If you're among the many families adding a granny suite to your property this year, it's time to evaluate what electrical features will make it a comfortable, welcoming space for your loved one. Your municipality will have zoning regulations that dictate the basic electrical service requirements. But beyond the requirements for usage and safety, the decisions you make can ensure you meet and exceed the occupants' needs for illumination and climate control.
Coordinate With a Qualified Electrician
Granny suites – also known as garden suites – are small dwellings that can typically be powered by the electrical service already existing for your main house. As you plan the structure's positioning on the property, bring in an electrician to help determine the optimal plans for the following:
Running the electric supply lines from your home to the new building. Often this requires digging a trench for the line to be run underground. You'll need a plan how to adjust your landscaping, if necessary, to accommodate for the new wiring. If it turns out that an overhead line is the best choice, determine where the new poles with be situated.
Adding outlets and fixtures to the new structure. Installing a small manufactured home is a popular, economical solution for putting a garden suite on a rural or suburban property. But these prefabricated houses often only have the minimum number of electrical outlets. An electrician will work with you to install sufficient outlets so the occupants can avoid the safety hazards of using extension cords or overloading circuits.
Providing ample outdoor illumination. Walkways from the garden suite to the main house and to the street must have sufficient lighting to navigate safely. Porch lights, path lighting, and possibly, new outdoor overhead lighting are smart choices to prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
Accommodate for Three Types of Lighting
Granny suite occupants – usually aging or disabled members of your family – often deal with declining eyesight and reduced mobility. Support their efforts by making good lighting choices that are easily accessible and uncomplicated.
- Ambient Lighting: Ensure that each room has an overhead light with a convenient switch near each of the room's entrance and egress points. If the prefabricated building – or one that's built from the ground up – only has wall outlets, a qualified electrician can install appropriate fixtures in the ceiling.
- Task Lighting: Each room should have multiple wall outlets for floor lamps and reading lights. If needed, an electrician can wire one or two outlets per room. This eliminates the temptation to use extension cords to get direct lighting near favorite locations for reading and hobbies, thus reducing tripping hazards.
- Outdoor Lighting: At minimum, a porch light with a manual on/off switch is needed for the front door area, as well as the back door, if there is one. The ideal configuration, though, is a light connected to an automatic timer, a motion sensor, or both. An electrician can install the appropriate configuration so the granny suite's occupant never has to worry about stumbling on unseen obstacles when walking outside after dark.
Planning for Large and Small Appliances
Kitchen and bathrooms in granny suites aren't large, but they're the areas where the electrician will give special attention to ensure safe and efficient use of appliances. This work includes:
- Dedicated circuits – for major appliances such as the refrigerator, electric stove and oven, dishwasher, heating and air conditioning units, and a washer and dryer if they are included in the home's amenities.
- GFCI outlets – ground fault circuit interrupter that protects individuals from electrical shocks. These outlets go in rooms with running water and may be used for small appliances ranging from blow dryers to food processors.
With the combined savvy and expertise of you and an electrician, such as those at Calgary PRO-FX Services Inc, the new granny suite on your property can become a safe, snug home for someone you love.