Renovating a house can be a wonderful experience. It is akin to breathing new life into your home and giving it a pristine look.
But even though it sounds like fun, renovating a house can become extremely troublesome especially if you’re ill-informed.
The most pivotal thing to ensure while renovating is choosing the right wire for your abode.
Wires are the heart and soul of your home. From charging your smartphone, washing your clothes, lighting up your rooms to even cooking your food these wires are at the center of it all.
Failure in choosing and installing correct wires in your home can lead to drastic circumstances.
Sky-rocketing electricity bills, flickering lights, malfunctioning appliances, and electrical fires are all caused by bad electrical wiring.
Since these predicaments are so severe one might believe that no one would be gullible enough to overlook these hazards, but Electrical Safety First’s survey suggests that 67% of the households simply overlook the wiring condition of their home.
The following tips will help you in choosing the right wires so that your home doesn’t become a breeding ground for deadly electric hazards.
1) WIRE MATERIAL
The material used in electric wires today is mostly ‘copper’ but houses that are 40-50 years old have aluminum wires. If you’re renovating your old home never compromise on the wire material and always go for copper wires.
Apart from being a good conductor of electricity, copper wires are not only easy to configure and install but its strength and durability ensure safety for a longer time period. These wires are corrosion-resistant and protect your appliances from extreme weather as it keeps humidity and moisture at bay.
Always check the ‘ISI mark’ and ‘electrolytic grade’ of your wires.
These are the parameters to test the quality and effectiveness of the wire. Always choose copper wires with ISI 694 part I mark and an electrolytic grade of 99.97% or higher.
2) WIRE SIZE
Wire sizes vary with respect to different applications and the wire gauge measure the appropriate size of the wire.
The wire size affects the amount of power wire can sustain. A bigger amperage means a smaller wire size.
For AC points opt for a wire size of 4 to 6 sq. mm, while for light points and power sockets choose 1.5 sq. mm and 2.5 sq. mm, wire sizes respectively.
Buy bulk wires of different gauge sizes and colors as per your amperage requirement. Bulk wires are cost-effective and thus necessary for a complete house renovation.
3) WIRE INSULATION
Wire insulation is the property that protects the wires from heat, moisture, and extreme temperatures.
The wire-lettering denotes the insulation type of each wire in this way:
HH-High resistance from heat
W-Efficient in wet locations
HRFR-Heat and fire-resistant
The best wire for your home should have three layers of insulation against water, heat and excessive temperatures. This will ensure a prolonged life span.
Always check if the wires you’re choosing can tolerate temperatures of +100 degree Celsius or not.
4) WIRE TYPES
Different types of wire are best-suited for different electrical applications.
Panel Feed Wires are THHN insulated wires that are necessary for powering the main junction box and the circuit breaker panels. These wires should be able to withstand a load of 25% more than the actual load.
Non-Metallic Sheathed Wires AKA Romex is common in modern houses.
These have 2-3 conductors and a ground wire. These are cheap and therefore preferred for house wiring.
Main Feeder Wires are necessary for joining the main service weather head to the house.
5) WIRE COLOR
The color codes on the wires have different meanings and applications. These codes vary from country to country e.g. In India only earth wire is green while in the USA three-phase wires are in different colors and neutral wire white or grey.
The wire color codes are:
BLACK-for switches and outlets
RED-Hot wire. Used to interlink two smoke detectors
BLUE AND YELLOW-Blue are for 3-4-way switch applications while Yellow wires are suited for fans, lights, etc.
GREEN AND BARE COPPER-Strictly for grounding purposes.
6) WATTAGE LOAD AND AMPACITY
Different appliances have individual wattage and amperage requirements. Similarly, wires also differ from each other in the same manner.
To counter electrical shocks, fires and to protect the appliances against any damage it is imperative to choose the wires in accordance with the requirements of your appliances.
Ampacity, simply put is the amount of electricity that can safely flow in the wire and Wattage is the maximum load a wire can sustain.
The ampacity and wattage conditions are always mentioned on the appliances. Failure in installing the right wires as per these requirements can have serious implications.
7) SPACE FOR WIRES
Different housing projects vary in size and shape. As mentioned earlier, wire sizes also vary due to distinct applications.
This diversity in wire sizes directly impacts the space required to safely house these wires.
Before embarking on buying wires for your home first list out the places where you need to install these wires and configure if the wire size is suitable to fit in the assigned place.
For example, a light switch with a single switch will require a different wire size then multiple switches. This means that a multi-switch receptacle requires a much bigger space.
Furthermore, if your house wiring renovation requires a larger current then the space requirement will also be fairly greater than other projects.
Renovating your home can be an amazing but equally tiring process. While renovating we always make sure to transform the decor and the ambience of the house, but we often overlook the necessity to change the wiring of our home. Wires degrade due to regular wear and tear and thus need replacement. Choosing the right wire is vital as failure to do so can lead to fires and electrical shocks. Always choose copper wires and check for wire insulation, color codes, amperage requirements and wire type before installation.