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Design with Electricity

How Does an Interior Designer Design with Electricity?

Interior Designing with Electricity?

Once you have learnt about what electricity is, you can now move onto the finer points that the interior designer should be aware of. Each of the circuits in the house is designed and rated to carry a certain amount of power (it is rated in amperes), this means that a certain number of appliances or fittings can use the circuit at one time before it becomes unsafe.

If too much power is being taken through the circuit then the wires can get too hot and melt causing an electrical fire. This is the reason that we have fuses or circuit breakers in the distribution board. They act as a safety device to stop the power going through the circuit, if the circuit can’t handle it.

In the case of fuses they melt if there is too much current going through them and the fuse wire has to be replaced. Circuit breakers do as their name describes. If there is too much current going through them then they are like a spring-loaded switch, which cuts off the circuit if it is unsafe.

On the circuit the appliances such as the dishwasher, waste disposal, fridge and microwave will be plugged into it. Items such as the oven and hot water cylinder will have their own circuits, as they tend to draw a great deal more current than most other appliances combined. All these appliances and fittings will be connected to the circuit separately from a plug on the appliance fitting into a socket on the circuit.

Light circuits are different. The lights are permanently connected to the circuit but the power won’t feed into the circuit until the light switch is turned on. The amount of light fittings to the circuit is critical as are the types of light fitting. As with an appliance circuit, the lighting circuits are rated for a number of fittings as well.

Not only can the light circuit be overloaded (although this is very rare as the registered electrician will set up the circuit with the fittings in mind) but more importantly from the designers point of view the lights may not work properly or as efficiently as intended.

If there are too many fittings on a single circuit then they may burn dimly or trip transformers (in the case of 12 volt halogen lighting) and periodically switch off. The efficiency of the bulb may be compromised if there is not enough power as it may carbon up and as a result lower the life of the bulb. (This can be the case with halogens that are designed to burn hot).

It used to be that a household would use only two power and two lighting circuits or thereabouts, now days because everyday life is so filled with technology, time and effort saving devices, we use a lot more electricity, therefore the house has to be designed to cope with it.

Draw up for yourself a list of household rooms, then list the electrical fittings that may be required in those rooms. This will help you plan what you want in your design so that it can be documented and handed onto the main contractor or electrician. The electrician is the expert in this field and he will size the distribution board and amount of circuits to cope with the expected load. This is one of the reasons electricians are registered and it is only they that can do this sort of work with the exception being an electrical engineer. An electrical engineer custom designs for larger houses and commercial work.
To continue this topic The Electrical Fittings or select from below for related articles
What is Electricity

Light Switches & Power Outlets

Electrical Planning

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About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of interiordezine.com, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 23 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 13 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse
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