House wiring is defined as any wiring or electrical system used in a home or its surrounding areas. The wiring process is fairly time consuming and requires planning for the varying power needs of electronics and appliances. In a home, the wiring system includes outlets, the main panel and meter base, and it is essential that all pieces are installed and function together properly to keep the home safe. With this in mind, hiring a professional is usually best to ensure that the process is completed safely and to code.
A wiring diagram is an essential tool for beginning electricians. This guide outlines the wiring process and provides information about control panels and where all elements of the electrical system will be placed. These diagrams are available from a variety of online sites and from do-it-yourself wiring books. A good guide will include illustrations with information on wire color and specifics on where each wire should end up upon completion of the project. Guides that are printed from an online source should have type that is legible and easy to read quickly in case a problem arises. This guide should be kept nearby throughout the project.
It is important to become familiar with local building requirements, particularly when it comes to electrical service equipment. This includes placement of the main panel, meter base and conductors, each of which must be wired with the appropriate voltage for the space. More voltage is often required for the kitchen, as it is home to several heavy-duty appliances. It is essential that main panels be supplied with a minimum clearance that is 30 inches wide and 36 inches deep, which leaves room for repairs if a problem occurs. The National Electrical Code also dictates that enclosed spaces, including closets and bathrooms, are not appropriate spots for main panels.
Proper outlet spacing is an essential part of proper wiring and function of the home. Local building codes dictate the spacing between outlets, as well as the type of outlet required for different appliances. Certain appliances, particularly the dishwasher and refrigerator, require more voltage than other parts of the home and should be run with larger gauge wire. In the kitchen, all countertops and any area designated for eating must be equipped with a style of outlet designed to prevent shocks and electrocution.
Wiring a residence requires the use of three different colors of wire in addition to a bare ground wire. The bare wire serves as the ground and doesn't transfer any power. This is the wire that will trip the circuit breaker in the event of a short circuit and eliminate any electrical current moving to the device. Both black and red wires are called "hot" wires in the industry and carry current from the breaker to the appliance. White wires hold current taking the opposite path, from the appliance to the breaker and are called "returns." A 14-2 gauge wire is the minimum in most areas, but 12-2 is preferable. This is a thicker gauge wire that will handle more power, which means reduced chance of tripping a circuit. This additional power is an ideal choice for homes that have many appliances or electrical devices that will that run simultaneously.