Electrical Installation in the House

Electrical installation house: planning the house electrical installation – basics, regulations and doing the house electrical installation yourself – everything you always wanted to know about the electrical installation in the house.

Electrical installation in the house: basics, planning, regulations and can you do the house electrical installation yourself?

A house without electricity? Inconceivably! Nowadays we use electrically powered devices and machines 24/7 without even realizing it. To ensure that the electrical supply for the respective devices is also guaranteed within your own four walls, the electrical installation in the house must be well thought out. Do you want to build or modernize? Do certain regulations for the electrical installation then have to be observed? What should be considered when planning the house electrical installation and can you do the house electrical installation yourself? Read on and get an overview of electrical installation in the house!

  • What does the term electrical installation in the house include?
  • Electrical installation House regulations: which standards must be observed for the electrical installation in the house?
  • How does a central home electrical installation differ from a decentralized one?
  • Which types of laying are used for the electrical installation in the house?
  • Which measures help to ensure efficient operation of the electrical systems in the house?
  • What points should be considered when planning a successful home electrical installation?
  • What are the dangers of an electrical installation?
  • Can you do the home electrical installation yourself?
  • Checklist: Which tools do you need for the electrical installation?

Due to the high demand, we have updated this article and added the questions “Checklist: Which tools do you need for the electrical installation?” and “What are the dangers of an electrical installation?”.

What does the term electrical installation in the house include?

An elementary part of every house electrical installation: Sockets - they must be professionally installed and connected.
electrical Socket

The fact that you don’t have to gather around a single socket to blow-dry your hair, watch TV and cook with the other residents is thanks to a sensible electrical installation in your home. From the lighting to the laying of sockets, to the power supply of large household appliances, the term electrical installation summarizes all measures for the power supply and electrical lighting in the low-voltage range in a household.
To ensure the functionality of domestic applications, electrical wiring must be laid. The installation of the distributors, FI switches, circuit breakers, overcurrent protection devices, lighting, electrical devices, sensors, switches, buttons, sockets and other electrically operated machines also fall within the scope of the electrical installation.
Finally, it must also be ensured that the electrical system complies with the applicable norms and standards and that all necessary safety and protective measures have been taken.

Electrical installation House regulations: Which standards must be observed for the house electrical installation?

From bananas to lightbulbs – almost everything is standardized these days. The standards and regulations are all the more important when it comes to electrical installation since it is not just about functionality, but safety within your own four walls. When planning the electrical installation and carrying out the electrical installation in the house, strict compliance with the numerous norms, regulations and standards must be observed.

With regard to the electrical installation in the house, two applicable standards should be emphasized:

  • DIN 18015 standard
  • RAL RG 678

In the DIN 18015 standard, you will find all the information on the minimum equipment of living spaces, basics for planning the house electrical installation, details on the arrangement of cables and their routing as well as the arrangement of equipment. The standard generally regulates electrical installations in residential buildings and specifies, for example, the number of circuits and sockets permitted per apartment and room.

What does the guideline RAL-RG 678 prescribe?

The RAL-RG 678 guideline is an addition to DIN 18015. It defines standards in relation to the requirements for energy efficiency and comfort and divides the resulting categories into classes. The more asterisks mark a class, the higher the standard. The RAL-RG 678 takes into account topics such as lighting, heating technology and roller shutters. But the control of fire and burglary protection also includes these guidelines.
With VDE DIN 0100, the VDE determines which requirements apply to the planning, construction and control of electrical systems. This standard relates to living spaces as well as public buildings and commercial buildings.

How does a central home electrical installation differ from a decentralized one?

If the domestic electrical installation is centrally aligned, all important electrical devices, components and assemblies are housed in a distribution box. The advantage of this embodiment is that troubleshooting can be carried out more quickly and easily. However, the lines are usually relatively long in order to connect the respective consumers in the household to the distribution box. In order to keep the voltage drops as low as possible, the exact calculation of the required cable length is of great importance.
In contrast to the central electrical installation, the equipment in the decentralized embodiment is arranged in the immediate vicinity of the power consumers. This achieves a better overview and fewer lines and cables are required. In addition to the cost reduction due to the lower material consumption, the decentralized electrical installation offers the advantage of better fire protection compared to the central variant.

Which types of laying are used for the electrical installation in the house?

There are various options for laying the electrical installation in the house. The three common methods include:

  • surface-mounting
  • concealed installation
  • In-plaster installation

Concealed installation: Concealed installation is primarily used when the cables should not be visible. Therefore, this type of laying is often used in work and living spaces. The electrical installation is carried out in protective pipes or screeds and must be carried out in areas standardized according to DIN 180 15-3 in order to prevent accidental damage to the cables.

Cable duct: an important and indispensable accessory in the home electrical installation.
Cable duct

On-wall installation: When laying on plaster, the electrical installation runs through cable ducts that are exposed and therefore obvious. When only a few cables need to be routed, pipes are usually used, while cable trays and cable ducts are used for installing many cables. Cables can also be laid on the wall or skirting boards with the help of nail clamps. Surface-mounted installation is often used in garages, attics, damp rooms, cellars and storage rooms.
In-plaster laying: With this type of laying, the domestic electrical installation is laid in plaster with a web cable or something similar.
Furthermore, concrete, wooden or cavities and suspended ceilings offer options for standard-compliant cable laying.

Which measures help to ensure efficient operation of the electrical systems in the house?

An increasingly important topic in companies as well as in private households is the reduction of energy consumption. Even if the energy consumption of pure electrical installations currently accounts for just over 10% of the total consumption of a household, the wasteful consumption of electrical energy can be avoided if the electrical systems are operated efficiently. In addition, household energy consumption in the area of ​​heating and air conditioning is expected to decrease constantly in the coming years, and energy consumption through electrical systems will take on an increasingly larger share. But which basic measures contribute to energy efficiency in one’s own household?
The use of modern and energy-efficient electrical appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, washing machines and dishwashers make an important contribution to domestic energy efficiency. The energy consumption labelling according to the EU directives provides an overview of the energy consumption and the energy efficiency class of the respective device.
In addition to the installation of energy-efficient devices, an effect can also be achieved with the optimized operation of the electrical installation. For example, lighting and large electrical appliances can be controlled and switched automatically. So that these energy-saving measures can also be used optimally, energy efficiency should be considered from the outset when planning the electrical installation.

Tip: Smart homes offer particularly high efficiency and savings potential. Thanks to intelligent control, the heating system, the lighting and the electrical devices integrated into the smart home can be used in an energy-saving manner. 

What points should be considered for a successful home electrical installation?

There are a few things to consider when installing electrical systems on your own four walls. In the following, we will give you a few basic points that you should not ignore when planning and laying the electrical installation in the house.
When planning the electrical installation, always consider the large power consumers that are connected to the power grid. Large electrical appliances such as dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerators and washing machines should each have their own supply line and be protected with a circuit breaker. In general, each room should have at least its own and separately secured supply line. In this way, you avoid high current loads and reduce the risk of electrical fires in the home.
Secure expensive devices in the distributor with surge protection. For particularly sensitive devices such as laptops or computers, it is advisable to also operate them via a multiple socket strip with overvoltage protection. To ensure that the entire house does not remain without a power supply in the event of a problem, you should install an RCD on at least every floor. In households with small children, sockets with child protection should also be provided in the required places. Don’t forget to equip every room with a smoke detector.

The telephone connection socket is also part of the house electrical installation and must be taken into account when planning the electrical installation.
telephone connection socket

Furthermore, when planning the electrical installation, you should not forget to include foreseeable developments and future needs. Even if one antenna and telephone connection per household used to be sufficient, today one is required in almost every room from the office to the children’s room. If you do not need the connections, for the time being, you should at least save space for future retrofitting with empty sockets and empty pipes.

What should be considered when setting up the meter cabinet?

For the mentioned communication connections as well as network, intercom and building system technology, it is advisable to keep a communication field free in the meter cabinet. All communication connections can be accommodated here and routed to the respective components and connections. Also, think about future projects in the meter cabinet and leave enough space for later upgrades. When laying the electrical installation flush, it is advisable to lay pipes so that lines can be easily replaced later and circuits can be easily expanded.
Pay particular attention to the planning of the lighting and use motion detectors in the hallway, garage, stairwell and in the entrance area outside to save energy. Energy costs can also be saved in the heating circuit. To do this, heat each room individually and control the temperature in each case with thermostats.

TipWhen planning, also include special requests such as television and network connections in certain rooms and the installation of an e-charging station. If in doubt, you can use empty pipes to keep space free for subsequent installation work. 

What are the dangers of an electrical installation?

The electrical installation must not only function but also be safe. Because with today’s exposure to a large number of electrical devices, permanently connected consumers and decentralized energy generation from renewable energy sources, the demands on an electrical installation have increased and are associated with numerous risks that should be prevented.
In old buildings, in particular, a load level can quickly be reached for which the electrical installation is not designed. Not to mention sources of danger such as defective cables, loose terminals and screw connections, missing protective conductors and excessive fuses.

The dangers of an electrical installation can be summarized as follows:

  • functional failure
  • Electric shock
  • Electrical Destruction
  • fire

To protect against all these dangers, a comprehensive protection concept should be developed for every electrical installation.

What is part of the protection concept for electrical installations?

The protection options for electrical installations go far beyond basic protection through proper insulation and main equipotential bonding (PE). The use of interlocking protective components minimizes the risk posed to people and systems by hazards such as fault currents, fire and overvoltages.
A protection concept for the electrical installation includes the following components:

  • circuit breaker
  • earth leakage circuit breaker
  • safety switch
  • fire protection switch
  • Overvoltage protection

In addition to basic protection, fault protection, i.e. protection against indirect contact, is implemented using the RCD and MCB.
A further risk minimization can be guaranteed by additional protection against accidental contact with a personal safety switch and fire and end device protection with the fire protection switch and overvoltage protection.
Together, the protective components form a comprehensive and reliable protection concept for electrical installation.

Note: Be sure to regularly check your protective devices for safety and functionality.

Can you do the house electrical installation yourself?

Can you do the home electrical installation yourself? Working on the domestic electrical installation involves the risk of an electric shock and should therefore always be carried out by trained electricians. However, there are tasks in both new construction and renovation projects that you can take on yourself. These activities should always be carried out under the supervision of a trained electrician and with the power off.

While you should leave the planning of the telephone connection, cable connection, equipotential bonding, house connection box and the sub-distribution board in the residential building as well as the choice of the meter cabinet to a professional company, you can also take on the planning activities yourself with some previous knowledge. To do this, take the floor plan of the house and determine the respective circuits and connections room by room. In the case of a new building, consider the wishes of the client and structural cut-outs for electric pipes, cable ducts and distributors.
Once the circuits and connections have been established, slots can now be chiselled and flush-mounted sockets set. You can also install the meter cabinet and set up the sub-distributors yourself. The next step is to lay the pipes and lines according to plan. With the help of a specialist, ensure that the installation is carried out professionally and in accordance with the standards. Particular attention should be paid to areas where no cables or pipes may be routed and sharp bends or routing along sharp edges should be avoided.
A clear installation plan is the be-all and end-all and will help you to implement the electrical installation without dangerous tangles of cables. The final step is to close the slots and close the switch boxes with the appropriate cover for installation under plaster. When you are finally done with the activities you have carried out, have them carefully checked by a trained specialist.

Checklist: Which tools do you need for the electrical installation?

  • Would you like to do some work yourself and are wondering whether you are well equipped? The following tools are often required for electrical installation:
  • Wire Stripper: Where electricity is to flow, cables must be connected and for this, the electrical conductors of the cable must first be exposed. With wire strippers, cables can be stripped particularly easily and without annoying damage.
  • Crimping pliers: As an alternative to soldering, the ends of electrical conductors are often fitted with ferrules. This inseparable crimp connection can be made quickly with crimping pliers or cable lug pliers.
  • Wire cutters: These pliers, known as wire cutters or cable cutters, are specially designed for cutting wire. Even thick cables can be cut cleanly with it. It is often necessary to use them before crimping or stripping cables.
  • Cable tie pliers: Thanks to the adjustable tension, cables with cable ties can be ideally organized. The cable ties can be tightened manually or using cable tie pliers. Sometimes it is also referred to as a cable tie gun.
  • Voltage tester: With voltage testers, you can trace the current. With the help of the single-pole (“phase tester”) and two-pole voltage tester, cables can be checked for current and the level of the voltage can be determined. This tool is not only practical but also safety-related.
  • Multimeter: With a multimeter, you can measure what the stuff holds. This multimeter can be used to measure multiple variables such as current, voltage and resistance for DC and AC voltage.
  • Once you have been equipped with the basic tools, you can also use other tools, such as cable pullers, gas soldering irons, site power distributors, wall chasers and many more, depending on the application, to ensure the success of your installation work.

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