Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rough Electrical

Once all of the ductwork was completed, the electrician came to run the wiring.  Since much of the wire runs through exterior walls and the attic, the wiring must be finished before the insulation is installed.

The electric and gas meters were installed several months ago.  Since then, various contractors have been using a single temporary power circuit.  Unfortunately, the logical place for the meter on the outside of the house did not coincide with a logical place for the electrical panel on the inside of the house.  Consequently, we installed a split service, resulting in an extra exterior switch near the electric meter and a massive wiring bundle across the basement ceiling to the utility room where the electrical panels are located.

We have a "smart meter" that will send the utility our usage for every 15 minute interval.  It also sends our natural gas usage (we get both from Consumers Energy).  The box on top is an exterior switch.

Many of our decisions were based on things we plan to do in the future.  We plan to eventually get a natural gas powered generator, solar panels, and an plug-in electric vehicle.  In anticipation of eventually getting a generator, we decided to separate the large electrical demands that we would not need during a power outage.  We were surprised at how short our list ended up:

  • air conditioner,
  • range,
  • dryer,
  • central vacuum,
  • a few lights and plug circuits,
  • the 30 Amp circuit for the motorhome,
  • the 220V circuit for a potential future plug-in vehicle, and
  • at some point, inverters associated with solar panels
I guess we want to ensure that we won't be expected to do housework during a power outage.

Although we don't plan to install a generator right away, we prepared to eventually have one.  We divided our circuits into critical loads (in the left electrical panel) and other loads (in the right panel).  When the generator runs, the middle box will isolate all of the critical loads from the utility grid.

Instead of a single temprary power circuit, there are now a few.  Later in the construction process, after the drywall is installed, the electrician will return to hook up the light fixtures and plugs and connect all the dangling wires to circuit breakers in the panels.

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