Planning New Electrical Service

Building Permit on window and man working inside

Anytime you install new cable -- whether adding one receptacle or wiring a remodeled kitchen -- you add new service to your system. This may increase the demand on circuits or require new circuits, and calls for careful planning.

Projects in Planning New Installations

Put your plans on paper
The first step is to make rough drawings that depict the lighting and electrical service you want to achieve. Find typical electrical systems for a kitchen, a bathroom, and a utility room. Installations vary; these pages serve as a guide to help calculate how many circuits of which amperages are needed. Start planning cable runs that can be routed with minimal damage to the walls.

Next determine whether your existing service can support new electrical lines. You may be able to connect to existing circuits. If not you need to add a circuit or two to your existing service panel or install a subpanel or service panel.

Why codes count
The importance of building safety codes can't be overemphasized. First, codes protect everyone in your home from shock and fire. Second, they provide common ground for everyone who works on electrical systems. When someone else works on your home's wiring after you, he or she can understand the system.

Check local codes
See requirements throughout much of the U.S. However code requirements can vary, so contact your local building department when planning a project. Have the department review your rough drawings and finished plans. Find tips on drawing plans that an inspector can read easily. Follow the department's instructions and schedule inspections if needed. Start work only after you are sure the plan is approved.

One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!