Residential Wiring - The Right Way!
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Home Electrical Design
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Home builders, and trades people associated with home building will build homes to meet min, standards and min. code requirements, practicality wise they often lack the needs of today.
Things you must consider when placing outlets to meet realistic needs and reduce the need for extension cords.
In the left pictures above which has an outline of part of the first floor (actual my first floor)...
1. On the left living room wall had a central vacuum port, now the potential here is that either a sofa or an entertainment center will be on that wall making that central vac port not accessible, I had to install another Central vac port beside the basement door, which had no electrical outlet which I also had to add.
2. That short wall between the basement door and the stairs going upstairs - builder put no outlet, there is enough room here for a desk even a computer, telephone jack should have also been put here.
3. Wall to right of inside garage door - no outlet, I believe there should be one here, potential electrical usage here such as an aquarium tank.
4. The corner wall behind the 1/2 bath and upstairs staircase, no outlet, I think there should be one.
In the Kitchen pictures which is my proposed kitchen renovations later this year...
1. needs a
a) left of sink
b) right of sink
c) right of cooking range
d) above counter on opposite wall
Needs a wall outlet near the table set, on the long empty wall going towards patio doors.
Plus the specialized circuits serving the kitchen appliances and laundry.
The point I am really trying to stress is that quite often builders do not install enough outlets and leave some areas under serviced, this can lead to additional extension cord usage - read the article
You may even be tempted to run wires under a rug or go over a doorway just to supply electrical power to an unserved area on the other side of the door.
Today's demand for electricity in an average family home not just in loads but in the number of items in use, it is not uncommon to have several computer systems in the same home, family preferences can vary where the builder had installed a cablevision connection and electrical outlet may not be the ideal location for your preferred room layout. If the electrical outlet coverage was better there should rarely be a need for extension cords which lessens the risk of related dangers and fires. I would rather have too many electrical outlets than too few.
Builders also only put the min. number of circuits than can pass code, I found some instances where I would have preferred additional circuits and there was plenty of space on the panel, it was just cheaper to go with fewer but still meet code.
If buying a new home, and you have decided which model, go through it and look for under served electrical outlet areas, also check where the central vac ruff in locations are, and do they meet your needs and is there any electrical outlets in areas separated by doors or staircases.
In the case of a central vac ruff in port, there really should be no cost in relocating it if you request it before construction begins. For electrical outlets they may charge a certain amount per additional outlet, however you have far more bargaining power before you commit and sign when you may be able to some things for free, later after you sign they will make you pay whatever the rate is for additions or changes.
Telephone jack placement do the same thing. Remember if you change the location for a central vac port you must also have an electrical outlet close by.
On an off topic note:
Builders often put 15 year rated roof singles on the house, it may be a consideration to have 25 year rated singles installed the price may not be much more and the labour is the same.
If you wanted to upgrade the furnace or add air conditioning again the labour is the same, you pay the difference between the one the builder was going to install and the one your want.
Now if a first time home buyer you likely can just barely get approved as it is without adding more, but it is still worth asking.
By: Donald Kerr
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