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Electrical Wiring for a SIP Panel Home
By Dave Rongey
Summary: An introduction to installing electrical wiring with SIP panels and some of the great insulation values these panels provide.
The Basics of Building with Structured Insulated Panels<
Integrating Electrical Wiring
While there are some specific techniques that electricians and sub-contractors will need to become familiar with, building with SIPs will not create a significant roadblock in your construction and are definitely worth your consideration.
|Most SIP Panels provide standard 1 1/2” diameter electrical chases at 16” and 45” from the floor. Vertical chases are located 4’ on center. Special chases can also be installed into SIP Panels (i.e. for home theatres, special appliance and/or tool needs). Wiring is simply pulled through the chases during the construction process.|
SIP Panel Preparations and Wire Pulling
Bring your "home run" wire up through the sole plate and out the access hole. Pull enough wire out to go past the first receptacles or switch outlet. Bend a 4" to 6" loop at the end of the wire and push the wire horizontally down the chase to the last outlet. Leave 12" sticking out and pull a 12" to 14" loop out of each outlet.
From below, pull down on the wire at the "home run" location until the wire is tight. Make as many runs as needed, not to exceed 3 for #12 or 4 for #14 per electrical chase. When done, spray low expanding foam in the access hole and put the cut out piece back.
Insulation Values and Energy Efficiency Insulation Value of Building with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
|R-Value is a measure of a material's resistance to thermal movement. The higher the number the better the material is at insulating. According to the Dept. of Energy, thermal breaks such as corners, windows, doors, and stud walls dramatically reduce the stated R-Value of virtually every product on the market except SIPs. As an example, a 2x6-stud wall 24” OC with R-19 fiberglass bats has an R-Value of 13.7. A six-inch SIP wall has an R-Value of 24.7. Simply put, a 6" SIP wall out performs a 6" stud wall by 58%. SIPs have the following ratings, as viewed in the image (below)...|
Energy Efficiency of Building with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
|The energy efficiency of an entire wall assembly has been documented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The testing method takes into account energy losses for the structural members, corners, joints and around windows, not just the value of the insulation. Results of these tests are shown below:|
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.