Electrical wiring can be installed in two ways: closed and open. In the first case, the connections are camouflaged and the risk of damage is minimal. Open wiring is simpler, cheaper and less time-consuming, but the cables have to be protected against humidity, mechanical damage.
In this article, we will examine the existing wiring methods, focus on the particularities of the external installation and give recommendations on how to choose the appropriate variant.
Content of Article:
- What do electricians think about open wiring?
- How to lay the cables externally
- Types of bare wiring
- How to wire them in conduits
- Types 2 - Laying in tubes
- Types 3 - laying in boxes
- 10 typical mistakes of electricians
- Conclusion and useful video on the subject
What do electricians think about bare wiring?
The disadvantages of exposed (outdoor) wiring are much greater than those of concealed (indoor) wiring.
Cables covered with plaster are not damaged, do not disturb during renovation and are completely invisible. Open wiring lacks these advantages, and in case of a short circuit, it is more likely to catch fire than hidden wiring. The open wiring method is often chosen for wooden houses.
Wiring in wooden houses is a forced solution since the concealed laying of cables is sometimes difficult or even impossible
There are, however, certain advantages of the open type of installation:
- Simplified laying. There is no need to bore holes in the walls when laying the cables. This reduces labor costs, the amount of work. There is hardly any construction waste left after installation.
- Cost reduction. Here we talk about savings on electrician's fees.
- Changeable cable laying. If the future plans include redesigning the wiring, it is better to choose the open method of installation.
When choosing the open method of laying electrical wires, it should be noted that they have to be masked and protected from external influences. There is always the possibility of moisture or accidental damage.
There are often difficulties when installing boxes, sockets, switches. Before you begin, you should study the installation carefully or have an electrician do the work
If the house is residential, you should weigh everything up three times. It is advisable to consult an experienced electrician, and the installation must take into account the increased risks and be particularly careful to observe safety measures.
Peculiarities of external wiring
External wiring is suitable when installing cables in the room corners, at joints of the ceiling and walls, along the baseboard.
Most difficulties arise in the arrangement of open wiring in houses with false ceilings. Cables cannot be run along these ceilings, you have to fix them to the walls.
One of the disadvantages of open wiring is its unpresentable look, but it is perfect for retro interiors. The only downside is that you have to spend extra money on styling. That's expensive
If you have a lot of wires, it's better to lay them in runners. When designing the wiring diagram, you need to carefully choose where the tap and junction boxes will be connected. There must be easy access for inspection and possible repairs.
Wiring methods for exposed wiring
In the beginning, the only exposed method of wiring was twisted wires laid on walls and ceilings. They were attached to ceramic insulators.
In some houses built about a century ago, this is still the way the wiring is laid today. Relatively recently, similar wiring has become popular again. This is due to the vogue for antiquity.
While a hundred years ago open wiring on ceramic insulators was considered the norm, now it is stylized for antiquity. In an era of mass unification of things, furnishings and interiors, unusual ways of decorating rooms are especially popular, and this is one of them
When decorating rooms in retro style, there are often problems with finding materials. Some manufacturers produce ceramic insulators, sockets, switches \"vintage\", but this luxury is very expensive.
Suitable materials for retro style wiring can be found not only in expensive stores. Often they are bought from junkers, bought from the owners of the houses built at the beginning of the last century, and the cables are made by yourself by twisting multicore copper wires.
The designer fantasy knows no limits. It is not uncommon to see interiors decorated with elements of different styles. A combination of retro and loft style is a good idea
Interior fashions are changeable, so you should seriously consider whether or not you want to decorate your wiring in retro style. It is better to choose a more popular and reliable option. That way, you won't have to do any more wiring work when you renovate.
Gallery of pictures
Brewed retro style wire
Pattern insulators for exposed wiring
Refoamed box ceramic
Ceramic wiring products
We offer a detailed look at popular open wiring methods and choose the technology the most appropriate technology for your home.
System wiring method 1 - Installation of bare conductors
Wires with a cross section of 2.5mm² are suggested for sockets and switches, and 1.5 mm2 for lighting fixtures. Sometimes thicker cables are required. If the thickness of wire is 1.5-6 mm², they can simply be attached to the surfaces of walls and ceilings with staples.
When buying cables, you should give preference to quality products. If you choose cheap wires, you should put non-flammable gaskets underneath them to reduce the risk of fire in a short circuit.
The choice should be made very carefully, because the future functionality and safety of the home electrical system depends on them. It is advisable to see information on how to calculate the cross-section of the wire for home wiring.
The most commonly used strips of metal or asbestos. They are fixed so that the non-combustible gasket protrudes beyond the cable by at least 1 cm on each side. Regarding the material, it is better to choose metal as asbestos is harmful to human health: it has been proven to be linked to cancer.
A gap of 1 cm between the electric cable and the wall is sometimes made to ensure fire safety. This laying method is reminiscent of retro style wiring on ceramic insulators. It is used in wooden houses, summer houses, non-residential buildings
Staple mounting is a cheap and simple method of wiring. The disadvantages are that it is not safe and it is not pretty. If you have a few cables, they are obvious and spoil the impression of the interior. In a residential house, it is better to lay the wires in cable ducts.
Method 2 - features of laying in pipes
Modern industry produces special electrical pipes. These can be made of metal or plastic and offer good protection against fire, accidental mechanical damage and electric shock.
For installation it is most convenient to use corrugated pipes. They are flexible, so you do not have to additionally level surfaces when attaching to walls. Corrugated pipe wiring is ideal for wooden log houses. It is convenient and looks much neater than individual wires.
Cause of questionable aesthetics corrugated tube it is not often used in homes, but it is excellent for bringing cables from overhead power lines. Sometimes coloured corrugated tubes are used to improve the appearance of the exposed wiring inside the rooms.
Wiring in a wooden house takes into account the particularities of the building material. Wiring through wooden walls is done with special metal grommets. They are needed to protect the cables from squeezing if the natural wood gives shrinkage
When calculating the diameter of the corrugation, focus on the total thickness of all wires that will be laid in it. This figure is multiplied by 2, because with a smaller cross-section of the pipe it will be difficult to lay cables in it.
To facilitate the installation, corrugated tubes with a special probe (a wire used to pull cables) are used. The wires are attached to the probe and pulled through the pipe, firmly holding it in their hands.
If a relatively small piece of wire is required, it is quite possible to do without the probe, but for larger sections it is better to use special devices.
Wiring in plastic corrugated pipe proceed as follows:
For the open circuit wiring with corrugated plastic pipe, the material is prepared corrugated pipe with a reserve of about 10% and mounting clips on the basis of their installation in 30 cm
Tubing is cut into sections of the required length without tensioning. Take into account that one or two protrusions of the corrugation must be wound into the mounting boxes. Corrugated channel first cut with a construction knife, then available inside the wire bite pliers
Drilled holes in the marked route to fix the clips, then install them,
Slightly pull out of the corrugated tube's probe, a metal wire, in order to attach to it the wire prepared for the installation
Pierce a point in the insulation of the wire with a saw, put into it the probe, which then bent with wire cutters. From the other edge of the corrugated pipe pull the probe, so that the wire, fixed by it, gets into the corrugated channel
In the mounting clips, fixed according to the markings, we set the corrugated pipe with the wires, inserted into it,
In order to firmly fix the corrugated channel in clips we'll add a plastic tie tie
Cut the \"tails\" of plastic ties left after fixing with wire cutters carefully
Step 1: Preparing the material for the wiring arrangement
Step 2: Cutting the corrugated pipe into sections
Step 3: Attaching mounting clips
Step 4: Preparing corrugated pipe for cable pulling
Step 5: Inserting wire into plastic corrugation
Step 6: Snapping the corrugated pipe into the clips
Step 7: Duplicating the attachment with a plastic tie
Step 8: Trimming excess plastic fasteners
Corrugated electrical pipes are attached to walls with screws, dowel nails or plastic clips. The distance between the fixing points is calculated according to the diameter and therefore the intended weight. If the diameter of the corrugated pipe is 16 mm, the attachment points are 30-40 cm apart and for 32-40 mm pipes this distance is already smaller at 20-30 cm.
A before starting the electrical work, a diagram is drawn up. It is important that the corrugated pipes do not cross or intersect, as this violates safety requirements and looks ugly
Clips are mounted on the walls and then simply insert the corrugated pipe into them. This method of attachment is very convenient because when removing the tube, it is enough to pull it towards yourself and the clips come off easily.
Method 3 - Laying in ducts
To lay cables, rigid electrical ducts, cable ducts, skirting boards are used. These devices are made of metal or non-combustible plastic. Unlike corrugated pipes, rigid structures cannot be installed on uneven walls because surface defects only become more visible.
There are many varieties of cable ducts: one-, two-, three-section. They also differ in place of installation, purpose, type and size. On sale you can find models of any type - from perforated to flexible, angular, or transparent. It is important to choose products suited to the specific environment
Corobas, channels, plinths have snap-off covers that are easily removed, which is convenient for installing additional wires. If you need to upgrade your wiring, the whole process takes a few minutes.
There are other pluses:
- Design. Boxes, cable ducts and skirting boards come in a variety of colors, allowing you to decorate the room. The right choice is always possible.
- Easy installation. The installation of cables in boxes does not require any special effort. The main thing is to fix the protective constructions properly.
- Comfortable installation of sockets and switches. Socket outlets can be mounted on the boxes, and they will not spoil the overall appearance.
Installation work begins with a schematic drawing of the walls. It is needed for an exact calculation of the materials needed, the number of fasteners, accessories.
For the selection of the channel by size, determine in advance the cross section and the number of cables. The finished plan must be exact, without errors of measurement or calculation.
Pipes are laid not only on level surfaces but also in corners. Sometimes it is necessary to equip branch ducts. Various types of accessories are used for this purpose. When designing a project, their number
Technology for the installation of external wiring in conduits:
- Making a project. It is necessary to determine the number, types and location of the sockets, switches, boxes and to think of a scheme of laying the cable bypassing the gas and water pipes and the sewage system.
- Selection of materials. After designing, you can proceed to the selection and purchase of materials. If several cables are planned, it is worth choosing a box with dividers. Accessories should match the channel in color and size. It makes sense to buy protective boxes with devices for installing outlets.
- Building boxes. Plastic constructions can crack if they are immediately fastened to the wall, so first make holes in the bodies of the boxes and only then screw them to the base. The cable ducts are docked with each other and the excess material is cut off.
- Laying wires. The cables are placed in the channel housings, covered and snapped on. It only remains to check the fixing of the covers and the structure is ready.
Electricians advise to pay attention to the base material because this determines the choice of fixings. So, on a wooden wall the boxes are attached with normal screws. For brick, concrete and stone surfaces use dowels. And for panels, composite boards and plywood, it is better to choose a butterfly fastener.
To avoid having to adjust the shape of boxes in outer and inner corners, you can cut them with an ordinary joiner's chair. Then the products will look neat and the risk of overspending due to faulty workmanship is greatly reduced
Each method of installation has its own merits, and it is rare that a single method suffices. It is often necessary to combine cable ducts with corrugated and/or metal pipes, fasteners on brackets.
Wiring with cable ducts involves a number of standard steps:
Step 1: Installation of the cable duct base
Step 2: Laying the wires in the installed channel base
Step 3: Installing the branch circuit box base
Step 4: Fastening the branch circuit box faceplate
Step 5: Mounting the circuit breaker box
Step 6: Preparing the wiring for wiring
Step 7: Wiring the circuit breakers
Step 8: Securing the face of the circuit breaker box
When designing the wiring, consider the layout of the room and the specifics of the wiring in each area - whether it is a bedroom, kitchen or bathroom.
10 typical wiring mistakes
The open cabling method is easier than the closed method, but still there are some details you cannot take into account until you have had some practice.
An overview of typical wiring mistakes:
- Lack of circuitry. It is not uncommon to install wiring by the constructor principle: first do the wiring in each room, and then unite the cables. This dramatically reduces the reliability of the system as a whole.
- Saving on materials. Poor quality wires, appliances, and accessories are a direct and shortcut to a fire. It is better to overpay for a reliable brand name product than to deal with short circuits and fires.
- Calculating wiring without reserve. The cross section and number of cables should be 20% greater than the calculated number. Otherwise there is no way to avoid unnecessary twisting and the risk that the mains will not carry the load.
- Connect high power appliances via a socketand not by means of a separate cable from the switchboard. Even a high power socket does not solve the problem, as there is always the risk that the cable will not be able to carry the heavy additional load.
- Connecting high and low voltage cables in the same box. If you do so, you are almost guaranteed to have problems with appliances throughout the house.
- Unnecessary twisting. It is better to use special terminals for connecting wires.
- Copper and aluminum wire connections. Contact points will overheat and may cause problems. It is better to use terminals for connection and better to avoid aluminium wires altogether and to use only copper ones.
- Integrated safety. Safety rules are written from the bitter experience of many unsuccessful electricians, and yet there are still daredevils working under voltage.
- Inadequate placement of junction boxes. They should be 20 cm below the ceiling. Otherwise there is a risk of accidental damage. The boxes must be accessible for inspection and repair.
- Errors in installing the earthing circuit and connecting the RCDs. These devices protect the electrical grid, so care should be taken when installing them.
Beginning electricians make other mistakes as well. We have listed only the most common ones.
It is important to remember that wiring involves many risks, so you should carefully study the technology before starting work.
Conclusions and useful videos on the subject
We have selected useful videos that help avoid frequent installation mistakes and properly organize the external wiring in the house.
Instructions on wiring in conduit:
Useful tips on installing sockets:
Major mistakes made when connecting RCDs:
In theory, the open wiring looks simple and straightforward. But when it comes to practice, many homeowners make a lot of mistakes.
Be sure to do the installation yourself only if you have the necessary knowledge to design and implement the project. If not, do not risk your life and leave the job to electricians.
Are you well versed in the theory of open wiring and have practical experience in electrical work? Maybe you would like to supplement the material we have presented with clarifications or useful recommendations? Write your comments in the block below the article, share your experience with newcomers - many users will be grateful to you.