The number of electrical outlets in a house, as well as their location, are crucial to ensure easy access to, and use of, electrical gadgets and appliances.
Mr Highridge Ng’ang’a, an electrical engineer and chief executive officer at Brighlite Enterprise, a company that deals in domestic and industrial electrical installation, offers tips on ensuring that the outlets in your home are appropriately placed.
The first thing you should do, he says, is make an assessment to determine the amount of electrical power you need at various points before deciding where to place the distribution of electrical outlets as this enables the electrician to plan accordingly for them.
“Such an assessment gives an estimate of the number of outlets and lighting points to be distributed in the house,” says Mr Ng’ang’a. “It also helps in the selection of an appropriate wiring plan to distribute electricity to the different power points.”
After the home assessment has been carried out, the electrician must ensure that the areas where the electrical outlets are to be placed adhere to the regulations of the International Electrical Engineering (IEE) and the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). These bodies ensure that the location and placement of electrical outlets in a home minimises the risks of electrical accidents.
“Adherence to these standards ensures that the home will be safe since chances of electrocution or fires as a result of faulty electrical systems are greatly reduced,” notes Mr Ng’ang’a.
He adds that a client’s preferences as to where they want the outlets placed in their home only comes into play once all the IEE and KPLC standards have been met.
TOO FEW OUTLETS
One of the mistakes people make when placing electrical outlets is not placing enough of them to accommodate the home’s electrical needs. This is usually done with the idea that extension cables will be used to compensate the shortage of outlets.
“The use of extension cables is advised only on small-rated electrical appliances such as televisions or radios,” says the electrical engineer. “The use of heavy appliances such as heaters and microwaves on extension cables will lead to an electrical overload that will damage the extension cable itself, as well as the outlet to which it is connected.”
To ensure that you have sufficient electrical outlets, it is recommended that all rooms in the house — except the bathroom — have one or two outlets.
“Some people place electrical outlets in their bathrooms for use with appliances such as hair driers and shaving machines,” says Mr Ng’ang’a. “However, the bathroom is a room that is constantly wet and chances of accidents occurring are high so if it can be avoided, electrical outlets should not be placed there.”
Accurately placing your electrical outlets does not prevent you from achieving the aesthetic goals you have for their home. The outlets can be placed in a suchh a way that they can blend in with the décor of the home such that they are largely unnoticed. You should also avoid extension cables that run across the floor as this reduces the home’s aesthetics, he advises.
An important but often ignored consideration is that electrical outlets should be position in a way that makes them convenient to use by everyone in the home, including those with disabilities.
“By following the IEE standards, you ensure that the different outlets in different rooms are accessible to everyone. This means that the outlet is at a height that is accessible to everyone while at the same time ensuring that it is safe for home operations,” Mr Ng’ang’a says.