Planning electrical circuits diagrams

Planning electrical circuits diagrams is important because it shows the layout of all circuits to avoid problems. For example, you don't want to put all your lights on one circuit. If a breaker trips, then you might be in the dark.

I actually prefer to get several copies of my floor plan and draw each electrical circuit with it's own color. That way I have an overlay of each circuit.

electrical plan

This will also help when you're running cable throughout the house and marking the number of the circuit on the inside of the breaker box cover.

Here are a few electrical diagrams on the component level.

outlet circuit

This shows how to wire a regular outlet. This gives the example of how to wire an outlet in the middle of the circuit by connecting the hot and neutral cables to all four of the terminal screws.

It also shows how to wire an outlet at the end of a circuit using only two of the terminal screws.

end of circuit outlet

switch before light

This shows how to wire a light switch that is in the circuit before the light fixture. This is more common. The power to the switch is first.

switch after light

This is how you wire a switch where the power goes to the light first and then to the switch.

3 way switch light in middle

This is a 3-way switch that controls a light from two locations. It's a little trickier than a single light switch. This is a 3-way switch with the light in the middle. For some reason, I like this way better because it's easier to look at and figure out.

3way switch light at end

This is a 3-way switch where the light is at the end of the two switches that control it. I have to scratch my head a little when I wire circuits like this.

4-way switch

This is a 4-way switch. It can get kind of confusing. Remember it this way, a 4-way switch always sits between two 3-way switches.

A 4-way switch is needed when you want to control a light or fixture from more than two locations. Suppose you have a 2-story home with a garage. You will want to control the garage lights from upstairs, downstairs and inside the garage itself. You would need a 4-way switch and two 3-way switches.

And here are most of the high voltage dedicated circuits that require special cable and special breakers.

An oven range will need "range cable" which is two 6-gauge cables and an 8-gauge ground in the same sheathing. It will usually need a 50-amp breaker. You can get it all at any electrical store or Home Depot or Lowes.

Water heater cable is usually 10-3 romex with a 30-amp breaker.

Dryer cable is usually 10-3 romex with a 30-amp breaker.

electric water heater wiring diagram

range wiring diagram

dryer circuit diagram

Next, simple electrical circuits

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