Wiring a House Book by Rex Cauldwell, published by Craftsman Books. Imagine a book that only teaches house wiring to the latest code, yet is so full of beautiful color photographs you'll want to read it at breakfast.
Beautifully illustrated with full-color photos, this practical book takes a step-by-step approach in showing you how to install code-approved wiring for residential homes. Starting with wiring the service entrance to grounding and wiring rooms in both new construction and renovation work, install fuses and circuit breakers, how to install and test ground-fault interrupters, receptacles and boxes, switches, and fixtures, and how to wire appliances. Also includes how to install stand-by generators.
8.5" x 11"
“Rex Cauldwell’s well illustrated, approachable manual draws on three generations of wiring know-how, taking you through most situations you’re likely to encounter in conventional house wiring”
-Journal of Light Construction
This classic reference on home wiring has been completely updated to reflect the most recent changes to the electric code. New information on home generators, lightning and surge protection, and wiring “above code” has also been added.
A Book Written from Experience
"This book is unlike any other wiring book on the market. Written by an electrician for homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, and professionals alike, it is full of stories and experiences of exactly what happens when wiring a house. I even talk about some of the common mistakes that both pros (including myself and do-it-yourselfers make so that you can avoid them from the outset.
I've always hated the standard how-to wiring books because, for the most part, they're not written by practicing electricians. Instead, some desk jockey rehashes stuff from other books written by other desk jockeys. These books always pick perfect textbook situations with photos taken in a studio. They never tell you the problems you will encounter and what to do when things go wrong-let alone the experiences of the authors. They can't, because the people writing the book have rarely done what they're telling you to do. I think both professionals and novices will appreciate my book because it's honest- I've done the work."
Preface to the Revised Edition, viii
The Basics, 6
How Electricity Flows, 6
Anatomy of a Residential Electrical System, 11
Wire Gauges, 14
The Wire We Use, 19
Conduit Systems, 28
Tools of the Trade, 31
General Tools, 33
AC-Powered Tools, 38
Cordless Tools, 43
Specialized Tools, 45
Safety Equipment, 49
The Service Entrance, 50
Choosing a Buried or an Aerial Service, 50
Calculating Amperage and Choosing Cable, 52
Local Requirements, 56
Locating the Meter Base, 56
Buried Service Entrance, 60
Aerial Service Entrance, 61
Connecting the Meter Base to the Panel, 68
Panels and Subpanels, 74
Elements of the Main Panel, 74
Picking a Panel, 77
Mounting a Panel, 79
Cable Management, 84
Bringing Cables into the Panel, 86
Balancing the Load, 93
The Art of Grounding, 95
Definition of a Grounding System, 95
Protection through Grounding, 98
Choosing the Proper Grounding Materials 101
Installing a Low-Resistance Panel-to-Earth
Grounding System, 103
What Needs Grounding, 107
Wiring Room by Room 115
Stocking Up, 115
Design Considerations and Outlet Box
Pulling Cable in New Construction, 127
Routing Wires in Renovation Work, 136
Fuses and Circuit Breakers, 142
Circuit Breakers, 145
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters, 151
How a GFCI Works, 152
Types of GFCls, 154
Where Ground-FauIt Protections Required 155
Wiring GFCI Receptacles, 156
Wiring GFCI Circuit Breakers, 157
Testing GFCls, 158
Arc-Fault Circuit Breakers, 159
Wiring AFCls, 160
Receptacles and Boxes, 162
Receptacle Boxes, 162
Wiring and Installation, 175
Switch Boxes, 183
Switch Grades, 187
Types of Switches, 188
Light Dimmers, 193
Fan Speed Controls, 195
Wiring Fixtures, 196
Choosing the Right Box, 196
Incandescent Lights, 199
Fluorescent Lights, 200
Ceiling Fans, 201
Smoke Detectors, 207
Track Lighting, 207
Outdoor Light Fixtures, 208
Recessed Lights, 211
Wiring Appliances, 213
Kitchen Appliances, 213
Baseboard Heaters, 217
Electric WalI Heaters. 220
Utility-Room Appliances, 220
Garage-Door Openers, 225
Submersible Pumps, 226
Whirlpool Tubs and Spas, 226
Lightning and Surge Protection, 227
Induced Voltage, 227
Direct Strikes, 228
Utility and In-House Surge Creators, 229
Adding Surge Protection, 229
Phone and Coaxial Cable Protection, 234
Protecting Pumps, 235
Standby Generators, 239
History of Incorrect Connections, 239
Picking a Generator, 241
Installing the Transfer Switch, 243
Note from the author:
My family has three generations of electricians- I am the third. As a kid, I remember working in spooky old buildings that had been around since the Civil War. The attics and basements of those houses were especially scary to me, but it was the crawl spaces I hated most. While lying in those damp or dust-choked caves, I remember pulling wires through floor joists spanned by spider webs clogged with insect carcasses, attempting in vain to ignore the multi-legged thing crawling up my leg- all the while trying not to knock my head against another darn joist and hoping the flashlight wouldn't die. Those are not fond memories, but I learned a lot. And it was literally from the ground up that I was taught about electricity and wiring a house. Now I'm both a master electrician and a master plumber and have my own company.
I have written this book from lifelong experience and knowledge, some of which has been passed down through each generation. However, there is no one within my family to pass the gauntlet to-no fourth generation to pick up the trade. Therefore, by reading this book, you will become heir to my knowledge and experience. You, in effect, will become the fourth generation.
Three main themes of the book are safety, design, and materials. If you're doing the work yourself, I'll tell you how to do it safely. If you're not doing the work, you'll gain enough information from these pages to ask educated questions, to understand what an electrician is doing, and to know whether he or she is doing it correctly. You'll also learn what makes a good electrical design and how to choose the best materials-not the lowest-cost materials-for your situation.
Safety Is Paramount
As an electrician, safety is a primary concern-both for my clients and for me. Electricity can kill, so it's very important to be alert while working with it and to use safety equipment. I've received shocks before, and I would not be here today had it not been for a GFCI- protected receptacle. If you are not competent working around electricity, hire an electrician do the work.
One of the aims of this book is to help you understand the basic principles of electricity so that you can give it the respect it deserves. You'll learn not only how electricity flows but also how to work according to a plan, so that any wiring job can be done safely and without fear. Throughout the book I offer safety tips that could save your life. Wiring can be tricky, so take your time and don't cut corners. alarms are not required to have GFCI protection.
Tools are important to any person working in the building trades. Using the right tool for the right job will make the work go smoothly and safely. The same holds true for electrical tools; however, using the wrong tool or a low-quality tool will not only cause headaches by making the job more difficult, but it also could seriously hurt or kill you. That's why I devoted an entire chapter to tool use. In it I give you good background knowledge of electrical tools so that you will know which tools to buy, and even more important, which ones not to buy. I also illustrate how to use tools correctly, not just in the tools chapter but throughout the book.
Meeting Code Is Not Good Enough
Minimum code means exactly that-it's the absolute minimum required to pass inspection. And I'm sorry to admit that on many jobs even minimum codes sometimes aren't enforced. Most inspectors are already backlogged and over- worked they have time only to check for obvious violations. They cannot trace every wire to make sure it goes to the right location or even verify that the wire is the proper gauge. Therefore, you cannot assume that an electrical system has been installed correctly or even safely just because it has passed inspection. Sadly, the bottom line is that it's normally up to the installer or homeowner to know what needs to be done and to see that it is done correctly. Knowing this, I try to give you enough information to know right from wrong and what works and what doesn't, so that you can make intelligent decisions about the design of an electrical system.
In addition, this book will teach you how to develop a good, safe, high-quality electrical design, not one that simply meets minimum code. For example, one time I was called out to rewire a recently built house. It had passed all electrical inspections, the walls were up and painted, and the owner had moved in. The contractor had only been obligated to build to minimum specs. The outlets were spaced 12 ft. apart, with no receptacle outlet where it was needed for a specific piece of furniture. A cheap, poorly designed electrical panel that was 99% full upon completion of the house was taking all the load it could handle, so nothing could be added (such as a spa). The electrical system-in fact, the entire house-was built without any consideration for the owner's needs. The owner had to pay twice: once to meet minimum code and a second time to get things custom-designed. A good design surpasses minimum code and takes the owner's needs into consideration. (See my Above Code reference in the Preface.)
Low-Bid Jobs Are Cheap -- for a Reason
It may come as a surprise to some people that it is impossible to obtain high-quality material on a low-bid job. Why? From the contractor's viewpoint, the object of the bid is to get the job. If I were to put together a bid that includes good-quality, high-end material and my competitor makes a bid that includes cheap material, my bid will be significantly higher-and I most likely will not get the job. For contractors, this book will illustrate when high-end material is appropriate and when you can get by with average-quality material. With this knowledge, you'll be able to put together a bid that's reasonably priced, without compromising over- all quality.
As a homeowner, you should know that when you choose the lowest bid, you may get exactly what you pay for. But if you specify in advance the type and exact grade of materials you want, so that all contractors are bidding with the same standards in mind, you can choose the lowest price knowing that you haven't compromised quality. This book will give you the knowledge to make informed decisions about the wiring system in your house.
A Book Written from Experience
This book is unlike any other wiring book on the market. Written by an electrician for homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, and professionals alike, it is full of stories and experiences of exactly what happens when wiring a house. I even talk about some of the common mistakes that both pros (including myself and do-it-yourselfers make so that you can avoid them from the outset.
I've always hated the standard how-to wiring books because, for the most part, they're not written by practicing electricians. Instead, some desk jockey rehashes stuff from other books written by other desk jockeys. These books always pick perfect textbook situations with photos taken in a studio. They never tell you the problems you will encounter and what to do when things go wrong-let alone the experiences of the authors. They can't, because the people writing the book have rarely done what they're telling you to do. I think both professionals and novices will appreciate my book because it's honest- I've done the work.