3 Ways To Prepare Your Earth Home For Electrical Wiring
Whether you are building with adobe, super adobe, cob, or earth bags, the revival of earthen construction techniques have enabled many Americans to build their own homes or vacation cabins with their own hands and limited materials. It can be liberating to design and build your home without having to go into debt. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be frustrating. The three areas of construction that most novice builders worry about are the roof, the plumbing, and the electrical system. These three things need to be done right the first time, and with limited construction knowledge, you have a good chance of making a mistake.
Outsourcing your electrical wiring to a licensed electrician can put your fears to rest and ensure that you have enough power to run your home and, more importantly, that your electrical system is safe. In fact, in many places it is required by law that a professional install your electrical system. However, there are several things you should do during the construction phase to make it easier for an electrician to do his or her job.
Talk With a Professional When You Are Designing Your Home
Before you start building, you may have to get several permits, including a general building permit and a more specific electrical permit. However, your building plans can be approved for a permit even if your electrical designs are not the most efficient or safest. To avoid running into trouble while you are building or after you have finished construction, you should consult with an electrician during your early planning phase. They will let you know what will be required to install an up-to-code system that makes the most of your layout.
Add Wooden Studs While You are Building
Electrical outlets and circuit breakers must be attached to your walls. Although it is possible to attach these directly to cured earth, it is more difficult. Ideally, you will include wooden studs in your earthen wall to allow for easy, fast installation.
There are two ways to include wooden studs in your structure. First, you can include a small log in the rows as you are building. For instance, if you are using earth bags, you will place a log with the same height as a finished row between two bags. If you are using cob, you can simply place the log at the correct height and then continue plastering around it.
Alternatively, you can sharpen one end of a 4-5 inch thick stick and hammer it into the earth before it has cured.
Use Piping to Create Gaps in Internal Walls
Similar to adding studs to mount electrical devices, it is important to add holes for electrical wires to pass through. This will prevent you from having to run your wiring around internal earthen walls or drill a hole through them after you have completed construction.
There are a few ways to create a gap in your wall. If you are building with earth bags or super adobe, you can simply leave a gap between two bags or two sections. However, this is not ideal because the gap can decrease in size as you add more layers on top of it. To support it, you can lay a large PVC or metal pipe in the gap. This same piping can be used to create holes in adobe and cob walls.
While designing and building your own home is a commendable, liberating experience, there will be sometimes when you need professional assistance. For proper installation of electrical systems, plumbing, and your roof, you should make sure to consult with a professional early and often.