The first half of this year I spent a large part of my time studying and preparing for some of the most complex parts of this tiny house build; Electrical, Plumbing, and running Propane lines. Like any research I went back and forth, changed designs, and got frustrated. I started with plans of the tiny house and where I wanted things like the stove, the couch, beds, toilets, etc. I used a lot of the research from sources found here.
I then expanded out to doing basic research on forums, blog posts, viewing videos of what others had done. Then I started digging into text books, taking comprehensive notes, pouring over diagrams, and refining my earlier ideas. I then had to figure out how to apply what I’d learned to my unique situation. I scoured the internet looking for tips on specific things that the books or my studying couldn’t find. It took months.
There is no easy way to quickly figure out plumbing and electrical. You just have to keep at it, keep at it, and keep at it. Ultimately its a trading game. You either put in time and sweat equity or you pay someone to do it with cash equity.
This will not be a post that would or could ever cover the 3-4 months of studying nightly that it took for me to learn how to run electrical (safely). It will cover what I did and what worked for my situation. Don’t use it as the only tool in your arsenal…there are fantastic training resources on electrical out there. Use them.
So here goes:
- My house won’t need any 220 plugs, 110v throughout. If I end up ever getting a combo washer/dryer it’ll be a small one that can run on 110v
- I want lots of plugs….because not being by one when you need it and having cords everywhere drives me crazy
- I ran through the amp load of each area of my house to see what the amp load would be on a given circuit. If it could ever hit more than an 80% load then I figured out I’d need another Circuit
- I ran most of my circuits in a series as its the simplest form of wiring….however it means if one plug goes out, everything after it does as well. I’m good with that
- I also ran some speaker wires and a coax cable wire while I was at all of this
- From power input onward here is what I used in my set up
- 50 Amp RV receptacle
- 2-2-2-4 Aluminum SER Service Entrance Cable
- GE 12-Circuit 22-Space 100-Amp Main Breaker Load Center
- 1- 100 Amp Load Center Breaker (while I’m only able to pull up to 50 Amp I wanted to make sure to plan ahead)
- 6 – GE Q-Line THQL 20-Amp 1-Pole Single-Pole Circuit Breakers
- 6 Circuits run with Southwire Romex SIMpull 12-2 wire
- Also needed:
- A few square metal junction boxes
- Lighting – 2 ceiling fan new work electrical boxes, flush mount electrical box for vanity mirror light and upstairs light, recessed light box for downstairs bedroom, bathroom vent fan/light combo, stove vent fan/light combo, and an exterior flush mount “old work” blue electrical box for outside light
- Electrical boxes – loads of those blue single and double receptacle boxes for plugs, switches, plus one exterior switch box kit
- Wiring nuts for twisting together the wires
- Cheapo white receptacles, switches, and plates
- 4 GFI plugs (Bathroom, Kitchen, and exterior)
- Nailer plates (you’ll need these for plumbing too) to protect electrical wires in studs
- Electrical Tape
- Insulated Wire Staples
- For tools I used
- Drill and wood boring bits
- Wire Stripers/cutter
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Electrical Tape
I’m sure I’m missing something but that about sums it up. Makes it seem simple but finding out all of the above and then putting it to use…felt like it took forever. I am overly paranoid so I went above and beyond to make sure that my house would be safe after running these lines. I over engineered where I wasn’t sure by running 12 gauge (20 amp) wire where 14 gauge (15 amp) wire would have sufficed.
Below I have a video walk-through of the test I did once I had it all hooked up plus a video walk-through of my circuits. After that….tons and tons of detail pictures covering things like what wiring a switch and receptacle might look like (depending on how you are running your lines) along with shots of the highlights of the rest of the process from RV plug to junction boxes. Enjoy!