Basics of Electrical Codes for Homeowners – Part 3
As discussed in Part 2, the National Electrical Code (NEC) primarily covers general electrical installations. However, it also contains specific requirements for individual rooms. Part 3 will cover Bedrooms, Dining Room & Living Room, Garage, AFCI, and Tamper Resistant.
Bedrooms, Dining Room & Living Room
The above areas are usually moderate consumers of electricity. However, the electrical requirements for each are strongly defined and are typically powered by standard 120-volt 15-amp or 20-amp circuits.
Every room will need a wall switch installed inside the doorway, so lighting can be turned on upon entering. The switch controls a light located in the ceiling, on a wall, or an outlet with a lamp plugged in.
Receptacles located on walls may not be placed more than 12 feet apart. Every wall section that is wider than two feet must have a receptacle. A dining room will typically have a dedicated 20-amp circuit for an outlet powering an entertainment center, microwave, or window air conditioning unit.
Every newly built garage requires a dedicated 120-volt 20-amp circuit. However, outlets mounted on the garage’s exterior may also be powered by this circuit. Within the garage there should be a minimum of one switch that controls lighting. Installing a three-way switch between doors is recommended for convenience. At least one receptacle should be installed for every car space. Every receptacle must have GFCI protection.
There are now AFCI (arc-fault circuit-interrupter) requirements for new construction as mandated by the NEC. Most every branch circuit for home receptacles and lighting must now have AFCI protection, which helps prevent electrical fires caused by arcing.
Every standard receptacle must now be of the TR (tamper-resistant) type. This type of outlet utilizes a safety feature preventing children from inserting objects into the receptacle, which can result in injury from electrical shock or death from electrocution.
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