Technical aspects of electrical planning

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Technical aspects of electrical planning

Holly Cottage Kent Living Room Design. Example of electrical planningIt is hard to summon up much excitement about doing an electrical plan during a renovation, but you will be so glad if you take the time to do one properly. A room where the sockets and light switches are in the right place is so much more comfortable to live in rather than one where you have to grope around in the dark to in order to turn on the lamps. I like one flick of a switch to do it all- or nearly all.

One of the first things to do when you start planning a room is a furniture layout- even a rough sketch will do. This is where the invaluable skills of an Interior designer will come in if using one. Once you have that and you know where, for example your sofas will be, you can mark on where each socket should be placed. It is a myth that they do not cost much and you should put in more than you need. Sockets are not that attractive and the chasing of the wires into the wall can considerably increase the bill from your electrician.

Switches are a challenge to understand: there are 3 gang, two-way toggle, dolly or dimmer modes. This is where the experience of a good interior designer, lighting specialist really comes to the fore especially if you want a particularly complicated lighting set up. But if going it alone, remain calm. Gangs indicate the number of switches on the plate and each switch controls a different circuit. So a 3-gang switch would control 3 circuits, which might be the ceiling spots, table lamps and wall lights. Ways indicate the number of switches controlling the lights. So if you have one switch at one end of a corridor and one at the other working one set of lights, that is a one gang, two way switch. Specify the switch plates you want, but let the electrician buy them, as it can be confusing and there is no saving in doing it yourself.

Bedrooms are the place where you need to be methodical. You ideally want to be in control of all lighting from one side of the bed, as well as the door. Place your switches above the bedside table and a few inches away from the bed. Put lamps on a 5 amp wall plugs or you will go mad hoping in and out of bed to switch them on and off.

Finally where possible put them on dimmers: the strength of light you need will change a lot throughout the day. Be extra careful with advent of LED lighting dimmers need to work in a different way, and so always consult a good electrician or interior/lighting designer.