my Old Workshop

How to plan an electrical circuit

Wiring a house from end to end can be a straightforward job, if you plan well ahead of time. But even something as seemingly small as rewiring a kitchen or wiring a new two-room addition can get complicated if you don’t put the time into planning the circuits ahead of time.

Start by brushing up on th electrical code, so you know how many outlets are required for a particular length of wall in specific rooms, how many outlets you can have on a circuit, what separate circuits you’ll need, and where you’ll need to allow for special considerations, such as three-way switches. Then map it out, trying to be as efficient as possible in the running of the wires and combinations of circuits.

To keep the diagram understandable, decide on a set of symbols you’ll use. Preferences for these vary, but here are some fairly common ones.

Start by making a floor plan of the area of the house you’re working on. Determine where you’re going to place each outlet and switch. Then draw a line showing where the electrical cable will run for each circuit. Do one circuit at a time. The final diagram might look something like this.