You can save plenty of cash by learning how to wire your tiny house.
Many people build tiny homes for travel. Accordingly, it makes sense to have several electrical alternatives so that you can power up on the road. For instance, you may want to consider different tiny house power options, such as a generator or solar power.
Most importantly, however, you must make sure your wiring job is safe. A licensed electrician can check over your work to make sure that it’s up to code and reliable.
Read on to learn the basics of how to wire a tiny house.
Planning How to Wire Your Home
Before you begin planning the wiring job for your tiny house, familiarize yourself with the National Electric Code (NEC). The NEC is the foundation for safe residential and commercial wiring.
If possible, find a contractor who will review your work as you complete various stages of the project. To start, you need to figure out how much power you’ll need for your tiny home.
For instance, you will have different electricity needs if you plan to take your house on the road versus if you keep it stationary. If you don’t expect to move your home, you can wire it the same as you would a regular house.
Here is where your tiny house electrical needs may differ. Typically, you would use a 240-volt circuit for large appliances such as an electric range or a washer and dryer. If you’re going on the road and you won’t use heavy appliances, you only need to wire your home with 120-volt circuits, which makes the job a little easier.
Now, start figuring out your electrical needs. Measure the draw of electricity in Amperes (A).
Electricians also refer to Amperes as Amps. Figure out how many Amps you’re going to need by adding up everything that you may need to run at the same time.
This estimate will help you determine the electrical load capacity. The electrical load capacity is all the power you’ll need to run the circuits, lights, outlets, and appliances. You must understand your capacity and load requirements when planning the electrical layout of your home.
Getting Down and Dirty With Your Calculations
The electrical load should never exceed 80% of the electrical load capacity. It helps to understand the relationship between Amps, Volts and Watts. You need to know the following two formulas.
- Volts times Amps = Watts
- Amps = Watts divided by Volts
Using these formulas, you can calculate the load capacity of each circuit as well as the entire tiny house electrical system. As an example, a 20-Amp and 120-Volt branch circuit has a load capacity of 2,400-Watts.
You don’t want the load to exceed 80% of the capacity. Therefore, a 20-Amp circuit has a capacity of 1,920-Watts. What this means is that all together, your light fixtures and appliances should not exceed 1,920-Watts of power.
Every light bulb and appliance has a wattage rating listed on it. Use this information to make your calculations.
Getting It Done: How to Wire a Tiny House
Once you’ve done your calculations, you’re ready to start roughing in your wiring. To do this, you’ll need plastic junction boxes and Romex cable.
If you’re going to travel with your tiny home, however, you’ll need something more durable than Romex. The constant movement and vibration of a rolling tiny house may cause Romex to fail.
You’ll also need tools to cut and strip the wires as well as a drill with a spade bit. You may also need a right-angle drill and auger bit.
You cannot make errors when you rough in the wiring. When wiring a small house, mistakes can prove deadly. Make sure that you obtain a permit and schedule an inspection before you begin roughing in your wiring.
You need to figure out the box size according to the NEC. In each box, you can install one hot and neutral wire, one brown wire and one cable clamp.
Each box can also take two devices. Devices can include one light switch and outlet, but not a hard-wired light fixture. Wire light fixtures independently.
You can start roughing in the wiring by marking the box locations. Use letters and symbols to identify the boxes. Also, measure and mark the center of each box.
Now, you need to mark 8-inches above the boxes at the center of the stud where you want to make the holes. After installing the boxes, drill the holes, pull the cable and connect the fixtures.
Play It Safe When Working With Electricity
When wiring your tiny house, you should minimize hazards. You can do this by creating a safe work environment. For instance, move or secure anything that can fall over and distract or harm you.
Also, don’t touch any electrical voltage or current. You don’t want to risk electrical current passing through your body. You don’t want to burn yourself or burn down your tiny house before you’ve even had a chance to move in.
Today, many people can’t afford to pay the average cost of a new home. By wiring a tiny house, you can save at least half of what it will cost to pay a contractor.
Labor costs for professional tradespersons drive up the cost of housing significantly. Even if you wire your tiny home yourself, at some point, you’ll need to consult with or hire a professional electrician to make sure your installation is safe.
Learn Everything That You Can!
You can save loads of money by learning how to wire a tiny house. However, it’s better to err on the side of caution, especially with electricity.
If you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing, hire a professional. At the very least, hire an experienced electrician who will guide you along the way.
You’ll experience a great feeling of satisfaction after completing the job. Learn more do-it-yourself tips by visiting the Homes section of IncrediblePlanet.com. This