Planning is 50% of the project…
As a contractor in the residential market, I am finding that when people want to upgrade a room in their home like the kitchen or bathroom, electrical requirements for the new space are not being planned for. It is much more expensive for the homeowner to ask an electrician to put a receptacle in once the cabinets have been installed. Also, installing a switch in a finished wall generally takes more time than when the drywall hasn’t been screwed to the wall yet.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Almost all projects within the home require you to take into consideration what the electrical needs of your space are going to be. For instance, upgrading a kitchen to meet today’s electrical codes requires you to look at the breaker panel to see if you have enough space to accomplish your project. A new panel may be required if you are planning a larger renovation. Arc fault breakers take up 2 spaces in a panel. And, arc fault breakers are not always available for the type of panel that is in your home. This requires the electrician to install dead front devices next to the panel so the circuits are properly protected. This takes extra time and money.
Split receptacles are no longer allowed in kitchens and need to be replaced with 20 amp receptacles. This requires new 12 gauge wire to be run to the counter plugs in the kitchen. The 2 pole 15 amp breakers then need to be replaced with 20 amp breakers.
The cost for electrical is usually about 10-15% of your total project budget. Remember this when you are thinking about any project you have in mind.
Planning for electrical will definitely save you time and money. Speak to your electrician prior to your project and get his/her advice on what would be the best options for you to complete your project safely, efficiently and conform to today’s electrical code.