.



Outlet Placement Tips


Where you put outlets will depend on the specific needs of your home, but keep these tips in mind:


What is a 3-way Switch?

3 way switches allow you to control light from two different areas.  While regular switches have two connections and either cuts the flow of electricity or allows it to pass through, a 3-way switch has three connections that are used in tandem. Instead of cutting off the flow of electricity it channels it to one connector or the other. This is particularly helpful in rooms that have two entry points, or stairwells where you can have one switch at the top and one at the bottom.

Let your contractor and/or electrician know exactly what you want and he or she will determine the best ways to make your wants and needs fit with the proper building and electrical codes.

Once the electrician has done all the electrical work he or she will need to arrange for an inspection right away. The inspector will make sure everything is done to code, and if not he or she will issue a notice that will outline the deficiencies and corrections that need to be made. Once it’s all done the permit can be closed and you can move on to the next step.

Did You Know 4

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Don’t forget about decorating. Just because the contractor’s done it doesn’t mean your job is over. You still need to buy furniture, window treatments and accessories. Make sure you’ve included these in the budget.