If you want to make sense of electric symbols on your blueprints then you’ve come to the right place. The placement of the outlets for all the electrical items in your home can have a significant impact on the design of your home.
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I've included the symbols (along with a bit of explanation) and a checklist. Here goes...
Most of the electrical symbols used on blueprints have become standard. Some architects or designers may use slightly different symbols. Always check with the key on your blueprints.
A few points of explanation...
You’ll notice that some of the symbols have a subscript (that small writing at the bottom of the symbol) that helps explain what the outlet is for. You might some across a symbol with a subscript that isn’t explained here. If so, it should be explained somewhere in the key of the blueprint.
All the outlets refer to wall outlets unless they are contained in square which means they're floor outlets.
Wall and floor power socket outlet symbols
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Multiple outlet (number denotes number of sockets)
Duplex outlet with switch
220 volt outlet
GFCI outlet (more explanation below)
Special Power Outlet (some examples below)
Clothes washer outlet
Dish washer outlet
Clothes dryer outlet (note 220v)
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter - or circuit breaker for short. These outlets are required in places with water - so that's bathrooms and kitchens and maybe outside - especially near a swimming pool. It's so that if you drop your hairdryer in the bath you won't electrocute anyone!
General outlets are where a wire is required to power a fixture where the fixture will be wired in rather than plugged in.
The small horizontal line on the left of the circle indicates that the outlet is wall mounted.
A circle without the horizontal line indicates that the outlet is mounted in the ceiling.
Blanked (unused) outlet
Lamp Holder with pull switch
Pull switch symbol
Clock outlet symbol
Circuits and Panels
Branch circuit concealed in ceiling or wall
Branch circuit concealed in floor
Branch circuit exposed
More electric symbols...
Push button symbol
Smoke detector symbol
Carbon monoxide detector symbol
Panic button symbol
Electric symbols checklist
Make sure you’re happy with the location of outlets – check against your planned furniture layouts. Make sure they're specified at the right height.
Are you happy with the location of the main fuse box? Is it accessible? Because the last thing you want is to be struggling with a torch and ladder if a fuse blows.