DIY Network

Getting Wired: Planning an Electrical System

Blueprint for Home Building host Jeff Wilson discusses the importance of planning the wiring in your home.

More in Electrical

draw up electrical plot with builder and architect

The first step to getting your electrical system up and running in your new home is planning how everything will fit together. Adding power to your house is a vital part of the home building process, and how much you will need depends upon many factors.

It's important that you, as the homeowner, understand the usage of electricity in your house. How you plan your electrical system will eventually determine how much electricity you'll need to supply to your new home; therefore, it's crucial you take the time to plan a system that will fulfill all of your electrical needs.

Just some of the things you'll need to consider during the planning stages of your electrical system include the following:

  • The number of outlets you'll want in every room of the house and where they should be located.
  • What type of lights you'll want in each room.
  • What special concerns -- such as an electrical water heater, a home stereo system, television hookups, and your washer and dryer -- will you have.

All of these factors will determine the amount of power needed in your new home. The first person with whom you should discuss these electrical needs is your architect. He or she can get a good idea of your electrical needs during the initial design phase.

Next you should talk with your builder to let him or her know the needs for your electrical system. Your builder's hands-on experience will often be able to identify and correct any oversights while still in the planning stage. So be sure to plan early, sit down with both your architect and builder and draw up your electrical needs.

The third member of your home building team -- along with your architect and builder -- you should involve in the planning stages of your electrical stages of your electrical system is your electrical contractor, who is a professional used by general contractors to wire homes and commercial buildings.

Before your new home is built, it's important to sit down with the electrical contractor and go over the specific needs of your electrical system.

As you may have guessed, there are many problems that may occur if you don't properly plan your electrical system. The most common of these will be a home without enough power to safely run its appliances, but there's a larger and potentially more dangerous problem -- overloading your electrical system.

You can avoid most common problems with your electrical system by communicating your needs with your architect, builder and electrical contractor ahead of time. Once you've spoken with your building team about your home's power needs, they'll begin to design an electrical system that will work for you.

Constructive Advice: During the planning phase of your home, consider how advancing technologies will affect your future electrical needs. Things such as cable television, hookups, phone installations, fiber optic cabling systems should be discussed during conversations with your electrical contractor.