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
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
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.
Lamps (light bulbs).
Types and efficiency.
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
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Softcover, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches, 256 pages, 228 illustrations
44th edition, July 15, 2014
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