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Wiring my own off grid passive solar home  RSS feed

 
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I am looking for advice and feedback.  I am putting together a plan to build my own off-grid passive/active solar home.  I want to do as much of the work myself, as possible.  Purchasing the plans, and studying to be my own general contractor.  I am doing an online electrician's course right now, but have no interest in spending 4 years working as an apprentice to get licensed.  Just want a foundation of knowledge to be able to read a schematic drawing and install the conduit, wires, boxes, etc..  From what I am reading, I won't be able to pull a permit myself.  So my idea is to go ahead and do the labor part of the install, being sure everything is correct and to code.  Then getting a licensed electrician to come in, look it over making sure it's right, pull the permit, make the connections and sign off on it.  Does this sound like a sound plan, or is this a bad idea?  Maybe a better way?  Thanks for any insights and advice.
 
gardener
Posts: 1672
Location: Middle Tennessee
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Hi Celeste-

I think it’s worth a shot, if all you want to do is pull the rope (that’s what they call wire in the trades) and leave the ends to be terminated by a licensed electrician. I suggest calling around to electricians and tell them up front what you would like to do, as some may not be keen on that. You could also offer your services, to help along side with the electrician while they are there.

The whole electrical world is pretty finicky and tightly run, and I guess rightly so, since electricity done wrong can and does burn down houses. So if a house is wired, and one point is wrong, and that house burns down a few years later, guess who’s responsible. The inspector who signed off on the work is responsible, and can be held liable, with the electrician also holding some degree of liability, but ultimately it’s the inspector. I’m sure the laws vary from state to state. When the inspector comes by after the wiring is complete, the first thing they’ll ask for is the permit, and the name & license number of the electrician who did the work.

Hope this helps!
 
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Location: Fort Myers, fl - Durango CO
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Hi celeste, it depends a lot where you are, there are a surprising number of municipalities that let you pull your own permits on your own house if you plan to live in it.  I have building experience, and feel comfortable doing as much of my own work as I can.  On my current home in Colorado, I had the electrician and plumber pull permit for rough in and I pulled the permits for trim, so I installled all the lights, switches, wired the main and sub panels, sinks, toilets, fixtures and so on.  The state let me dig the trench for the electrical service and hook up the wire to the meter base they put at the pole, all as a homeowner!  So do some checking with your building department and know that the inspectors see this from time to time and will make sure what you do is correct.
 
pollinator
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If you have a 6 room house plan.
Living Room + Kitchen in the middle
Two bedroom on the left
On the right you have a bedroom + (mech/laundryroom+bathroom+hallway).
Then you can just run circuit to each room. 20A each.
(The kitchen might need more than just 1 circuit)
(The mech room might need one for each appliance)
And then a shutoff for the entire house.

You can run flexible conduit from the breakerbox to each room. and also pull the right gauge wires.
You can buy and prep all the outlets + switch + sockets.

All that the 'official' electrician have to do is connect the wires and then the power company has connect you to the grid.


On a different note. I like using different water circuit for the laundry room/kitchen/bathroom, with pex manifold piping.

 
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Location: Tyler Texas
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In our area, the law actually exempts homeowners who build their own homes from needing an electric license.  In the city, it can be different.  However, I have been part of many projects where a friendly electrician will file the permit and take a look at what you did and for a couple hundred bucks call for inspection and not say a thing.  Sometimes these electricians are not even in the same county and never even look..  Try to make some connections..  Get a copy of the International Build Code IBC this is what most inspectors go by. Follow wire & breaker sizing rules and you will be good.
 
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