Home Electrical Installation
Electrical installation is one of the most important elements in every house. Although it remains rather hidden from the eyes of the household members on a daily basis, its proper execution has a great impact on the comfort of the apartment. At the same time, it is worthwhile to plan the course of cables and the arrangement of sockets – so that they are perfectly suited to our needs.
Planning the electrical installation. How to help professionals?
The most noticeable elements of electrical installation are sockets and lighting switches. In many new apartments from the developer their number remains limited to the necessary minimum. Therefore, when buying an apartment from the primary market, we have to take into account the possibility of rebuilding the apartment also in this respect.
Work related to the electrical installation is best done before moving in. Remember that it should be taken care of only by a qualified specialist – thanks to this, the whole installation will be able to serve without any failures for many years.
For this reason, we should establish as soon as possible at least an approximate layout of furniture, equipment and electrical appliances. This will allow us to find the optimal places for lighting, installation sockets and connections or switches.
This will help to minimize the need to drag unsightly cables around the apartment. If we use the help of an interior designer, it is worthwhile to agree with him the places where individual elements of the installation will be located.
Installation under plaster or in view?
Under-plaster installation: the most popular solution
In most flats we can choose between two types of installations: flush-mounted and surface-mounted. The first solution is the most common, and at the same time aesthetic and safe – the cables are hidden in the walls, so they do not pose a threat to children and animals. Due to the necessity to collect plasters in case of failure, it is worth to use high quality materials for installation.
Copper, although more expensive, will be much better than steel or aluminium that will snow over time. When deciding on a flush-mounted installation, it is obligatory to fix its diagram with a drawing or photograph. A “Cable map” is an invaluable help when you need to drill a hole in the wall, for example.
Surface-mounted installation: inexpensive and… dangerous?
Surface-mounted installation remains the most common choice in rooms where aesthetics play a secondary role. This includes a garage, boiler room or other utility rooms. Access to cables winding on walls is easy: most often network elements are hidden in easily accessible pipes.
However, nothing stands in the way of using this solution also in more representative rooms. However, let’s remember that visible cables are much easier to damage, so it is not the right choice for intensively used rooms (e.g. kitchen or living room).
How many sockets in each room?
The number of power sockets should be adjusted to the number of devices in a given room. The largest number of plugs is undoubtedly to be found in the kitchen, which is why the installation will be the most extensive there, enabling the connection of high-power appliances (dishwasher, hob, kettle, etc.) Similarly, in the bathroom, where there should be at least 2-3 sockets to connect a washing machine and small household appliances.
In the living room, let’s plan the possibility of expanding the lighting with additional lamps, also of LED type. In addition, in the multimedia zone, including TV, radio and modem/router, there should be a TV and Internet connection; also a good supply of HDMI standard socket should be provided, as well as a place for possible satellite installation. In other rooms the number of sockets will be smaller: a solid minimum is 1 socket for every 5 m2.
Circuits and phases: check power consumption
An electrical circuit is a closed circuit in which current can flow freely. A single circuit allows for the simultaneous connection of up to 10 devices, but it is quite risky. From the technical point of view, it is a common mistake to plan only one circuit for each floor (especially by the so-called “golden hands”). In case of a short circuit, the consequence will be to immobilize the equipment along the length of the circuit: the floor will then be completely “extinguished”.
Single-phase or three-phase circuit?
The individual electrical circuits will be connected in one circuit within the whole house or apartment. Depending on the power consumption, which can vary considerably for each household, we can choose between single-phase (230 V) or three-phase (400 V) circuits.
In a smaller household, a simple single-phase system will suffice: when operating devices such as a washing machine, oven or computer, the power consumption will not be large enough to overload the system. On the contrary, in single-family houses, where the electricity demand can be several times higher, especially with electric heating.
Safety during the construction phase
Bathroom safety rules
The bathroom is a place where it is particularly easy to get an electric shock, so it is worth keeping to the established rules.
- zone 0 – includes the bath, shower tray and the interior of the shower. The devices supplied with alternating current (AC) with voltage up to 12V or direct current (DC) with voltage up to 30V are allowed;
- zone I – it is determined by the external edges of the bathtub or shower tray. The devices supplied with alternating current up to 24V or DC up to 60V are allowed;
- zone II – up to 60 cm from the edge of the bathtub or shower tray.
In all these zones it is not allowed to place electrical sockets, light switches or junction boxes. If the bathroom is to contain electrical equipment requiring higher voltage, it is required by law to place it outside the three zones described.
Grounding protects against fire
When planning an installation in a detached house, the protection against external threats must not be forgotten. We are talking here about appropriate earth electrode, which will not only protect the house from lightning (through the use of lightning), but also solidly protect the building from the catastrophic effects of short circuit.
We perform earth electrode in a new house already at the stage of erecting foundations, placing a steel rod or so-called cooper in the lower part of the bench or foundation slab and then connecting it with the reinforcement.
Electrical installation: work with professionals!
These tips will enable us to prepare a safe and efficient installation. Let’s say it again: the work should be entrusted to a qualified electrician with key knowledge on the way to preparing a solid system, which will not only provide for the layout of the equipment, but also for the location of the invisible infrastructure. Replacing an installation is a time-consuming and quite expensive procedure.