The Electrical Contractor Network

ECN Electrical Forum
Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Books, Tools and Test Equipment for Electrical and Construction Trades

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#8277 - 03/14/02 08:45 PM Wiring for the future
JMichael Offline
Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Norwich, NY, USA
I am asked this question time and time again, just thought I would see what everyone else thinks on the topic.
When you wire/rewire my home will the wiring become obsolite or dangerous in the next 20-30 years?
When I wire I try to leave as much as possible on the circuit. Ie each room has its own lighting circuit. The receps has its own in 12ga. The reason for this is because who knows what the future will bring. I mean heck we could have air conditioned ceiling fans 10-20 years from now. (Not that a 15 amp circuit would do much for it.) But for those customers/clients who want to wire for the future. how much is enough? what would you do?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#8278 - 03/15/02 12:59 PM Re: Wiring for the future
wirewiz Offline
Registered: 01/27/02
Posts: 123
Loc: WA.
Unless someone has a crystal ball I don't think that question could be accurately answered. I think the best thing you could do is wire for future expansion. Which could be allowing a chase for power and phone cable etc. to an accesable space so you can add what maybe required in the future.
#8279 - 03/15/02 05:32 PM Re: Wiring for the future
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
To add to the other post, help yourself out in the future by adding a few "spare/future" runs to different places, have ample breaker space in your panel[s], add a few unused stubs in walls, and so forth.
Make it so in the future you can add or revise things without tearing up too much stuff!

Your conductors if installed properly now will not have any hazards in the future.
A good example is Knob and Tube installs. The ones that have not been messed up are working fine now. Other example would be Romex installed in the late 50's / early 60's. If not damaged, it works fine.

Keep these items in mind when your planning the Electrical power and signal systems.

Scott SET
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
#8280 - 03/15/02 06:02 PM Re: Wiring for the future
The Watt Doctor Offline
Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Mont Belvieu, TX
You pose a question that I have often asked myself. I have come to the conclusion that the answer given by wirewiz and scott is about the best that could (or should) be expected. Notice the following:
1. What if your customer spends an additional $1000.00 to "wire for the future", and then circumstances force him to sell the house? The $1000.00 he spent will not increase the value of that house one dime. It might increase it to us because we are electricians, and understand that there is value there, but the average consumer would probably care less.
2. What if he never does anything extra to his house? That $1000.00 would be spent for nothing.
3. I have people tell me that they want to put their panel on the inside of their house. When I ask them why, they tell me that if a breaker trips they won't have to go outside to reset it. I respond by asking them, "how often do breakers trip?" They reply, "Not very often." Taking into consideration the clearances required in article 110, I would say that it is foolish to give up the space required to install a panel inside the house when breakers do not trip very often. JM, you know as well as I do that that space must be clear. Why give it up. It's as if they are anticipating that there will be problems with the electricity before the house is even built.
4. Making reasonable provisions for the future is fine, but "overkill" is like #3 above. How can we even predict what the next 10-20 years will have in store?
I am glad to see you ask the question. It shows that you care enough about your customers to consider their future. The other extreme is wiring to absolute minimum. That's another topic all together. "Balance Grasshopper, is the key."

[This message has been edited by The Watt Doctor (edited 03-15-2002).]
The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX
#8281 - 03/15/02 07:18 PM Re: Wiring for the future
CTwireman Offline
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I believe that our current standards in the Code are more than adequate. Of course, there is nothing wrong with over-wiring, but most of the time it is not necesary.

And of course, there are other factors to consider. Copper is pretty cheap right now. What if the price of it goes up? Then you may have to rethink installing #12 on everything and using extra circuits. And dont count on the cost of electricity staying low forever, either.

Hopefully, lighting and appliances will become more enery efficient in the next 10-20 years. That will reduce the need for extra wiring too.
#8282 - 03/15/02 07:27 PM Re: Wiring for the future
CTwireman Offline
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I do think, however, that provisions should be made for future technology upgrades. For instance, photo voltaic systems are becoming more and more popular. Why not run a few empty conduits up into the attic for this purpose? Dont forget about fuel cells, either. Hopefully, those will come into widespread use too.

[This message has been edited by CTwireman (edited 03-15-2002).]
#8283 - 03/16/02 07:22 AM Re: Wiring for the future
Tom Offline
Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
I think the best you can do is make sure there are some breaker spaces left in the panel, the service is not loaded more than 60% or so and install spare raceways from the panel to the attic, basement, crawlspace, etc.

I also stick in a couple of pieces of 3/4" pvc from the basement or crawlspace to the attic and drill a few 1" holes in the top & bottom plate on an interior wall & put in pullstrings. This allows for future power or data cables to be installed. Takes about an hour & the material cost is about $5 to $10.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
#8284 - 03/16/02 03:30 PM Re: Wiring for the future
JMichael Offline
Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Norwich, NY, USA
I am fortunate enough to have the majority of my business as referal's. (90%) Because everyone of my clients know that I am there for there intrests first not my own. I do my best to explain what I can in laymans terms. I used to be like them afraid of electric and would not even dare look at it.. Just the thought of touching a panel made me cringe. But after the schooling and lots of additional training and of coarse hands on expirence, I try to share my knowledge with the customer. This is not to say I am teaching them what to do. But I am explaining what I am doing so at the end when they get my bill they arent left wondering if what I did was truly justified. I beleive an educated customer is a happy customer. A happy customer turns around and tells everyone about you..
OK a little off topic but I want to give everyone of my clients the best that there is. So when I wire I try my best to wire for the future. Especially when it comes to landscape lighting. UGH! Nothing worse then running out of feeds when lighting a yard.



2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box

Recent Posts
Forum Styles
by Admin
01/24/17 02:22 PM
License exam
01/23/17 09:16 PM
Looking for older post
by sparkyinak
01/23/17 12:27 AM
Members: Non-Members: Did you know?
by Admin
01/22/17 02:34 PM
Safety at heights?
by HotLine1
01/21/17 08:51 PM

Who's Online
1 registered (Admin), 97 Guests and 14 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
New in the Gallery:
Desk-mounted "power-board"
Top Posters
gfretwell 9066
Trumpy 8560
pauluk 7693
HotLine1 6833
sparky 5545
Member Spotlight
Member Since: 08/17/06
Posts: 358

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals