Electrical work is expensive, so it makes sense that you want to do as much of it yourself as you legally can. The problem is that electrical codes and laws are long and complicated, so it’s hard to know what is and isn’t legal.
The good news is that you actually can find all of this information. As long as you’re willing to invest a little time, you can look up the official rules and make sure you’re doing everything the right way. Here’s how.
Start With National Codes
The federal government has set a full library of electrical and building codes into place. These include fire codes and everything else you need to know to run wiring for residential (and non-residential) buildings. It’s exhaustive, and it’s the best place to start.
The official name for this is the National Electric Code (NEC), and you can download the full file for free. Since this is the exhaustive list of regulations, there’s a lot covered. But you can look up anything specific to your current project.
As an example, if you want to install new outlets in a room, you can look up residential outlet regulations. That section is a lot smaller than the full NEC guidebook.
Check Local Requirements
The thing about building codes is that they are ultimately set by local regulators. Your city or county will have its own set of rules, and those are the ones that technically matter.
The good news is that these codes are typically derived from the NEC, so any deviation from national regulations is usually pretty small.
As for finding these rules, you’ll want to go through your local government. Assuming you live within a municipality, you can go to the city website, and you’ll be able to find building codes listed there. The electrical codes will be a subsection of the building codes.
If you don’t live within an incorporated town or city, then you’ll want to check your county website. If you can’t find anything there, double-check the state website to see if there are any rules that deviate from the NEC.
There’s one thing to note. If you find local codes, then you don’t need to worry about any state building regulations. They will be reflected in the local rules.
If you’re already familiar with the NEC rules, then going through your local regulations will likely be pretty easy.
On the other hand, reading through and learning the codes for yourself sounds like a lot of work. You can always outsource that work by hiring a professional.
Electricians can cost a lot of money, but there are a few things you can do to save costs. Basically, anything you do that reduces their total workload should be a money saver.
So, lay everything out before they come to inspect. Do every bit of the work that you are legally allowed to do, and just leave the final part of tying in the electrical components and wiring to the certified pro.
By doing this, you ensure that you did everything legally, and you’re not paying the full cost of an electrician.
Over-engineer for Safety
The last thing to know is that whenever safety is a concern, opt for more safety rather than less. One easy way to do that is to make sure your electrical enclosures are high-quality. You can get boxes made from better materials. They will definitely stand up to your home’s operating conditions, and this is especially important for outdoor boxes.