How many power circuits does your home need?

58th story of the pitchbook on home electrical installations

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 — The electric power distributor brings a large power cable right into your home. There it is connected to the electricity meter. However, there is only a single connection between the meter and the home’s main distribution board. It is up to you to determine how many separate power circuits you require. Making a well-considered choice will avoid any problems later on.

Earth leakage protection

In general, a home has at least two earthing protections. The main earthing protection is located at the very beginning of the home circuitry and has a sensitivity of 300 mA. A supplementary, sensitive earth leakage protection (30 mA) in the distribution board deals with power circuits connected to damp rooms such as the bathroom, spaces outside the home (garden) and certain large household appliances such as the washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher and central heating. Each power circuit is connected to one of these earthing protections.

Lighting circuits

You should have at least two lighting circuits, but preferably more. For instance, one lighting circuit for the ground floor and one for the other floors. A third lighting circuit is advisable for the bathroom, the hallways and the staircases. If desired, you can connect the lighting in the garden and garden shed to a separate power circuit.

Power sockets

Here, a distinction needs to be made. First of all, there are power sockets that are connected to each other in the same circuit and, in general, can be used freely. This is the case for power sockets in bathrooms, bedrooms, downstairs living rooms, etc. Be careful not to exaggerate the number of power sockets in each circuit. It all depends on local and country-specific regulations and the power you want to connect to the sockets.

It is recommended to have two separate power circuits in each room. If one circuit breaks down, the other is likely to still be operational. A power circuit can then be spread among multiple rooms. It is a good idea to have multiple power circuits in the kitchen, since there are many electrical appliances in this room that are often used simultaneously.

Besides the power sockets that are used freely, you also need separate power circuits for heavier loads such as the washing machine, the clothes dryer, the dishwasher, the electrical range and oven, etc. Each such appliance should have its own power circuit.

Other circuits

Finally, you also need power circuits for additional electrical appliances. These can be circuits to operate such things as shutters and curtains, the doorbell or front door communications system, heating, air-conditioning, active ventilation, the telephone switchboard, and when appropriated a power circuit for the Integrated Home System (IHS). It is strongly recommended to have at least 30% free space in the distribution board for future extensions.

 

Image caption: Having a sufficient number of power circuits inside your home will avoid overloaded circuits. (Photo source: Fotolia)

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Guy Kasier

International Copper Association