We are the experts you need on your new construction team to provide the design for the electrical system of your new home. We will work with you all the way to create a workable plan for your wants and needs that will fit into your budget.
New Home Electrical Construction
As if there weren't already enough decisions to make during the homebuilding process, another one to think about is your electrical. For most people, this will probably be the first time you'll have to think about electrical in your home. While this may be a little more work, it's also an advantage. You can have your house wired exactly how you want, so your switches and outlets are where you expect them to be. It’s important to think through your electrical plan and come up with what works for you.
Let's start with outlets - for the most part, your electrician will install outlets according to code. While this is standard and will work for most people and in most rooms, there are certain areas you may want to consider changing. Here's a somewhat comprehensive list of areas to consider:
- Outlet in a cabinet or closet for charging a vacuum
- Outlets in pantry for charging or for appliances
- Outlet in master closet for steamer/iron
- Outlets behind/near TV area, computer area (family room, master, media room, offices)
- Outlets in bathroom cabinets - for razors, hair dryer, etc.
- Outlet placement in backsplash or around island (to either conceal the outlets or place them in a more useful location depending on how you'll use them)
- Outlets in the eaves on the exterior of home for Christmas lights (pro-tip: ask for these outlets to be put on a switch to make turning on your Christmas lights even easier!)
- Exterior outlets on front porch or other key places around the exterior of your home for Christmas lights, outside decor, or to use tools that require electricity
- Outlets in the yard and end of driveway area for landscape lighting
- Outlets in the floor in the living room (where lamps might go beside couch) or in an office for a floating desk
- Outlets on either side of where you plan to put your bed without running out of outlets. (think lamp + cell phone + occasional humidifier)
- Separate 20A circuit (220V if your tools need it) with outlets at waist height in the garage to plug in tools/specific outlet locations in the garage if you're planning to have a workshop area
- Include at least one 50A/220V circuit in the garage for an electric car. If you're planning on being in your house for any amount of time, there's a good chance you'll need this in the future.
- Outlets for any tech (networking/tech closet, charging station)
- Outlet in master water closet for night light or air freshener
- Some people like to hide their outlets in their baseboard (if the baseboard is white, the outlet will blend in).
Next you will need to consider the placement of your switches. This can be hard to do if your home hasn't been constructed yet. It helps if you look at your floor plan and visualize walking through the space. Try and picture how you would walk through your home and where you'd expect to reach out and turn a light on or off. We recommend physically walking through the home once the walls are framed as if you live there to determine the best location for switches. Here are a few things to consider:
- Utilize multi-way switches anywhere you would be coming in from different directions (for example, you can enter our kitchen area from the back hallway, the master, or the living room, so you may have three different switches in three different locations so that you can turn the kitchen light on no matter where you’re entering the kitchen from)
- It's often forgotten, but if you are going to have an attic, be sure to put a light switch to the attic in the hallway (and remember to put lighting in the attic in general) so that you can turn the light on prior to climbing up there.
- Now that you're able to walk through the house, watch out for places that switches might be obstructed by things like doors - that could be a real annoyance to have to swing a door away from a switch every time you want to turn on a light!
- During the walk-through, there may be some slight adjustments needed to the location of the switches you had already planned. Occasionally we will need to move a couple switches because the boxes wouldn't fit once the final framing was in place. Be prepared to have to make some changes.
Speaking of switches, there are also different styles. Our builder typically uses toggle switches, but we offer the option to upgrade to rocker switches. They have the exact same function. It comes down to your preferred style. Rocker switches, often referrered to as “Decora,” also match most types of modern dimmer, timer and smart switches giving the switches a more uniform look.
Other electrical things you may want to consider:
- Placement of lighting (interior and exterior - consider where you might want to place flood lights)
- Ceiling fan placement
- Lighting in attic, closets, the pantry, coat closet, and hallway closets
- Jamb switches or motion sensor lighting (this is usually nice for closets and the pantry, or any rooms where lights are often forgotten and left on. The motion sensor will ensure that they turn off - saving electricity!)
- Stairway lighting
- Under cabinet lighting or lighting in upper glass cabinets (if your home has them)
- If you have a crawl space foundation, be sure to add lights down there for anyone who might need to go down there in the future
- Consider whether you will want a generator, as we will need to install a transfer switch for this now or be able to in the future without finish damage.
- As an alternative to a generator, think about if you're going to install solar panels or a battery so that can be accounted for. Again, now or in the future as provisions during construction equate to substantially less cost and mess to add these systems in the future. Your builder can assist you with new home energy credits for building a “PV” ready home.
- Landscape lighting