Basic Electrical Building Codes Explained

Anyone who is working on building a new home or remodeling their current home needs to have an understanding of the basic electrical building codes, especially if they plan to do the work on their own. Different states and localities may have slightly different codes, and you should take the time to read up on all of the codes that may apply to the area in which you live. The following are some of the basic electrical codes that apply to most areas. Keep these in mind when you are designing and remodeling your home.

Electrical Building Codes for the Kitchen

Because the kitchen in most homes has more appliances plugged in, including the refrigerator, the codes are more complicated than they are for many other parts of the house. The refrigerator, dishwasher, and garbage disposal need to have their own dedicated circuits. Lighting in the kitchen should have a 15-amp circuit. The receptacles above the counter tops and used for smaller appliances in the kitchen need to have GFCI receptacles on two 20-amp circuits. Other receptacles need to have 15-amp split circuits.

Electrical Building Codes for the Living Room, Bedrooms, and the Dining Room

All of the light fixtures in these areas should be on a 15-amp circuit. The main lights on the ceiling should not have a pull chain. They will need to have a wall switch that lets you turn the light on and off. This light switch should turn on a ceiling light or a receptacle. Each of the walls should have at least one outlet.

Electrical Building Codes for the Bathrooms

All of the receptacles in the bathroom need to be GFCI protected. All of the lighting in the bathroom should have a covering of some sort. It can be a shroud, lens, or globe. The purpose is to keep the area dry. The lights and the exhaust fans should have their own circuits.

Electrical Building Codes for the Closets

The closets can have one overhead light, but the light should not have a pull chain. You need to have a switch on the wall that allows you to turn the lights on and off.

Outside Lighting

Exterior lighting is also very important, and you still need to follow certain building codes. If you have exterior lighting, you must protect if from the weather. This means that the wiring should be sealed or that you should use underground cabling. Make sure all of the fixtures have a tight seal so that water from rain and snow cannot affect the fixture. Again, the electrical building codes for exterior lighting may differ from location to location. Check with your local electrical inspectors to determine what is appropriate for your area.

When building a new home, you can expect the electrical inspector to come out and check the lighting and electrical outlets. To save time and money, and to be sure that you comply with the codes, it is vital that you take the time to read and understand the codes for your area.