Electrician, Meyer Electrical Services Inc.
Written by Walt Meyer

Basics of Home Electrical Code Compliance – Part 2

As discussed in Part 1, if you are doing major electrical work in your home, it would be wise to obtain the services of a building inspector to ensure compliance with all local electrical codes. Part 2 will discuss Typical Code Requirements.

For safety and the best results, work with a licensed electrician who is familiar with local codes and consult with the building department of your community.

Typical Code Requirements

The following will summarize the most typical code requirements for home electrical systems. However, keep in mind that the standards of a local building department will vary with each municipality.

Appliances, Fixtures & Receptacles – They require grounding and their manufacturing should be approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Boxes – Although plastic electrical boxes are commonly found in the USA and Canada, metal boxes are required by some building departments. In any case, purchase large boxes to prevent wires from being cramped inside. A box should be firmly attached to a framing member. A box for a remodeling project can be clamped to a wall surface.

Cable – Easiest to run, nonmetallic cable is approved by the majority of building departments. If cable is exposed, rather than installed behind plaster or drywall, armored conduit or cable may be required.

Circuits – The majority of 120-volt household circuits are 15 amps. All lighting is required to be on 15-amp circuits. A 20-amp circuit may be a requirement for kitchens or utility areas.

Service Panels – If a home does not need a new circuit, its electrical service panel, which may be an old fuse box, is likely adequate. When additional circuits are needed, a panel upgrade or an additional subpanel will probably be required.

Wire Size – It is advisable to utilize 12-gauge wire for 20-amp circuits, while 14-gauge wire for 15-amp circuits should be used. When cable runs exceed 500 feet in length, larger wire may be required.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991 and serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services you can trust, including:

  • Standby Generator Installation
  • Panel Upgrades (Heavy-Ups)
  • Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations
  • Structured Cabling
  • Circuit Breaker Replacement

Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.