Top Resource Home Wiring: How To Do Electrical Wiring Yourself
Have you just bought a new, state-of-the-art stereo system for your house? Or perhaps you are thinking about installing a computer network or sound system throughout all the rooms in your home? If so, then you are probably wondering just how you will hide all of those new cables and wires! Ugly black and grey wires can really ruin the look of a room, so it is important to take the time to do your wiring right! By running your wires through the walls in your home, you can access some great technology and achieve that professional look!
Why Do It Yourself?
Wiring is not everybody’s forte, but when approached carefully, even the most electrically-absentminded can hook up some simple electrical wiring for a home stereo or computer network. And, by doing the wiring yourself, you can actually reap a number of benefits:
- Reduced Cost: By running your own wires through the walls in your home you can save large amounts of money. Professional electricians can cost you thousands of dollars, and, unless you have a very big job to do, it isn’t always worth the money.
- Personalized Touch: By running your own wiring systems you can fashion the stereo system, computer network, or home theater of your dreams. You determine what kind of cable you want to use, where you want to connect your outlets, and all the other little details.
- Easy Repairs: If you run your own wiring through your walls, you will be better prepared to make any future repairs. The person who sets the wiring system up is familiar with all the ins and outs of that system. Therefore, if something should go wrong in the future, you will be able to save on future repair costs.
Before you start your home wiring project, you will need to consider a few things first.
While you may be eager to start running wires through every room in your house, it is a good idea to check with your local Housing Board about local electrical codes first. Some counties have laws that prohibit homeowners from installing their own electrical wiring, while other counties require you to purchase a permit before starting on any wiring project. There are also rules about the types of wires that you can use. Look for cable that has a CL-3 rating, which ensures that it is fire retardant.
There are a few wiring no-nos that every do-it-yourselfer needs to know before laying a single wire.
- Don’t run wires or cables close to existing high-voltage lines. This can cause electrical interference, so try to run your cables at least 16" away from these lines. If you need to cross them, do so at a 90 degree angle.
- Be careful when you drill through walls. If you drill through a pipe or existing wires, you could cause major damage or start a fire.
- Always wear protective clothing when pushing wires through a wall. If you have insulated walls, pieces of insulation can come loose and may become lodged in your skin.
Your Wiring Plan
Before you drill a single hole in the wall, design an electrical plan that will outline exactly where you are going to run your wires. Generally, wires run vertically from floor to ceiling, ending up in the basement or attic. Depending upon the type of house you have (bungalow, two-storey, three-storey), you may want to pick your either your basement or attic as the ending point for your wires. Draw a plan of your rooms on a piece of graph paper and mark down where you want your wires to run. Remember, it is important to place wire ends and electrical outlets close to the appliance or piece of equipment that it is going to attach to. There is nothing worse than installing an outlet too far away from the place it should end up!
Materials You Will Need
Before you can start running cables and wires through your walls, you will need to collect a few basic tools, including:
- a drill and a spade drill bit (for making holes in the wall)
- appropriate wires and cables (buy your cables on a bulk spool, to ensure that you have enough line)
- electrical outlets/faceplates
- electrical tape
- tape measure
- fish tape
Wiring Your Walls
Wiring your walls will take time and effort, but if you proceed step-by-step you will have a wonderful result! For quicker results, ask a friend to help you.
- With your pencil, trace out the location of your electrical outlet on the wall. This should be located at the bottom of your wall, away from a stud and at least eight inches from any existing outlets.
- Using your measuring tape, measure the distance from floor to ceiling just above this electrical outlet.
- If you are sending the wire down from the attic, locate the corresponding position in the attic wall. Drill a small hole in the wall. Using your flashlight, check and see if the run down the wall is clear. If it isn’t, you need to find another route for your wires.
- If you are sending the wire up from the basement, drill a hole in the ceiling beneath the position of the future electrical outlet. Be careful not to drill though your floorboards! Again, look for a clear route for your wires.
- Return to the room that you are wiring. Cut out the tracing of your electrical outlet.
- Go back to the attic or basement (whichever one you are wiring from). Drop or push up your fish line through the hole you have just drilled.
- Run back to the room you are wiring and pull out the end of the fish line. Attach your wire to the end of the fish tape using your electrical tape.
- Head back to the attic or basement and pull out the fish line. Your wire should be pulled through the wall!
- Attach the wire to your electrical supply (located in the attic or basement). Then, return to your newly wired room and install the faceplate on the new electrical outlet.