Creating a Residential Electrical Plan

An electrical plan is a plan view similar to the floor plan in that all the walls, doors, and windows are shown along with the electrical symbols that describe service to the house. It also includes what is known as a legend which defines what each symbol represents.

There are several considerations that have to be made when drawing an electrical plan for a house. They are as follows:

The Meter and Service Box

The electrical meter is always on the exterior of the home. This is the location where power enters the house into the circuit box. The circuit box is located no more than twelve feet away from where the power enters the homes. From this location electricity is distributed to the individual rooms. The circuit box is usually located in a service area of a home like the utility room or kitchen. If the home has a basement, this is usually the preferred location for it to be placed.

Light Fixtures, Light Switches, and Receptacles

Light fixtures are usually placed in the middle of a room to allow even lighting throughout. Sometimes these are included in special fixtures like ceiling fans. When a fixture is placed in a large closet, it is usually mounted so that it is at least three feet from where the clothing is hung to insure against a fire from its heat. Exterior lighting should be waterproof in some way to eliminate the possibility of electrical short.

The light switches almost always are mounted next to a room entrance for convenience. When switching an exterior light, these are usually located inside near the exterior lights location.

Receptacles, also known as outlets are usually spaced every six feet in a room. This is to make sure that electrical cords do not have to be stretched far from the appliance they are powering. Some times a homeowner requests that the top half of a receptacle be controlled by a light switch to make turning off lamps simpler. Exterior receptacles and those inside the house within six feet of a water source like a sink are ground fault interrupt. This is to eliminate possible shock if shorted by water.All of these are one hundred and twenty volt with a few exceptions and the amperage varies.

Smoke Detectors

These are required by code for fire safety. They must be located in each individual bedroom and also near each exit from the home. These are usually battery powered so that even if the power is out, they will still function.

Wiring Connections

These are usually drawn using an arched dashed line showing which switch controls what light or receptacle.

There are many more considerations like two twenty volt power for appliances such as the stove or electrical clothes dryer. You may also place special fixtures like phone jacks and cable tv connections on this plan.

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2 comments on “Creating a Residential Electrical Plan

  1. Mobey Duck says:

    This is exactly what I had been searching for. I went through your links Timothy and found you had written a course on drawing electrical plans. Why not link that site to your bio? I have it linked to my name and I’ve enrolled. Thank you for such a great resource.