Building codes, convention and specialized needs are all part of the need to consider where to place electrical outlets in your new home. However, one of the most common complaints heard from first-time home buyers is that there aren't enough outlets in the right places to serve all their needs.
It's serious business!
Your builder will usually ask for input and if you have any special requests. If your builder works with a lighting specialist or an electrical consultant, embrace the opportunity to carefully evaluate your present and future needs -- "walk" through your rooms virtually, and consider the way you live -- and the electrical appliances and devices that make life easier -- before you sign off on the electrical wiring plan for your new home. If you want four outlets on a specific wall rather than a single double receptacle, don't hesitate to ask for that during the planning stage. The extra charge will be well worth it to eliminate the nuisance of extra cords trailing along the baseboard.
New Home Construction Electrical Ideas
There's no doubt that technology has -- and will continue to have -- a major influence on the way we live in our homes. And, even though much of that new smart home technology is wireless, there is still a need to charge devices, recharge batteries, plug in portable appliances, and rearrange furniture when the mood strikes.
We have portable radios in the bathroom in addition to hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, clothing steamers and phones.
We mount televisions and game stations on the wall and outdoors on the patio; we use electric lawnmowers and edgers, decorate our homes for holidays, install landscape lighting on timers, and want accent lighting in odd places. Several decades ago, the height of "modern convenience" was a telephone jack in the bathroom; today, a TV is no more uncommon in the garage than a workshop full of power tools. Specific electrical gadgets may have changed, but the need for specialized electrical planning has increased.
Many households utilize home automation devices requiring a central hub or satellite modems, boosters and monitors. A majority of new digital "toys" must be plugged in on a regular basis.
Advance Planning Makes Digital Convenience a Reality
Modern homeowners also want greater flexibility throughout the home. Think about the convenience of floor outlets in the living room, multiple outlets grouped to accommodate home office needs or a device charging station in the kitchen without the trailing wires that create a safety hazard.
In bedrooms and playrooms, think about locating electrical outlets at specific points of use; desk-height outlets to plug in computers and lamps in a child's room, for example; or a built-in game center with a dedicated circuit and a strip of plugs rather than a standard duplex outlet.
Although building codes mandate specific placement of outlets for safety reasons, there are many options available to individualize electrical wiring: small appliance outlets on slide-out shelving in kitchen cabinets; shoulder-height outlets for an iron in the laundry room; outlets located high on the wall to accommodate art lighting are just a few possibilities.
Universal Design Considerations
Although many builders and electricians use a "standard" height for switches and outlets, newer universal design principles suggest that it may be safer and more convenient to raise the height of wall outlets several inches above what is now considered "normal." Doing so can put them out of the reach of crawling babies and toddlers and requires less stooping and bending from senior citizens. By the same token, lowering wall switches by a foot or so would put them within reach of younger children, and also within reach of anyone in a wheelchair.
In short, the electrical plan for your new home should be uniquely your own. All it takes is a lot of forethought and a bit of serious planning. If you want to make your home the best it can be, Aterra would like to be part of that effort!