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Electrical wiring and symbols

Electrical symbols are used on home electrical wiring plans in order to show the location, control point(s), and type of electrical devices required at those locations. These symbols, which are drawn on top of the floor plan, show lighting outlets, receptacle outlets, special purpose outlets, fan outlets and switches.

Guidelines to basic electrical wiring in your home and similar locations
Guidelines to basic electrical wiring in your home and similar locations (on image: An example of electrical plan – click to expand)

Dashed lines are drawn between the symbols to denote which switches control specific lights or receptacles.

There are quite a few symbols used to represent the devices used in home electrical wiring but some of them are very similar, so care should be used when working with them!

Guidelines to electrical wiring around your home or other locations
Guidelines to electrical wiring around your home or other locations

An “outlet” is any point in an electrical system where current is taken out of the system in order to supply power to the attached electrical equipment. An outlet can be one of two basic types: A “Receptacle” outlet or a “Lighting” outlet.

A receptacle outlet is one in which one or more receptacles are installed for the purpose of attaching “plug and cord-connected” type devices, and a lighting outlet is one intended for a direct-wired connection to a lamp holder, luminaire (lighting fixture) or ceiling fan.

Special-purpose outlets also exist. These may be dedicated to a specific type of equipment such as a furnace, wall oven, garbage disposal or another similar piece of equipment.

How electricity travels throughout the home?

Electricity is supplied to your home through your electric utility’s overhead or buried power lines. Before entering your home, electricity passes through a watt-hour meter which measures the amount of electricity used.

It then continues into your house through the Service Entrance Panel (also called a “load center”), where circuit protection devices such as circuit-breakers or fuses are located.

Duplex receptacles
Duplex receptacles

Electricity is then distributed throughout your home using branch circuits to provide power to appliances and lights through receptacles, switches, and fixtures.

Title:Basic guidelines to electrical wiring around your home – Perdue University
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Basic guidelines to electrical wiring around your home
Basic guidelines to electrical wiring around your home

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  1. Stuart Hanlon
    Sep 24, 2023

    Thanks great, but can we see a version that suits modern centrally wired installations?

    So that electricians and designs can discover just how much easier it is?

    NO links between light fitting and switches, just a connection to show “groups”

    All “light Switches” linked on the same data bus cable (no rules as to where or how they connect.

    This all means that the “control point” for each light can be changed at will, as the building use evolves.

    Please contact me directly for examples and a conversation.

  2. Gordon Etsiakoh
    Mar 09, 2023

    This site maybe very useful

  3. Alanood
    Jan 28, 2023

    the guide says that thses info should be built on previous info, where can I find the previous 4 units of 4-H?

  4. Luitbold Millanzi
    Oct 11, 2022

    The portal is excellent, and will remain so

      Oct 11, 2022

      Ok that’s fine and I am delighed because I am teaching electricity will use the material

  5. Clement Nwaiwu
    Sep 20, 2022

    I’m interested to join

  6. Amy Saunders
    Apr 15, 2022

    Yup, just like what you said, it’s pretty obvious that using schematic diagrams is a much easier way to truly comprehend the overall layout of electrical system within our residence and how we could manage faults or damages (if any). The lightbulb in my bathroom keeps on blinking even after being switched on for a long period of time. I’ll ask my husband to get in touch with an electrician to check on the matter and make some adjustments afterwards.

  7. Bararasa Isaac
    Feb 04, 2022

    My choice is my future

  8. Ganiyu Adisa Zakariyah
    Jan 25, 2022

    This page is excellent and gives out the best of technical details

  9. majaha hebert mavunda
    Nov 07, 2021

    quite keen on knowing installation, from tools kit, wiring material and how to wire

  10. Parisa Dasha
    Aug 28, 2021

    EEP has been amazing.

  11. Iwerebor O Emmanuel
    Mar 27, 2021

    It’s very nice,. Sir i still need to know more about transforma dividing

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