Having covered a number of broad home improvement topics over the years in the Addbuild blog, we thought it’s time to drill down into some of the all-important “smaller” details that ensure your renovation is a resounding success. The first in this series is on electricals.
Using our experience of hundreds of projects built over a good portion of four decades, we’re sharing these tips to save you time, money and help you get the best result possible.
In the case of electricals, it’s especially true to say that planning ahead will prevent all sorts of headaches and heartaches down the track.
First and Foremost
Never attempt to install or change power points, wiring, lighting or other electrical accessories yourself … unless you are also a licensed electrician! We can’t stress this enough.
At Addbuild Additions we insist that all electrical work is carried out by one of our licensed electricians. The safety of you, your family and friends is paramount to us!
Planning Up Front
When you start talking to the person responsible for designing your renovation, room layouts, purposes and sizes will be the first thing you’ll complete.
Once you settle on the new rooms, you should start to consider how you’d like to furnish each one and, in turn, how you’ll use lighting and power.
It’s also worth thinking about how your home might be used by others. If you sell it down the track, it’s important that it ticks all the boxes for prospective buyers as well.
So we’re taking you room-by-room and area-by-area through the key considerations for you and other ‘typical’ households:
Having positioned your double / queen / king bed, plan for a small table each side. It may have a lamp, clock radio and / or charger for a smartphone so plan for double power points at the very least behind each table.
Don’t forget additional points for a vacuum cleaner, bedroom TV, and perhaps the TV’s set-top box … and whilst we’re on TVs make sure you plan your coaxial aerial and Pay TV connections.
When it comes to lighting, we commonly see homeowners use a simple light fitting in the middle of the room’s ceiling, or incorporated into a ceiling fan to give both light and cooling to the room.
Two LED spot lights as reading lights strategically positioned on the wall behind the bed are an alternative to bedside lamps.
As with the master bedroom, it’s wise to plan for a bedside table with at least double power points behind.
Consider the likely position of a student desk and what will sit on top (or below): a computer, monitor and possibly a printer: so at least one double powerpoint and possibly two if you want to cover all bases. If you plan a built-in desk, don’t forget an access hole for power and other cords.
Once again, ensure there’s a spare powerpoint to connect a vacuum cleaner.
As with the master bedroom, a light fitting in the middle of the ceiling or as part of a ceiling fan can complement a reading light on the bedside table and/or desk.
Living / Sitting Area
Down lights are an easy and cost efficient solution to light these types of rooms.
If you aren’t sure of how many down lights you require, take your floor plan with dimensions clearly shown to a specialist lighting store such as Beacon Lighting and they will be able to advise you.
Invest in LED down lights as opposed to halogen down lights – LEDs will last considerably longer which mitigates the higher cost.
Plan out where furniture is likely to be located, especially if you’re including electronic equipment such as a TV and sound system. Ensure there are plenty of power points to cover the likely number of devices.
Include plug points higher up walls if you are planning to hang the TV screen … a power cable hanging down from your prized new flat screen isn’t a great look!
And once again, don’t forget to allow for a dedicated powerpoint that is easily accessible for your vacuum cleaner.
Down lights and other types of spotlights are common in modern bathrooms.
Again, if you’re not sure about the number and position of these lights consult with a lighting professional and don’t forget to take your detailed floor plan with you.
Plug points are essential to power accessories such as hair dryers, hair straighteners and electric shavers. These are normally positioned above or to the side of the bathroom vanity.
The exact location will be determined by a licensed electrician when installing the power point as there are strict rules on how close one can be to wet areas.
Depending on the size and layout of the bathroom you may wish to include – at the very least – an exhaust fan to carry away steam and other not-so-pleasant ‘air’ if there’s a toilet!
A step up from the simple exhaust fan is a 3-in-1 combined light / heat lamps / fan.
This combination not only lights the majority of the bathroom (away from the vanity area) but also provides simple room heating and exhaust fan all in one unit.
Depending on the size of the bathroom, you might opt for a 3-in-1 that incorporates two or four heat lamps to keep you warm on those cold winter mornings!
If you are keen on options such as heated towel rails or underfloor heating, make sure you discuss these in detail with your builder well before the commencement of building.
It can be a very expensive exercise to retrofit either option when the building work is almost complete!
Many builders will leave it to kitchen specialists to work with you to design your dream kitchen.
Once the kitchen layout has been finalised the builder will “rough in” the kitchen services at the locations required by the kitchen company.
This naturally includes plumbing and drainage points but also the location for standard power points as well as electrical provision for ovens, hotplates and any other heavy current drawing appliances such as steamer ovens.
When discussing your electrical requirements with your kitchen manufacturer, carefully consider the appliances you or another family might use and their ideal location.
Simple examples are your refrigerator, microwave oven, toaster, kettle and, yes, that connection for the vacuum cleaner or steamer mop!
You may also have additional appliances that require connections so plan to add further power points to accommodate them.
Down lights and other spotlights are also common in kitchen areas. Again consult your kitchen manufacturer for their advice or visit a specialist lighting store with your plans.
Down lights are once again a good lighting option here. And don’t forget that powerpoint for that vacuum cleaner!
With pergolas and other structures becoming more and more a feature of outdoor living, you also need to think about how you’d best light and power these areas.
Outside lighting can include down lights, spotlights and fluorescent lights. You might also want to consider an outdoor fan.
Regardless of what you choose, it’s especially important to ensure that lights and other appliances are specifically designed for outdoor weather. If you’re not sure, consult with a licensed electrician or specialist lighting store.
Outdoor power points are different to standard indoor power points, being better sealed than their indoor counterparts.
Again, seek professional advice to ensure the correct power points are installed for the safety of you and your family.
This practical guide gives you a head start when planning electricals for your home renovation. If you want to discuss your plans in greater detail, Addbuild is Sydney’s leading home additions and extensions builder offering experienced design and DA approvals services through to completion. Feel free to contact us by calling (02) 8765 1555 or by using our online form.