Excerpts from CHAPTER 2

Planning Your Electrical Installation

THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER on standards and codes discussed the importance of following the National Electrical Code (NEC)® strictly in order to produce a safe wiring installation. This chapter outlines how careful planning will help you make it a convenient, efficient, and practical installation. Here you will find the characteristics of an adequate house wiring installation, the principles of good lighting, and NEC® requirements for locating lights, switches, and receptacles.

Consider Present and Future Needs

Plan your electrical installation so you will still be pleased with it in the years ahead. Do not skimp on the original installation. Adding outlets, receptacles, switches, fixtures, and circuits later usually costs several times more than it would to include them in the original job.

Look ahead to the equipment you are going to be using five or even fifteen years from now. Besides the basics of electric cooking, water heating, and air conditioning, consider items such as computers, entertainment centers, workshop and home business equipment, and even appliances not yet on the market. By installing large wires and extra circuits now you will have adequate wiring in the future. You will be making a good investment.

Install large service entrance All the power you use comes into the building through the service entrance wires and related equipment. Start your planning with a service entrance that will adequately handle present and future needs. Keep in mind that small service wires will not carry a large load satisfactorily. Chapter 8 contains a full discussion of the service entrance installation.

Benefit from larger circuit wires For house wiring, the minimum circuit wire size permitted by the NEC® is No. 14, protected by a 15-amp fuse or circuit breaker, except for door chimes and other low-voltage wiring described in Chapter 18. There is a trend toward using No. 12 wire, with 20-amp protection, and in a few localities it is required as a minimum. The larger wire means brighter lights, less power wasted in heating of wires, and less frequent blowing of fuses or tripping of breakers. The use of No. 12 wire in place of No. 14 adds very little to the cost of the installation and will prove a good investment. NEC® requirements for various types of circuits are discussed on pages 44-47. Special circuits requiring No. 12 wire are explained under "Special small appliance circuits" on pages 47-48.

The rest of the chapter covers

Location of lighting, switches, and outlet receptacles

  • Height from floor for switches and receptacles
  • NEC requirements for lighting and switches
  • NEC requirements for receptacles
  • Fixtures and receptacles room by room—dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, stairs, hallways and entrances, and basement.

    Choosing Lighting Fixtures

  • Lamps (light bulbs).
  • Types and efficiency.
  • Labeling.
  • Incandescent lighting.
  • Long life incandescent lamps.
  • Energy-efficient incandescent lamps.
  • Fluorescent lighting—brightness and whiteness, energy-efficient fluorescent lamps, operation
  • Lighting and Receptacles for Garages and Outbuildings.
  • Chapter 6.  Circuit Diagrams
    Chapter 13.  Modernizing Old Wiring
    Chapter 19.  Troubleshooting and Repairs


    Park Publishing, Inc.
    Softcover, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches, 256 pages, 228 illustrations
    44th edition, July 15, 2014
    ISBN 978-0979294556
    Price $14.95


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