Home Wiring – Do it Yourself

-Based off of 100~120V electrical circuits in Japan (For those of you who use 200V, you can still use the same principles):

Disclaimer (This article is purely for informational purposes, and it is at the sole discretion of the reader to determine whether or not the content is safe and accurate. I am writing from my own personal experiences as well as the second opinion of professionals and have found them to be sound. But the end decision to use these methods and any subsequent “results” are none other than the readers responsibility. Furthermore, this article is not in any way endorsing the tampering of electrical systems in regions where this is prohibited by law.)

junction box on wallAdding electrical wiring to your home involves crossing a particular line – one that can seem a little scary. We’ve all heard the “it can’t be done” stories, and the “it’s too dangerous” stories – as well as the “your home-owners insurance can be invalidated” ones too. Now that’s a scary thought! Obviously, if you tamper with your wiring, do something iffy, and burn your house down because of it…well, I don’t blame them. So here are a few things to keep in mind.

First rule of thumb: NEVER do anything you’re not absolutely sure of! That’s right. When in doubt, DON’T! Now on this rule the rest will follow.

Cutting costs and corners in your home improvements is all well and good, but they come with their risks. For example, when you decide to partake of the wonders of the circular saw, you assume the responsibility of using it right so as to avoid an accident. Electrical wiring is the same, and like any other profession, if you learn to do it right you CAN do it right – it’s that simple. There’s nothing to really be afraid of. In this article I’m going to cover the basics of simple electrical wiring. The most common home improvement wiring needs are probably just your honest-to-goodness lighting and power sockets. Say you made or are making an additional room and want to draw power to that room.

Choosing your cable & cable gauge

The next thing to consider after having decided what you need the power for, is the type of power cable. There are many, many different kinds of cable out there, and it’s important to know how to choose your cable. Here in Japan we use 2mm copper cable for all power outlets, and 1.6mm for light fixtures. 2mm’s can safely handle up to about 2.3 Kws, and 1.6mm’s about 1.8. (Make sure these cables have sufficient insulation as well) So being that the standard breaker runs at 2 Kws, it’s safe to use the above gauges. Be sure to use new or unused cable, unless you’re sure the cable isn’t damaged. Little nicks or gouges in the copper cause the cable diameter to be that much smaller, possibly leading to overheating at that point and even fire.

Cutting cable down to size and laying

Now it’s time to clip the cables down to the length you will be needing. Measure the length and add 20 centimeters. Make sure you add in the vertical points as well. Strip the appropriate amount of insulation off the ends and prepare cable for attachment. I will assume your walls are in the “ribbing” stage where all that’s left to do is the tacking of the drywalling or whatever finish you have planned. Giving enough slack for the cable to poke out the socket hole of the wall, U-nail the cable down against the wall studs. This goes without saying that there should be some kind of ribbing going over the studs creating a niche between the ribbing boards where the cable can pass.

It’s best to pass the cable along the base of the wall as much as possible so as to avoid areas where someone may unknowingly rupture the cable via an innocent nail or screw once the wall is up.

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