Residential Electrical CodesResidential electrical codes are in place to protect property and its occupants. The NEC, National Electrical Code, is also called NFPA 70. The NFPA, National Fire Protection Agency, publishes this standard list of specifics for safe installation. It’s updated every three years, occurring most recently in 2023. Reputable, licensed electrical contractors follow these standards to the letter. Electricity is very unforgiving. There’s no wiggle room for error. House fires can destroy property and its occupants.

Have An Electrical Whole-House Inspection

Have you lived in your home for many years? You might not have any issues if you bought it brand-new from a reputable contractor. You may need to implement changes if your home is several decades old to ensure your family’s safety. Your contractor can make recommendations based on the NEC code requirements to keep your home and family safe.

Local residential electrical codes adopt the NEC, National Electrical Code. You may find some variations regarding the electrical wiring. But all apply to residential, as well as commercial and industrial properties. You should check with your building department before completing a DIY electrical project. Electricity is tricky, and safety must come first. Use a professional electrician!

Some Electrical Basics

Older homes weren’t equipped with GFCI, ground-fault circuit interrupters, or outlets because they weren’t around yet. A GFCI outlet will trip, eliminating the electricity to that outlet due to an overloaded circuit or a faulty appliance. Unplug the machine, press the reset button, and try a different device. If it works, the previous appliance is either flawed or the circuit can’t support the amount of electricity it draws. When an outlet “shorts out,” it’s because it is literally short of available electricity. The 2023 NEC states that all newly built kitchens need a minimum of eight GFCI outlets.

An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, AFCI, is designed to interrupt the arc and is installed at the breaker box. If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, a thorough investigation is in order. Manufacturers developed both GFCIs and AFCIs to stop the flow of electricity to prevent electrocution. Electrical fire prevention starts with the proper hardware to handle your electrical needs properly.

Different Rooms – Different Electrical Needs

Kitchens use more electricity than any other room in your home. The current NEC code requires kitchens of newly built homes to have a minimum of eight circuits to accommodate appliances. Bathrooms, game rooms, and garages use more electricity than ever before. You may want to consider power tools. Do you have an extra fridge you’ve stocked with bulk necessities in the garage? Are there multiple electronic hand-held devices charging simultaneously everywhere you turn?

You must check every plug and cord to ensure it’s in good shape. Don’t wrap it with duct tape, and call it good if it’s frayed. Buy a new one for safety’s sake. Electrical materials for projects are the last place you want to take a shortcut – no pun intended.

Residential Electrical Codes Are Complex

All lighting requires a 15-amp or 20-amp circuit. Electricians use 14-gauge wire for 15-amp circuits and 12-gauge for 20-amp circuits. Standard light switches are four feet high from the floor to the bottom of the cover. The current code requires AFCI protection for new construction residential circuits for lighting and receptacles. The list of NEC residential code requirements is extensive and overwhelming.

Your property and family’s safety is paramount. Call JQ Electric for a thorough evaluation of your home’s entire electrical system. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing your family, belongings, and property are in good hands!