Rewiring an Older Home
How many circuits are needed when rewiring an older home? Planning the Electrical Panel Size and the Number of Circuits, and Local Code Considerations.
Electric Circuits for an Older Home
Electrical Question: How many circuits are needed when rewiring an older home?
I am rewiring a 1200 sq. ft. 4 bedroom and 1 bath old house.
- Will 12 spaces for circuit breakers be enough?
- Are twin circuit breakers safe to use?
This electrical question came from: Flora, from Lawton, Oklahoma.
Thanks for your electrical question Flora.
Installing Circuits for an Older Home
Application: Upgrading Electrical Circuit Wiring
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits and Extension Cord. All safety measures must be taken for your protection while working around environmental and construction hazards and when working with all types of tools.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the project, the type of construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the project area should be identified, turned OFF and Tagged. Old electrical wiring that will be replaced with new electrical wiring should be removed.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Electrical Panel Size and the Number of Circuits
The number of circuits that are required for a home rewire project will depend on a number of things, including but not limited to the size of the home, the number of bedrooms and the number of bathrooms, however this is just the starting point. The following items must be considered as well before determining the size of the panel and the number of circuit that will be required:
- Kitchen Circuits
Electric cooking appliances that require dedicated circuits, such as a microwave oven, electric range or cook top stove.
- 240 Volt Equipment
Special attention should be given to all electric equipment and appliances such as the Water Heater, Clothes Dryer, Heating and Air Conditioning.
- Local Codes
The building department in your area will provide a list of local electrical codes and requirements specific to the home location.
- Circuit Breakers and the Main Panel
Twin or tandem circuit breakers may be used where the panel specifically allows and the breakers are fully compatible with the make and model of the electric panel, however it is best to plan out the number of circuits and provide a panel with enough room for full size circuit breakers.
Home electrical rewiring projects should always be done with a permit and all the work must be inspected.
More about Home Electrical Wiring
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Electrical Code Articles for Home Wiring
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!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, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard 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.
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