Typical Electrical Building Codes:
General Requirements when Wiring a House; be Sure to Pull a Building Permit when Required
© 2008 by Kelly Smith all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without authors written permission
Local electrical building codes must be followed during new construction or when remodeling a home.
Code requirements vary by room. Building permits must be obtained.
This is the fourth in a residential wiring series of articles. The previous article examined
how to wire a utility room.
Before that, wiring a bathroom.
The article previous to that looked at
wiring a kitchen This one discusses
how to wire a utility room.
Obey the Code
Although all cities or municipalities have their own building codes which vary by degree, the typical
electrical building codes noted here are often found. Some electrical building codes are general
to the home overall; others are very specific depending on the rooms purpose.
This article will list common ones.
The points made in this article provide usual electrical building codes. Check out your local codes
Understanding home wiring is important before doing any modifications as well as new installs. And,
that an electrical construction permit is usually pulled at your city hall. Periodic inspections will be
made by the electrical building inspector.
Wiring for Bedrooms, the Living Room, and the Dining Room
As I mentioned above, before you begin any wiring project, its important to
understand home wiring concepts.
- Note that it is no longer acceptable for the main ceiling light to be activated with a pull
chain; it must be a wall switch. A ceiling fan light may have a chain but it still must be
connected to the switch.
- Each of these rooms has at least one entry door. Install a wall light switch near it.
- Your light switch must turn on either a a switched receptacle or a ceiling light fixture.
- Every wall shall have a minimum of one electrical receptacle. But there should be more than
one for convenience; there
shall be one available every 12 feet.
- All light fixtures shall be on a 15-amp circuit.
The Electrical Building Code for Your Kitchen
- The electrical building code for your kitchen is quite a bit more complicated than other areas
of the home due to
all the appliances.
- Generally speaking, receptacles that are above countertops and used for small kitchen appliances
must be GFCI receptacles, controlled by two 20-amp circuits.
- Other receptacles are on 15-amp split-circuits.
- More sizable appliances like the garbage disposal, refrigerator, and dishwasher may need to be
put on dedicated circuits.
- All kitchen lighting is on its own 15-amp circuit.
Electrical Wiring for Your Bath
- Wiring a bathroom is simple. Since the bathroom is a wet area, youll
be required to provide GFCI-protected receptacles.
- Lights shall be protected with a globe, lens, or something similar to keep moisture out.
- Depending on the amperage you consume, heaters, lights, as well as exhaust fans shall be on
their own circuits.
Code Standards for Outdoor Applications
- Any outside wiring is open to the elements. Because of that, either underground feed
cable (UF) or sealed conduit shall be used.
- How deep should the conduit be buried? Thats something thats dependent upon
local code. Investigate your local code.
- All fixtures shall be tightly sealed to keep water out. No-brainer here, folks.
- Interestingly, in some municipalities, no building permits are needed for the installing
low-voltage lighting. Expect this to change.
Wiring a Closet
- Closets are basic wiring jobs. One ceiling light shall be installed; and like
your living room, pull chains arnt allowed, but a wall switch shall be used.
Attached Garage Electrical Codes
- The overhead light requirement is the same as for the closet.
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