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[OP]
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Jun 4, 2015
142 posts
125 upvotes
Ottawa, ON

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Last edited by topcheese on Apr 27th, 2021 8:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
12 replies
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
12443 posts
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Edmonton
topcheese wrote: Hello everyone,

I’m in the middle of building a new home and need to figure out my configuration of outlets and pot lights.

I did all the research I could but could not come to a conclusive answer.

1. Is there a standard of how many outlets / room? (In a closed office, I plan on having 5 outlets for example)

2. I’m trying to plan out pot lights, and am stumped on a few decisions:
-living room has a tray ceiling. Would you put pot lights in the tray, on the inside of the tray, or both?
-would you put pot lights on the kitchen island instead of a light fixture?
-any other areas you like having pot lights?

Cheers!
It's not so much a "standard" for the number of outlets in a room. There's an Electrical Code that defines very clearly the minimum spacing for outlets in a given space, which is every 6 feet. You can have them closer than that. You can have a double-gang box that allows for more outlets in a single location. But the minimum number of outlets is defined.

As far as pot lights go, you should be speaking to a lighting consultant, and coming in with your floor plan and even a rendering of different rooms in question. They'll help you figure out where you should be putting in lights to help you avoid shadows and/or overwhelming an area (can be compensated with dimmers). But it will depend on ceiling height, things like tray ceilings, task areas, etc.

C
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
4240 posts
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Ottawa
1. I don't think there is a code requirement per room, but instead there is a minimum space. I am not proficient with electrical requirements so hopefully someone else will chime in. Five in an office is difficult to comment on without knowing the size and layout of the room. I would suggest though that you spend some time determining how you wish to use the room so the outlets are primarily hidden.

2. IMO, people put way too many pot lights in homes today. Where to place them in a tray ceiling depends on where you want to focus light - in the tray you are focusing light on the walls and inside the tray you are focusing light in the centre of the room. Most people have table lamps that suffice for spreading light around the room so you may want to consider installing lights in the tray

We like pot lights in a kitchen. Originally we had 2 light fixtures in the kitchen with another over the island. I replaced the two in the kitchen with pots and kept the fixture over the island. Primary reason - cleaning. You always have to be cleaning any light fixtures in a kitchen. Even the fixture over the island may be soon replaced with a pot. I like the look of a nice light fixture over an island, but I don't think it is practical with all the cleaning required.

The one place we love a pot is in our walk in shower. We use is all the time and really appreciate it in the early morning when it is dark as you can turn on that light and it is sort of a back light that doesn't shine directly at your eye level like the fixtures over the mirrors do.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
17117 posts
14518 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
My 40+ years experience talking here as a home owner

Better to go too many of electrical fittings ... than too little
You can always turn off a set of lights / fixture

Second ... make sure you have outlets where many builders skimp
Outdoors
Foyer
Hallways

Makes doing things like decorating for Christmas / Seasons easier
Or plugging in your vacuum cleaner etc

I’ve lived in several houses where there were just plugs on the backside of the house
Huge PITA
And also houses that had none in the foyer
Or the hallways
Looked at adding plugs ... but deemed it too expensive at the time
(Older houses, hard to string wire, and costly ... at a time when we had a young family and other things more pressing to spend money on )

Cursed those lack of plugs regularly
Was happy to see those houses in my rear view mirror
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
17117 posts
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Eastern Ontario
skeet50 wrote: 1. I don't think there is a code requirement per room, but instead there is a minimum space. I am not proficient with electrical requirements so hopefully someone else will chime in. Five in an office is difficult to comment on without knowing the size and layout of the room. I would suggest though that you spend some time determining how you wish to use the room so the outlets are primarily hidden.

2. IMO, people put way too many pot lights in homes today. Where to place them in a tray ceiling depends on where you want to focus light - in the tray you are focusing light on the walls and inside the tray you are focusing light in the centre of the room. Most people have table lamps that suffice for spreading light around the room so you may want to consider installing lights in the tray

We like pot lights in a kitchen. Originally we had 2 light fixtures in the kitchen with another over the island. I replaced the two in the kitchen with pots and kept the fixture over the island. Primary reason - cleaning. You always have to be cleaning any light fixtures in a kitchen. Even the fixture over the island may be soon replaced with a pot. I like the look of a nice light fixture over an island, but I don't think it is practical with all the cleaning required.

The one place we love a pot is in our walk in shower. We use is all the time and really appreciate it in the early morning when it is dark as you can turn on that light and it is sort of a back light that doesn't shine directly at your eye level like the fixtures over the mirrors do.
Just to add to this good post:

FYI ... placements can also be an issue as to Provincial Building Code

For example ... know that in Ontario you cannot have an outlet in a walk in closet

And I think overhead lights in showers can also be an issue in some Provinces

As @CNeufeld said this is the sort of stuff your Lighting Designer should know ... be able to help you out with OP
Member
Nov 13, 2019
229 posts
66 upvotes
Toronto
Whatever you do make sure you put in cat5/6 plugs!
Sr. Member
Jan 21, 2011
744 posts
303 upvotes
GTA
topcheese wrote: Hello everyone,

I’m in the middle of building a new home and need to figure out my configuration of outlets and pot lights.

I did all the research I could but could not come to a conclusive answer.

1. Is there a standard of how many outlets / room? (In a closed office, I plan on having 5 outlets for example)

2. I’m trying to plan out pot lights, and am stumped on a few decisions:
-living room has a tray ceiling. Would you put pot lights in the tray, on the inside of the tray, or both?
-would you put pot lights on the kitchen island instead of a light fixture?
-any other areas you like having pot lights?

Cheers!
Builder’s electrical contractor has to follow code on how many outlets per room and or per wall. What you can do is add at a cost an or ask them to put them where you want within reason. They might do it. For my house, I gave builder of drawings where I wanted switches and how many switches (they normally put 3 in ensuite bathroom for lights , I told them to put only one)

For the plugs, I looked at where they had them, and I was fine with that. If you want them to move plugs, ask them before they pull the wires.

Pot lights are more of a personal thing, some people like many, some like few.
Sr. Member
Jan 21, 2011
744 posts
303 upvotes
GTA
PointsHubby wrote: Just to add to this good post:

For example ... know that in Ontario you cannot have an outlet in a walk in closet

Are you a %100 sure on this one? I know it is not required by electrical code, but I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
17117 posts
14518 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
lamin wrote:
For example ... know that in Ontario you cannot have an outlet in a walk in closet

Are you a %100 sure on this one? I know it is not required by electrical code, but I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.
Yup, it’s something that has been mentioned several times in many threads on RFD

Here’s one where it’s spelled out pretty clearly

electrical-question-990648/

I remember someone who’s a electrician in another thread said it’s cuz of being a major fire hazard
In heat creating situations ... so say using a burner in a pantry
Or ironing in the closet
Deal Addict
May 23, 2006
1153 posts
295 upvotes
Vancouver
I have lots of pot lights but not enough light fixture.

Is it easy to convert a few of my high ceiling pot lights into Chandelier light fixtures?
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2009
698 posts
685 upvotes
You should be going room by room with them to figure out what your default furniture placement will look like, as well as where you want lighting fixtures (ie, pendants, sconces, accessory lighting) and where you want potlights. Then you want to figure out where you want Ethernet and/or cable connections, as well as how your light switches will interact with your lighting (ie.1 way, 2 way, 3 way), if you want timers or dimmers, etc.

Here are a few examples of what we are doing with our build:

Our primary ensuite: an outlet on either side of the sink, pot lights in ensuite and inside shower, 2 accessory wall mounts for wall sconces, wiring for under cabinet lighting.

Primary walk-through closet: lighting pendant, outlet

Primary bedroom: lighting pendant, outlets on either side of the bed, outlets on opposite wall + cat6a for Ethernet/TV

Living room: 8 potlights (split over 2 switches), wiring in ceiling for future in-ceiling speakers, outlets all around, outlet + cat6a where we will mount the TV. Potlights are on 2 way switch because we have an open living room.

You really need to be speaking to a lighting technician or a designer because you need to determine potlight size, if you want “cone” or targeted lighting, and even lighting, lighting temperature, CRI, etc..
Deal Addict
Apr 26, 2003
1692 posts
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GTA
Having just gone through this conversation our contractor/electrician about plugs and lights, how much money do you have to spend? :P You need to meet minimum code, but you can go crazy as well. Since it's a brand new build/custom home, you should do what makes sense to you, but then also have another set of eyes on it because what you think makes sense may not to someone else and unless you plan on living in that house forever, the next owner may not understand your logic on why things were done that particular way.

Wiring for electrical is one thing, but also plan for network/ethernet as well. As much as everyone likes wireless, having the option to plug in for a faster wired connection makes sense.

As for pot lights, I've seen way too many installed in friends/family's houses. I've heard the general rule is one pot light for every 4-5feet of floor space. Also make sure, the switches make sense as well - having well thought out two or three way switches helps a lot to the flow of the house.
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Jun 21, 2003
4639 posts
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Stoney Creek, ON
topcheese wrote: Wow. Some super helpful comments in here. Thank you all. Instead of replying to each I’ll just try and cover as much ground as I can

-A few of you commented on the 6 feet rule for outlets. I’m assuming that’s 6 feet of wall length, and not 6 feet line of sight (I.e if outlets are located near a corner?)

-For the lighting consultant. I wouldn’t want to waste anyone’s time since the builder will install these for me. Are these consultations generally free, or only with the purchase of equipment?

-This is a full custom home. The builder doesn’t offer much guidance which is why I’d like to try and iron out as much as possible :)

-good call on lighting in the kitchen. Hadn’t considered how dirty it could get

I saw another post in this forum talking about getting pot lights installers after moving. Electrician is charging $175/pot light. Is it better to get these done after moving for cost savings? (The other thread was talking about $40-80 per pot light for interior). Or is it better to just get the builder to take care of it all before drywall is up? (Rough estimates are id need about another 12 pot lights between the kitchen and the living room. Not including upstairs).

Edit: I was actually planning on putting outlets In closets. Really good to know. Thanks for letting me know it’s likely not legal lol
As mentioned above there is no requirement for number of receptacles per room. It is strictly distance based so the smaller the room the less receptacles.

The distance for most rooms is 1.8m. The rule is that no usable wall space (that is a wall longer than 900mm) can be more than 1.8m from a receptacle. So if a wall is 3.6m or shorter in length it only requires a single receptacle. For example if the wall was exactly 3.6m long you could place the receptacle dead centre and now either side of the receptacle is less than 1.8m of usable wall space. Each wall is treated independently of the wall next to it so every wall in a room would have at least 1 receptacle. You do not include door openings, space behind a door when it is fully open, windows that extend to the floor, fireplaces when measuring. All of these things interrupt the “usable wall space” and reset your measurement.

Receptacles I would personally add.
1. If you know where you may be wall mounting TVs have a receptacle put up higher for each of them so that no cords are visible. Consider running Ethernet cables to these locations as well. Also if you will have any sort of entertainment stand below that will house equipment connecting to your tv have them run a central vac pipe or similar in the hall to run your cables.

2. If you know master bed placement put a receptacle on either side where you’d have night stands.

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