Home Up Wiring Plans Circuit Designing Receptacles Switches



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By Before The Architect  Copyright 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009,2010 Before The Architect


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The most common electrical devices in a home are electrical light switch controls and receptacles. 

This e-article is about a dream home electrical light switch system of design.

You’ll come across home electrical design guidance which

---Exceeds codified prescripts or

---Addresses aspects of house electric outlet wiring and home electrical light switch control design and installation

------About which common codes are moot or

------Common practice is known by this designer to be lax 

An abundance of safety and convenience and durability in a system of design – that’s the storyline – intended to help avoid home electrical problems.



bulletA electrical distribution panel board shall physically include within it an overcurrent protection rated at the amperage rating of the electrical distribution panel board it protects 

Comment:  This is so you can disconnect all supply in one sell fwoop inside the home. 

bullet3-way electric light switch controls
bulletShall be wired with not less than 3-wire with ground cable (or 4 wires in sum) or a 3-wire with ground insulated electrical conductor harness (or 4 wires in sum) wherewith
bulletThere are not less than 2 phased electrical conductors, 1 grounded electrical conductor (a/k/a neutral, common, “white wire") and 1 grounding electrical conductor
bulletWhich electrical conductors (a/k/a legs) shall run on that 3-way electrical circuit wiring or branch circuit wiring into all switch control boxes, all junction boxes, and all other electric outlets wiring
bulletAn electric light switch control
bulletControlling a garbage disposal shall be within not less than 18 linear inches from any other switch control
bulletControlling a dishwasher shall be within not less than 12 linear inches from any other switch control

Comment:  This dream home designer has been told outright that he’s an old fuddy-duddy in making this last entry – that times and technology no longer require such safety-sensitive steps.  Let’s hear it for old fuddy-duddies.  

bulletOnly an electrical circuit wiring breaker designated to be double-tapped shall be so applied 

Comment:  This double-tapping reference includes a smoke alarm electrical circuit wiring, if dedicated.  Land it separately, label it separately. 

bulletIn home, electric heater applications, e.g., heat tapes, bathroom installations, consider protecting the electrical circuit wiring (always dedicated) with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter electrical circuit breaker rated at 30 mA (a/k/a milliamps) to avoid casual, or nuisance, tripping 

Comment:  This suggested application is in lieu of the common 5 mA trigger level, because smaller heaters can be expected to throw off, or leak, up to 10 mA in normal operation.  

bulletA smoke alarm shall not disconnect by wall light switch control, i.e., if branch-wired, the alarm branch shall be before any electric light switch control
bulletBathroom exhaust fan shall be controlled by a timer switch control
bulletAttic and crawlspace home light shall be have among others, as needed, one pilot electric light switch control interior to the residence 
bulletLight switch controls shall be 36-42 linear inches on-center above finish floor level
bulletLight switch controls shall be sited within 12 linear inches of
bulletA passage and open floor, which open floor 
bulletShall be unobstructed as to both physical and visual access
bulletShall be within not less than 32 linear inches in not less than a radial quadrant  

Comment:  This standard takes the cloudiness out of the omnibus reference to light switch controls being ‘generally accessible.’ 

Comment:  Please consider that physically unobstructed motion sensors shall be your friends, particularly in complex intersections of traffic

bulletA switch control
bulletShall be pressure-controlled, particularly in wall light switch control access-limited spaces, as in smaller closets
bulletShall be dimmers wherever possible, noting Lutron owns multiple-way light switch control dimming in this designer’s opinion, including but not limited to 4-way dimming involving every electrical device in the gang [and noting also that the designer does not fully appreciate rocker switch controls with the itsy-bitsy rheostatic slide control]
bulletShall be electric lighted between Master Bedroom, Master Bath, Kitchen and major passages to the exterior
bulletShall be arranged such that
bulletEach  lighted space, including a hallway, shall be controlled on the same (multi-way) branch either within or outside each passage
bulletEach lighted space, including a hallway, shall be controlled on its interior at each passage 
bulletFor strictly utility areas, e.g., laundry, butler’s pantry, etc., and, particularly, utility areas with hazard potential, e.g., workshop, such area’s illumination, each area 
bulletShall be controlled on a single branch
bulletShall be controlled without benefit of a dimmer 
bulletIn a room with a door lock, bolt, latch, or similar of any sort, a electric light switch control for at least 1 home light fixture rated 120V in that room shall be placed on the locked, or interior, side of passage 
bulletInterior steps numbering 2 or more risers
bulletShall have 3-way or 4-way electric light switch control at the foot and head and perhaps more for those tasked luminaires as a group, notably among others
bulletWhere entrance to the steps or stairs can be from more than one pathway or portal at head or foot or
bulletWhere entrance to the steps is in a landing or landings in the interim rise from foot to head
bulletExterior steps numbering 3 or more risers
bulletShall have luminaires tasked specifically to those steps, especially at 
bulletFoot landing
bulletMid-landing and
bulletHead landing
bulletShall have 3-way or 4-way electric light switch control over all those tasked luminaires as a group at not less than each interior to a passage proximate to and accessible to those steps 
bulletLighted (a/k/a pilot) switch control shall be in
bulletA bathroom at entry and 
bulletBedroom-kitchen passage(s) 

Comment:  Lighted switch controls may be applied elsewhere for safety and convenience, e.g., in pathway between Masters Bed area and children's bed area(s), stair head, exterior doors, etc.

bulletA switch controlled receptacle
bulletShall not be greater than a single receptacle outlet wiring, i.e., no split receptacles, or
bulletShall be both sides of a duplex receptacle or
bulletShall be all 3 sides of a triplex receptacle set up or
bulletShall be all 4 sides of a quadraplex receptacle set up 
bulletThat is, shall be to all receptacles in a given electric outlet wiring 
bulletEach light switch control box for a ceiling fan or a ceiling fan with home light pack shall contain
bulletNot less than 2 phase electrical conductors
bulletNot less than 1 neutral electrical conductor and
bulletNot less than 1 grounding electrical conductor, i.e., not less than a 3-wire with ground cable or harness (or 4 wires in sum)

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