Interaction Of The Universe To The Individual



Please use these diagram-electrical-wiring instructions carefully for all electrical installations. There's never any reason to be working with live or energized circuits.

I got my electrical training as an apprentice because I wanted to become an electrician.

Later I learned about electric theory from a technical college as I applied it to telecommunications and residential electrical wiring.

I went into electronics training because I was tired of working outside in the harsh weather. My very first job after trade school was a cozy indoor job working on computer network communication lines. According to my luck, that same job switched from T1 data lines to satellite wireless systems and I found myself working on the roof tops out in the cold again for another 11 years.

Anyway, that's the life of electrical technicians.

From start to finish, I will address the Electrical installation in its many aspects and components, starting with wiring the service entrance.

Then I'll give a breakdown on cables and wiring for a better understanding of how electricity is used. It's also necessary to have a good understanding of breakers and fuses to prevent overloads.

Simple lighting circuits are easy to install, yet still need a small level of skill. Complex lighting circuits take a little head-scratching to figure out, but I've made some good diagrams of these.

The big bad boys that need special attention are the dedicated high-voltage circuits. These need to be done correctly.

Next on the list is phone and doorbell wiring. This is easy and fun. Every home needs to have computer network wiring to connect to all computers in your home and to prevent spying from nosy neighbors because you thought wireless was a good idea. Finally, all homes should have Cable and satellite TV wiring just to be prepared for the future.

We'll start off with some terminology. We used to refer to electrical circuits as 110-volts and 220-volts. We now refer to them as 120-volts and 240-volts. The actual voltage is right around 119-volts. This varies from place to place, but you might still hear it referred to as 110-volts. Many diagram-electrical-wiring circuits still use this term.

Don't worry, some people can't let go of the past. For us modern folk, it's 120-volt circuits. A 240-volt diagram-electrical-wiring circuit is just two 120-volt circuits put together for that extra bit of umph! Ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, and HVAC(heating, venting, and air-conditioning)systems need a little extra voltage, so we give them two hot lines instead of one. I'll go over it a little at a time. We do most of the work with non-metallic sheathed cable, but I'm just going to refer to it as Romex. Almost every electrical contractor uses this term. Romex comes in different sizes and kinds for special uses. The type of wire is marked on both the cable and the box it comes in.

For example "12-2" first describes the thickness of the wire, being 12-gauge wire. The "2" says there are 2 service wires inside. That is a hot(black) wire and a neutral(white) wire. There is also a bare copper ground wire. I know that makes three wires in total, but the ground doesn't count. Why not? I don't know! We all just kind of go along with that one.

So, "12-3" says there is three wires in there. There is an extra hot(red) wire for three-way switches. I'll go over that too. See the pics. Most diagram-electrical-wiring circuits don't say Romex on the cables, don't worry about it. It's a common term at electric supply places.

The gauge tells how thick the wire is. The lower the gauge, the thicker the wire. Naturally, thicker, heavier wire can tolerate more electrical current without getting too hot. Diagram-electrical-wiring circuits usually won't have the type and size of cable listed. It's just kind of a known thing that lights and outlets use 12-gauge cable.

Let's begin the actual work by putting electrical boxes in wherever there will be a single light switch, an outlet, a phone jack, or a data port. Light switches that have more than one switch will require a bigger box.

These are some of the box types you can use. Some locations won't let you use plastic boxes. The places where you get electric supplies can usually tell you the code for the boxes.

Once all the boxes are in place, you can start running cable. You will need to have the cables run from box to box before your first Electrical inspection. They don't have to be connected to anything, but all the wires should be run and the wiring inspected before the drywall goes on. The experienced electrical contractor will have the work inspected before the sheetrock goes on.

For lights and receptacles, you can use 12-2 Romex for the electrical. Some locations still allow 14-2 Romex, but I think that is no longer adequate for an electric supply. Any diagram-electrical-wiring plan should have adequate wiring for future expansion.

Most outlet receptacles have four terminal screws, two on each side, two neutral and two hot. They are wired so that the circuit is continuous.

A more practical method in wiring receptacles is called "pigtailing". Pigtailing uses wire nuts to consolidate wires so that only one wire goes to each terminal. This is especially necessary in Ground Fault Interrupter Circuits.

Pigtailing, for example, takes both ends of the neutral wire(incoming and outgoing) and joins them both together along with a third white wire that goes to the terminal. You will do this with the black wire and the copper wire also in plastic boxes. The experienced electrical contractor uses pigtails a lot.

We'll do a simple light circuit next. The Romex comes from the circuit to the light first, then on to the switch. This is how it looks. Keep in mind that there are several ways of running circuits. This is just one way. This is part of a clean diagram-electrical-wiring plan.

This is one of those cases where you are allowed to code white wires as hot by putting black tape on both ends of the wire. Some locations require 3-wire cable that has a red cable so there are 2 hot wires.

Speaking of 3-wire cable, Romex 12-3 has a black wire for hot, a red wire called a traveler wire designated as hot also, and a white wire for neutral. This is handy in 3-way switches.

You will use 10-3 Romex on certain other circuits. There might be other code requirements so ask your inspector before putting in wires.

The water heater will be a dedicated circuit on a 30-Amp breaker with 10-3 Romex in most cases. This will be hard-wired, meaning it doesn't have an outlet receptacle like the dryer and oven do. It will have a cable that comes out of the wall surrounded in conduit and goes into the water heater to be connected inside.

The clothes dryer will also be on a dedicated 30-Amp circuit with 10-3 Romex.

The Oven/range will be the electrical big bad boy on the dedicated 50-Amp breaker using range cable. This is a special cable made for this purpose. What it usually is, is a big gnarl y cable that has two 6-gauge cables, one 8-gauge neutral, and an 8-gauge copper ground inside.

Our diagram-electrical-wiring plan will include all details of each circuit. All the circuits will start at the breaker box. Let's go there now.

3-way diagram --Breaker Box-- Service Entrance

The type of breaker box is the choice of the electrical contractor and the local codes, but most codes state that the electric supply and the breaker box be a 200-Amp service with at least 30 breakers.

200-Amps is good enough for the current needs, but 30 breaker slots is too few for modern houses. You should have at least 40 slots.


The inspector will have several requirements about using only GFCI's in the kitchen area, bathrooms, and outside outlets. These will be part of your diagram-electrical-wiring plan.

There will also be code requirements about dedicated circuits, a minimum number of kitchen circuits, minimum of outlets on each wall, and many others that might seem overwhelming at first. Once it is all done though, you'll really be glad you followed all the regs. It makes a better house anyway.



Service entrance basic-electrical-wiring
in home construction

This is the service entrance part to basic-electrical-wiring for electricity of residential dwellings. Now this is where the fun really begins, but this is also where a lot of first time builders start to doubt themselves. I am going to start with the basics and move through the entire process, but Iíll keep it very understandable at the same time.Now, itís not my intention to discourage or frighten anyone from doing their own electrical work, but respect for Electricity needs to be observed and never put aside.If you lose your respect for these lines at any time, you stand a good chance of finalizing your life insurance policy. There is no reason at any time to be working on a live circuit, especially a 240-volt line.

There are detailed instructions available from the NEC (National Electrical Code) that can be used as a basic guideline for all basic-electrical-wiring, but local codes from the Building inspectors and Electrical Inspectors always take priority over national codes.

Local Electrical Inspectors are a very good source of information because they are the ones holding up the hoops we all have to jump through. In all honesty, I am very glad I was forced to jump through a lot of hoops from my inspectors, although at the time I was really bent.

When I sleep at night, I know the fuses and circuits and wires arenít overloaded because that inspector made me tear them out and redo them, -----twice.Letís get started from the beginning assuming that you are still using the temporary power hook up the utility company rigged up for you. Itís been a struggle with only a few outlets.Now itís time for some real power! The utility company providing to the electric supply will put up the meter and base. Everything after that or rather, the lines going to the service panel and all the circuitry and fuses are the homeownersí responsibility.Letís start out by first making a basic-electrical-wiring plan for where we want everything to be located. It is a good idea to decide where to put the service panel. The Electrical Inspector will have some advice on this matter. There are specific requirements that canít be compromised.The service panel will be on the inside of the house and will hold all the fuses. All the circuit wires will be connected to it. The service panel needs to be close (usually within a few feet) to the service entrance or meter on the outside wall of the house. A smart electrical contractor will put the service panel in a convenient location.

The service panel will have to be a specific height and distance from the floor. Also, the meter will need to be accessible for the power company. This means that wherever the service entrance is on the outside of the house, the service panel on the inside of the house will have to be just about on the other side of the wall.

So donít put a living room there on that side of the house because a breaker box makes for a poor conversation piece while entertaining guests. A garage or utility room would be a better option to house the service panel box. The Electrical Inspector will help you with the details of any basic-electrical-wiring for the service panel placement.The illustration below shows a service entrance and meter with an overhead supply. This helps show the proximity between the service entrance outside and the service panel inside.

The utility company will wire the service usually to the meter, then from the meter, you run heavy gauge cables through the wall into the service panel box and connect them to the hot terminal bus. The type of cable used from the meter to the service panel is something like #000 Aluminum rated at about 200 amps, and there are usually 3 of them providing enough current for a 200-amp service.


The illustration shows a typical type of a basic-electrical-wiring service cable used in residential dwellings. This will usually have a black covering. This is a service panel that is commonly used. It is also known as a ďbreaker boxĒ, or a ďload centerĒ.

When considering a service panel, the minimum requirement that I would recommend would be a 200-amp, 40-slot load center. The higher amperage rating is a code requirement in most parts, but the slots for breakers is often left up to the electrician. An owner/builder might be tempted to opt for a smaller and cheaper service panel with fewer slots, but inspectors are becoming real sticklers on dedicated electrical circuits.

There are many new code regulations that didnít used to exist so one needs to plan for the future.So now that we know what the basic-electrical-wiring service entrance, the meter, and the service panel are, letís get them all wired together. You can get the wire at an electric supply store. You will connect all the wiring and have to pass your first inspection before the Electrical Inspector will give the utility company permission to connect the power.Thatís a good thing anyway, because you will be working with two 120-volt cables and a neutral cable, three wires in all. They wonít be energized until everything is sealed up and secured.The picture below illustrates how the 3-wire service leaves the meter and ends up inside the service panel box. The 2 black wires are then connected to the hot bus, and the white or neutral is connected to the neutral bus.

There are special conduit fittings available at most electric supply stores that make the job look more professional and also help keep moisture out.

You can use either a hole saw or a large spade bit to make the hole in the wall for the power cables. Once the power service from the meter and the service panel box are connected, then you will need to run a system ground wire to a grounding rod.

The grounding wire is just a copper wire made for that purpose. It attaches to a grounding screw usually at the bottom of the neutral bus.

The copper line typically exits through the side of the house toward the bottom and attaches to the grounding rod or the plumbing if metal pipes are used.

Grounding rods are about 4 feet long and made of copper. They can be hammered in close to the foundation.

Your service panel box or breaker box will hold all the breakers or fuses and every circuit run in the house will begin at the breaker. The hot lines are either black or red wires.

Each electrical-house-wiring circuit run begins with a hot line (black or red) connected to the breaker, a neutral line (usually white) connected to the neutral bus bar, and a ground wire (bare copper) also attached to the neutral bus bar.

From there, it goes out of the breaker box and on to the first outlet, (receptacle) or switch, (lights) or hard-wired appliance (water heater, electric wall heaters and heat pumps).

The breaker box has removable round tabs on all four sides giving access to the wiring. Romex is a common name for cable and one I use frequently. Itís important to note that when a cable enters the service panel, the hole needs to have a fastener or clamp to prevent the metal box from possibly cutting the wires.

This should give us a good idea how the breaker box is put together. From this point, itís a matter of laying out the many circuits and mapping them throughout the house.The dedicated electrical-house-wiring circuits will be the easiest to map out because the entire circuit goes to just one appliance such as the range, or the water heater, or the clothes dryer to name a few. These are all power hogs and not only do they need their own dedicated circuit, but they also use higher amperage breakers and heavier gauge wiring.

There are two kinds of voltages used in residential dwellings, 120-volt for lights and small appliance outlets, and 240-volt for larger appliances. The breakers determine the difference between the two voltages.

A 120-volt breaker is narrow and only attaches to one hot bus in the service panel. That gives it 120 volts of electricity. The big gnarly 240-volt breakers however, are wide and cover both hot bus bars giving them all the electricity available, which is 240 volts.

Notice the difference in widths between breakers. Also, the larger appliances have varying levels of electrical current needs, so the breakers are also available in different amperage ratings. Letís make a couple of charts with the symbols and numbers we will need to lay out a good electrical floor plan from this point.These are the symbols used for an electrical-house-wiring floor plan to show the inspector. It also helps to keep things organized on paper. The illustration below shows a useful chart of appliances along with the size of wire, size of breaker, voltage requirements, and the required receptacle.

Almost everything else in the house will use a 120-volt, 20-amp circuit. If you have electric heat, you will need to find out the specifications on voltage and amperage because some heaters use 120 volts and others use 240 volts. Usually the higher voltage heaters run more efficiently.


It helps to make a top view of the electrical-house-wiring floor plan with the different symbols. It may look like a mess at first because there are so many symbols in such a small area to work with on paper, but youíll get used to seeing and understanding the diagrams and blueprints long before you begin construction on the actual circuitry.The illustration below shows a simple electrical floor plan with outlets, switches, and lights. I found it useful to make several copies of the same floor plan without all the electrical symbols, and then make an overlay diagram of each electrical circuit starting with circuit number ď1Ē.You will need to number your circuit runs at the breaker box anyway, so this is a good time plan it out. On each plan, include only one circuit run even if it is just your water heater or cooking range. Draw the circuitry exactly how it will run through the walls and joists and even include measurements in the plans if you want to.

You might even want to laminate the plans because they will help you years later when youíre trying to remember where you ran those darn wires. 

The diagrams can be easy or complex because they arenít for anyone but you. The idea is to simplify something that is intimidating. Thatís the whole idea behind everything I stand for. If something is overwhelming and seemingly impossible to understand, step back a bit, scratch your head a few times, then break it down in your mind to the smallest steps or particles necessary. When you start to understand it at that level, then move on.When planning your electrical-house-wiring circuits, you will want to divide up the circuits with two major points in mind. First, and most important, is that you donít put too many loads on one line. That makes for hot wires and youíll wear your carpets out running back and forth resetting breakers.As a rule of thumb, you probably donít want to put any more than 15 loads on one circuit. A load is an outlet, appliance, or light switch. Both plugs on an outlet or receptacle are one load. This is one of those things that vary greatly from region to region so youíll need to consult your local codebook.That is one of the reasons you are going to need a large service panel box. Most residential dwellings will use around 30 breaker slots these days.

The second reason to divide up your electrical-house-wiring circuit runs is to avoid total darkness when a breaker trips. Keep that in mind while planning circuit routes. Romex is cheap and itís easy to run, so try to at least integrate the lighting into several different circuits. In other words, donít run all your lights on one circuit. 



Running cables-and-wiring

Now, letís get started on the actual cables-and-wiring circuit runs. First we will work on switches and outlets as these are the main focus of this page. The lower voltage circut runs will come later.I like to put all the receptacle and switch boxes in first. These can be either plastic or metal depending mostly on the homeowners choice, but in some locations, only metal boxes are allowed.

This also includes light boxes, or more often called junction boxes. These attach really easy. They have a sheetrock depth calibration already on them so you get a good accurate fit without having to measure.

Most boxes can just be nailed in place. Every outlet, light switch, junction box, and even modern day phone jacks will need a box. You can get these boxes in many sizes depending on your needs. You will probably use a lot more boxes than youíd expect, but theyíre dirt-cheap.Itís important that each box is nailed evenly to the wall stud, but itís also important to make sure that the box extends beyond the stud evenly. If the nails are too tight on the top or the bottom, the plastic box will not be so square anymore.These are mistakes that arenít covered up by the finish work because the switches and outlets will appear slightly crooked when everything is done. Also, itís just a good idea to put a reinforced junction box in where every light will be. These are available at all electric suppliers. 

A bracket or telescoping rod seems like overkill at the time, but somewhere in the future either you or someone will want to put up a ceiling fan, a chandelier, or something heavy and itís much harder to reinforce a finished ceiling than to install a cheap $2.00 piece of metal while the ceiling is exposed. The bar hanger junction box gives more support than a normal hanger bracket.

Once the boxes are installed, the wires can be run from box to box.

You will need to leave extra wire for working with. Itís always a good idea to leave an extra 6 to 8 inches of wire in a loop just above where the cable enters the box. This is important for all cables-and-wiring applications.This loop will allow for a margin of error when stripping wires. Try to drill all the holes in the studs at the same height to run the cable. An electrical contractor charges a lot of money to do the meticulous task. Do it yourself.

Also, itís best to keep the hole centered in the stud to prevent finish nails or screws from penetrating the cable.There are some code variations on just how much cable needs to protrude from the box to work with. Some say 6 inches, while others say 8 inches. If youíre like me, youíll probably screw up all 8 inches at first and be fishing for the 8-inch loop you put, or should have put just above the box in the wall. The wise electrical contractor plans for errors. 

Prepping the cables-and-wiring for the receptacles and switches couldnít be easier if you have some good wire strippers. You can get these at any electrical supply outlet. You will need to strip about ĺ -inch off the wire and make a bend in the direction that the screw will turn on the receptacle or switch.

Tighten down the screws really well. Most cables-and-wiring receptacles and switches have insertion fittings or holes on the back to put wires in. This gives more options, but seldom do electricians use the insertion fittings because it crowds the wires inside the box often causing wire connectors to come apart. Every electrical contractor I have ever known uses the screws on the side of the receptacle.



Installing home-electrical-wiring 
for breakers and fuses 
inside a breaker box

This is an important point to remember in home-electrical-wiring. If youíre doing your own electrical work, you are an electrical contractor because you will do everything according to a national standard. You will need to follow code for cable, circuit breakers, and wiring methods.All licensed electricians know the rules really well, but they still have to be approved by inspectors just like everybody.

If someone comes a few years later and works on your electrical system, that person will assume that when he or she grabs a plain, white neutral wire, his or her hair wonít get curled.Thatís because everybody follows code, or at least, is supposed to follow code. Personally, I keep my voltmeter handy when testing any electric supply. Black wires are hot. They are wired only to hot terminal screws or other black wires.Red wires are hot and are usually either a traveler wire (for 3-way switches), or an extra 120-volt line to double voltage for a 240-volt appliance. Red wires are also only wired to hot terminal screws and other red and black wires.

White wires are neutral and are only wired to the neutral bus at the service panel, the neutral terminal screw on receptacles, or other white wires. Bare, copper wires and green wires are ground wires and they attach to other ground wires or can be terminated in metal boxes.

The basic cable for home-electrical-wiring is Romex 12/2. This is just a non-metallic, sheathed cable of different sizes and number of wires inside. The size of wire is the gauge. Thatís the first number. The second number states the number of wires, which are 2. Actually, there are 3 wires if you count the ground wire, but nobody does. Almost every electrical contractor refers to the electric cable as "Romex".Also, a lot of 12/3 Romex will be used because it has an extra wire in it and it is required by most codes to be used where there are 3-way switches that need that extra wire called a traveler.

There is one exception to the color code rule that needs to be mentioned. In certain situations, such as in 3-way switches and dual control, dual light switches, even 12/3 cable falls one wire short of enough hot wires.

In this case, it is legal to use a white wire as a hot wire only if the wire is painted or wrapped with black tape on both ends. This is very common. Here's two common types of home-electrical-wiring cable.

Now that we have learned a few things about home-electrical-wiring, itís a good time to get into the thick of the installation methods and to also show many kinds of wiring diagrams.The easiest way to get started on the actual wire installation is to nail all the electrical boxes in place. These are the boxes for all outlet receptacles, light switches, ceiling light boxes, and junction boxes which include phone and TV cable outlets as well.

After all the boxes are in place, the wiring is a simple matter of running the cable from box to box. Remember, cable is quite inexpensive, so try to make the cable runs look neat and organized even if you have to use a lot of extra cable. Use staples to fasten loose or hanging cable.

You will use standard 12/2 and 12/3 Romex for all the 120-volt circuit runs. Some contractors still use 14/2 Romex for lighting. You will need to use 12/3 Romex for any 3-way light switches. A 3-way light switch is a light that can be turned on or off from more than one location. All 3-way switches need to be connected by a traveler wire that can only be found in 12/3 cable.

The circuits using more electricity will require different types of cable. These are special circuits that have strict codes to follow. These are dedicated circuits that many homeowners hire an electrical contractor to install, but they are no big deal.

You will need to get all local code information about these home-electrical-wiring circuits because certain areas have different regulations. For now, we will follow the National Electrical Code regulations. Remember that local codes always take precedence over the national codes.

The electrical inspector and an electric supply store will be a wealth of knowledge in that area. Most inspectors have free material to give to ensure that the guidelines are followed.

The electric water heater will be a dedicated circuit. A box wonít be necessary because the cable will run directly from the service panel breaker to the connections inside of the water heater.You will probably also use number 10 cable with a 240-volt, double-pole, 30-Amp breaker for the water heater. Number 10 cable is thicker than number 12 cable and is able to handle higher amperage without getting hot.

Another circuit that requires special wiring is a clothes dryer. Like the water heater, it uses a dedicated line with a 30-amp, 240-volt, double pole breaker with 10/3Romex.

One thing to keep in mind here is that modern clothes dryers and ranges now use a four-wire plug. This is a simple matter of connecting the copper ground wire to the plug as well as the other three wires.

Normally, the copper ground is attached to the dryer chassis. You can also get a special adapter plug that converts a three-wire plug to a four-wire plug. These adapters are available at all appliance and electric supply stores. Many local home-electrical-wiring codes now require the extra wire because of the new plugs on all new appliances.

The one circuit in all the home-electrical-wiring that takes the most electricity is the oven/range. These vary quite a bit in the amount of wattages used, but as a standard, the oven/range has a dedicated circuit that uses a 50-amp, 240-volt breaker. A smart electrical contractor will place the breaker box within 20 or 30 feet of the oven to reduce voltage drop.

The cable is usually two heavy six-gauge wires for the hot lines, and a six or eight-gauge wire for the neutral. It is called range cable. This cable also comes with a ground wire for four-wire plugs.

There are other 240-volt lines depending on the heating and air conditioning structures. Most heating circuits will require at least a 30-amp, 240-volt breaker. The size of cable is typically 10-gauge, but this depends greatly on the type of heating system and the manufacturers requirements. Air conditioning systems are the same.

These heavy current lines tie into the breaker box with only the hot lines attached to the breaker, the neutral and ground wires will attach to the neutral bus bar.

The breakers just pop into place as they attach to the hot bus bars. You will need to label each breaker so you donít forget which circuit it is. 



Circuits for
Home-improvement-electrical systems

Now letís get into some circuit runs for home-improvement-electrical projects. Weíll start with a plain outlet receptacle. Your local codes will indicate the number of minimum electrical outlets each wall will need.I prefer to have a lot of outlets. Most electrical inspectors encourage homeowners to have more outlets than needed these days for future expansion.

In these modern times where we have computers, the peripherals for the computer like printers, scanners, speakers, monitors, and external drives can completely fill up one eight-slot surge protector with several things left to plug in.

Itís the same for TV/Stereo entertainment centers. Remember, outlet boxes and receptacles are very inexpensive so definitely put in plenty outlets. I thought I had gone way overboard by putting outlets about every eight feet. Still there are times when I could use another plug.The picture below shows how to connect a plain receptacle in the middle of the circuit and at the end of a circuit run. In the middle of a circuit run, one cable comes into the box and one cable goes out of the box on to the next receptacle or switch.

At the end of the run, there is just a cable coming into the box, so only one hot terminal and one neutral terminal screw is used. Hot terminal screws are usually brass colored and neutral terminal screws are silver. The ground wire attaches to a grounding screw that is usually green.

You will have to use only GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacles in the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside outlets. It is a code requirement for home-improvement-electrical wiring upgrades.

You will want to wire the GFCI receptacles in a pigtail style and not in a continuous circuit like normal receptacles. You can wire GFCI receptacles like normal receptacles where you have both incoming and outgoing hot and neutral wires on each side, but if a GFCI trips, then everything after it on the circuit will be dead until the GFCI is reset. Not only that, but when you put too many loads on a GFCI, it will trip more often and you will be resetting it constantly.

Itís better to make a splice off of the circuit with wire nuts and have only one hot and one neutral going into the ďlineĒ terminals on each side. That is called a ďpigtailĒ.

The picture below shows a basic diagram of receptacle outlet wiring.

Next, letís move on to the home-improvement-electrical lighting. There are a few different kinds of light switches, but they all have one thing in common.A switch is just a voltage interrupter within the hot wires that either completes the circuit, or breaks it. This shows some of the basic light switches that are used frequently in residential construction.

Single-pole switches activate a light or lights, from only one location. Three-way switches activate a light or lights from two locations. Four-way switches activate a light or lights from more than two locations.



Diagrams for light-switch-wiring for new homes

A good house design plan includes light-switch-wiring for interior light fixtures and bath fixture lighting. Also kitchen lighting , office lighting, dining room lighting, and family room lights.

The color of the wires is especially important, so you may want to squint at the drawings to better understand them.

The diagram below shows a simple single pole light switch diagram with the switch before the light in the circuit run.

The diagram below shows a single-pole with the switch behind the light. In this case, an extra hot wire is needed so it is legal to paint or wrap electriciansí tape around both ends of the white wire.

Three-way switches are a little confusing at first, but after you look at the diagram and think it through, itíll make perfect sense.The easiest way for three-ways is to place the light between the two switches. You might have to go to an electric supply store for these switches.

Another way is to put the light at the end of the switches as shown in the electrical wiring diagram below

Four-way switches sound confusing, but they are quite simple. Just remember this one thing: four-way switches are always between three-way switches.

You can have one light that is controlled from a dozen locations, but youíll start with a three-way switch at the start of the light circuit, place ten four-ways in between, and then end with another three-way switch. Are you confused? Yeah, me too.Many homes, especially those with garages, have lights controlled from many locations. You need to be able to turn the garage light on when youíre entering from outside, or entering from upstairs, or downstairs into the garage.You will want to be able to turn the same light on or off from any surrounding part of the garage outside or inside. Any place where there is a doorway or entrance should have a light switch.

Three-way switches arenít really ďthree wayĒ at all. Theyíre only two-way if you consider that a light can only be controlled from two locations with three-way switches. I donít know where that word came from, but if you need to have a light controlled from three locations, you will need to start with a three-way, put a four-way in the middle, and end with another three-way. See the diagram below. 



Dedicated circuit 

Part of electrical-wiring-diagrams is dedicated circuits. You may feel like hiring a licensed electrician for these heavy circuits, but they're quite simple. We all want the cheapest electricity when we have a choice, but the proper installation of these dedicated circuits also helps save energy.

Dedicated circuits are easier to run than lighting circuits because there isnít any branch circuitry. There is only one thing on each circuit.This is a definite code requirement. The dedicated circuits will require special wire and breakers.

Each appliance will have a specific outlet or plug that will be used. The only appliance that has no outlet is the water heater. It will be hard-wired which means the cable will run from the wall directly into the water heaterís own wiring box inside the water heater.Any cable that comes out of the wall through the sheetrock should be encased in flex conduit (BX Cable) or wire loom and fastened at each end from the wall to the appliance with cable fasteners or grommets.

The water heater circuit will be a Romex 10-2 cable utilizing both black and white wires as hot lines. This gives the water heater a total of 240 volts.

The diagram below shows the circuit run for a Range/Oven. The fuse is a 50-amp, 240-volt breaker. The cable is 6/3-Range cable. The outlet is a four-wire plug.

All dedicated circuits will be similar to the Range/Oven circuit in the way they are run and connected to the breakers and the outlet plugs. The clothes dryer is like the oven/range, where it is plugged in to an outlet. The circuit is a dedicated 10-3 Romex cable with a 30-amp breaker.

The other dedicated circuits in your home will be heat pumps and air-conditioning systems. They will be hard wired like the water heater

Baseboard heaters can be on a circuit with other baseboard heaters. The limit is usually three heaters to a circuit. This will most likely be on a 30-amp breaker with 10-2 Romex cable.

Most electrical-wiring-diagrams show the layout of the wiring circuitry, but wattage limitations need to be observed or the wires can get too hot. You can run much higher wattages for wall heaters on 240-volt circuits than 120-volt circuits. It is also more economical.



Easy basic-house-wiring-diagram
for phones, doorbells, and 
security systems

Now, letís take a look at the basic-house-wiring-diagram for low voltage wiring which is used mainly in doorbells, residential phone systems, alarms, audio speakers, and intercom devices also use low voltage wiring.Most electrical contractors will install these communication lines, but due to the complexity of home wiring, many contractors leave communications wiring to residential phone services professionals.

Doorbell wiring ties in to the electric circuitry of your home by means of a transformer that reduces voltage. The transformer will fit into a junction box just like a light or a switch.

The illustration below shows a doorbell controlled from two locations. Usually the chime is different between the front and back so you know which door to answer.

The 120-volt line goes into the transformer and usually two small lines go to each doorbell. The wires are usually about 18-guage and carry a voltage smaller than 12-volts.

The phone system is another low voltage line, except it isnít tied in to the electric circuitry of the home. The voltage comes from the phone company and is maintained by them. They will install service up to the box. This box is called a ďDemarcation blockĒ or just ďD-marc blockĒ.To us homebuilders, itís just a box. From the box, we run our separate lines to each modular jack or phone jack. If you have multiple lines, you will have to map out a circuitry route just like the electrical circuits so you donít get confused. A basic-house-wiring-diagram for simple phone systems will be fine. The modular jacks will fit into regular electric boxes.The illustration below shows a simple residential phone system with two phone lines. The phone company only runs service to the box.

The homeowner then runs the wiring from the box, into the house, and on to the rooms in the house that will have phones in them. The illustration is an example of a ďDaisy chainĒ wiring method. This is an old way of doing things. The problem with a daisy chain is if one phone jack goes bad, all the ones behind it will stop working.

A solution to this problem is called a ďjunction boxĒ, or a ďstarĒ. It acts like a hub and each mod jack or phone jack will be wired separately and exclusively back to the junction box. It takes more cable, but is more reliable. The illustration below shows a basic-house-wiring-diagram for residential phone systems.

Now that we can see how the circuit is laid out, we need to know what kind of cable to use. The most popular cable being used in residential as well as commercial dwellings is called ďCAT 5Ē cabling.It stands for Category 5 cable, which was mostly used in network wiring because of its high data transfer capabilities, but was too expensive for home use.

Now, itís more reasonable in price and it is better for homes or businesses that will someday be expanding their communication needs. That is most of us if you consider the impact that computers have had on our communications systems over the past two decades.Besides, appraisers love to see ďData portsĒ in every room. It just says, ď Iím a modern, state-of-the-art home and Iím built with the future in mindĒ. That will boost the homeís value by thousands. No kidding.Cat 5 cable is a plastic shielded cable with four twisted pairs of color-coded wires.

The CAT5 cable is run just like the other basic-house-wiring-diagram electrical circuits. The cable will run to each room that will have a phone and it will have an outlet in the form of a wall plate or a flush mount mod jack.

The cable will be wired to the RJ11 outlet or mod jack using the red-to-red, and green-to-green wires for the first line, and yellow-to-yellow, and black-to-black wires if youíre using regular phone cable.Just as a side note here, the CAT5 has eight cables, but not all wires need to be used. In fact, you only need two wires for each line, so as a rule of thumb you start out using the red and green wires or whatever color is close to those colors that you can remember.

I say that because CAT5 varies in colors from manufacturer to manufacturer. The standard for wiring also varies between phone companies so you will get many different answers if you want the right one.

The right answer is just this: be sure to use the same wiring order on both ends of the cable so that the phone lines actually work. You will want to use the same standard throughout the entire wiring though, that only makes sense.

Now, having said that, I will say that there is a vague industry standard that helps maintain some form of compatibility between old and new cable.

The phone company uses 8-wire cable, and many residential dwellings still use 4-wire cable. There might be certain local codes about which colors of wires go where, but they arenít strict like electrical codes.If you decide to take advantage of the basic-house-wiring-diagram star idea instead of the daisy chain method, there will be one line of CAT5 that runs from the Telco box to the junction box. Just remember to have one line coming in from Telco, and then you can connect several mod jacks running from the hub.

This is a phone system hub where a phone lines comes in from telco and it feeds different phones throughout the house. Each phone line will have a separate hub. Most homes are wired for multiple phone lines.

An important note about the basic-house-wiring-diagram for phone lines is the use of CAT5 cable. Almost all brands of CAT5 cable are somewhat mouse and vermin proof.

You don't want to have to be digging into the walls to fix a cable that was chewed in half.



Computer network cat5-wiring-diagram

Now, letís move on to the cat5-wiring-diagram for home network wiring. It sounds complicated, but itís actually easier than phone system wiring. Some people tell me that with all the home networks with wireless routers available today, running cable throughout the house is becoming obsolete.Trust me, as a digital communications engineer, you don't want to use wireless systems if you have neighbors that live within a half mile of you.

Itís a good idea to put data ports in every room with the exception of bathrooms and storage rooms.This is called an RJ45. Networks use CAT5 cable with a connection that is a little larger than a normal phone connection. A phone connection is an RJ11 and it will fit into an RJ45 port.

Networks are the same as phone lines in many respects. The old method for wiring networks as well as phone systems was in a daisy chain, that is, out of one computer into the next computer on down the line. The problem is when one computer goes down it pulls all the others behind it down also.

It didnít take long to figure this one out. Almost all cat5-wiring-diagram networks now use a Hub. This is where each data port is a dedicated line running back to the hub. Most modern homes are built with an accessible ďDistribution CenterĒ.This is typically located near the breaker box. The only reason for this is just to keep the utility panels together as a matter of convenience. Itís a good idea to have the distribution center contain all communication wiring.For example, I would put a junction box for the phone systems in there. Also, I would put a network hub and a TV hub for my coax cables. So all the CAT5, Coaxial cables, speaker wires, and intercom wires will start from the distribution center and then branch off to all the different rooms.

It is always a good idea to run all the communication cables together. Theyíre easier to manage that way and you can keep everything organized all in one strand. The terminations for the RJ45 connectors are color-coded making it easier to keep the wiring order consistent.The wires each fit into a slot that cuts through the plastic coating and make a solid connection with the copper wire inside.

Youíll need a special tool for terminating RJ45 network cable.Terminating CAT5 is really easy, but it takes a little practice.Youíll want to cut the sheathing off about an inch down. Next, you will cut all the wires so theyíre even. There is a cutter on the crimper tool.After lining up the wires in the correct order, you take the connector and slide it over the wires with the tab down. They should each fit into each of the eight holes and you will be able to see if theyíre straight or if theyíre crossed anywhere.The crimper will have a slot for RJ-11 connectors and RJ-45 connectors. Slide it in the RJ-45 slot and crimp it down tight.

There is a high potential of error when terminating CAT5, so you may want to buy or rent signal testers and test the cables before you close things up.

Line testers will test all eight channels on RJ-45 connectors and they are also useful with regular phone line circuits.

For more information on cat5-wiring-diagram home network wiring, you can go to the network wiring section on this website.



Cable and satellite-tv-wiring

The cable used for cable and satellite-tv-wiring is called coax. Coax cable for TV antenna comes in 3 standard sizes, RG-59, RG-6, and RG-11.

Most homes use RG-59 because itís smaller and easier to work with. Itís terminated with a fitting called an ďFĒ connector.

The coax is shielded to prevent interference from higher voltage lines or fluorescent lights that might be too close. The coax needs to be trimmed and the shielding needs to be pulled back before the F-connector can be slid on and crimped.

The cable can be stripped with a coax stripper that leaves the perfect end for termination. I personally use a utility knife, it's just as fast.

The F-connector will close around the coax to form a tight connection.

You can use clamps to crimp the f-connectors or you can just buy the kind that screw onto the cable.

You will need to run the coax cable from a main hub to each room that will have a tv jack. The coax hub has an input where the cable from the antenna or the cable company will feed into it.

The hub will have many outlets for each room. The hub below is one of the many kinds of coax hubs available.

Each room that has tv service will have a tv jack which connects to the wall plate inside the walls.

Now, when we put everything together, we can keep all the phone lines, TV cable lines, network lines, and even speaker wiring neatly organized so they all run a straight line back to the distribution box.

These distribution boxes are nothing more than big, all-in-one hubs, but they give a look of completion and organization to a home.

Distribution boxes look confusing and intimidating at first, but everything has its proper place.

One thing to remember about cable and satellite-tv-wiring is that the coax is susceptible to electro-magnetic interference.

With that in mind you can either get quad cable in an RG-6 or an RG-11 (very bulky)or you can just be careful to not install the cable close to fluorescent lights or high voltage cables.

Try to keep the coax at least 12-inches away from these things and you should have static free tv.



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