The Electrical Walk-Through

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Your home is rising from the ground and you can see what is to come! The dream home you and your designer created is coming to life. At RDS, this is such an exciting time! Your design is literally appearing before your eyes. 

Now comes the time to walk your home with your contractor and electrician for the electrical walk-through. Do you know what questions to ask, what to look for, and what to do? Our latest  Front Porch Friday Video - The Electrical Walk-Through addressed this very topic. 

The Scavenger Hunt:

When you’re in the design stage with your architect, builder, or designer, walk through the house in your head. Your designer will make suggestions, and that is a good starting point. However, that’s not enough. You need to treat the electrical walk-through as a scavenger hunt. These are the first things you should consider when beginning your walk-through.

What Should You Do and Think About? 

  • Look at the blueprints while you’re walking around and discuss any issues.
  • Walk through the home carefully, completely, and with a critical eye.
  • Bring furniture measurements, measuring tape, markers, and labels, to mark and draw on the ceilings, walls, and cabinets…everywhere you might be putting something electrical. Use different colors to signify outlets, ceiling fans, recessed lights, and bathroom vent fans. Mark where furniture will be placed so you can plan for lighting needs.
  • What needs to be worked around? Are there beams that will interfere with pendant lights or recessed lighting? Will a cabinet or furniture cover an outlet?
  • Search for the switch locations. Don’t make the mistake of putting one behind a door that isn’t in place yet. Is there one available by the doorway into every room?
  • How many outlets do you need? Where are they? What do you need them for?
  • Ask about the septic system if one is being installed and where the thick wire that goes to the outside will be located (if applicable). 
  • Don’t forget about the basement, especially if you’re not finishing it yet. Think about future use.
  • Plan for exterior lighting. Walk the perimeter of the outside of your home. What types of lighting, how many outlets and switches do you need for the exterior, patio, walkways, and security? 
  • Your garage is an area that bears some thought. Do you have tools that require a 220-volt outlet? What about that electric car you’re thinking of purchasing? Or maybe just some extra outlets for the electric bike pump, leaf blower, or electric lawn mower? And don’t forget about lighting? Is one light enough or do you need to add more?
  • What do you want inside your home? Dimmer switches, 3-way switches that work lights independently from one place, and double, triple or quadruple-gang boxes in places where many things will need to be plugged in…like in a bedroom (baby monitor, phone, computer or tablet, etc.) are important considerations to make.
  • Outlets, outlets, outlets. Will the placement of them be vertical, horizontal, high on walls t keep them out of little hands, in the floor for a light behind the couch? 
  • Where is the breaker box?

You’re the One Living Here:

You’re completing the walk-through, you’ve looked at the blueprints, you’ve marked up the walls and ceilings, but is all of the above enough? You’re the one living here. So, now go through it again in your head and imagine yourself in the home after it’s completed and you’ve moved in. It’s easier and less expensive to make any changes now instead of after the work is completed.

  • You’ve marked all of the switches so now walk through your home and reach for lights going in and out of every room. Did you get them all? Are they accessible for everyone in your family?
  • Look at the lighting again. You’ve got the recessed lighting, chandeliers and pendant lights. But do you have plans for outlets and switches needed for additional floor lamps or table lamps?
  • What amps will you need for what appliances? Ask questions. Are you going to want a generator? Extra refrigerator or freezer? Is this in the plan?
  • Where do you want cables for TV and the Internet? Now is the time to think beyond the obvious places and really become your family living in the home. 
  • Think about furniture placement. Will you have nightstands by the bed? Are you using bunk beds and want a switch or outlet by the upper bunk? Where is the furniture? Will there be outlets available nearby or will they get covered up?
  • What are your needs in the office area?
  • Outlets need to be at the correct height and in a place they aren’t obtrusive, like the ones placed by our clients in the video on the back of the cabinet. Some people don’t want to place outlets in the middle of backsplashes, so thinking those things through now will save you future headaches!
  • Where are you going to put an ironing board? The laundry room is obvious, but many people are putting one inside a large master closet…which is a perfect place to put an outlet, right?
  • Where do you need USB ports?
  • Do you have an open floor plan? Do you need outlets on the floor to go behind a couch?
  • Under or above cabinet lights? Many homeowners want to have soft lighting for evening ambiance, outlets for decorative lighting above cabinets, or directed lighting for prep. 
  • Do you want to have lights near or on a mantel? You certainly don’t want cords hanging off of the mantel. This is a thought for any TVs placed above the mantel, too.
  • Do you want some automated lighting, such as in a pantry, closet, or garage?

The electrical walk-through should be detailed, informative, and inspiring for you! Take your time during the walk-through and be sure you, your contractor, and electrician have thought of everything. Our designers at RDS love helping you light up your life when designing the home of your dreams!