Basic Home Wiring Books


Active Member
I decided to buy this book on Residential Wiring ( ), after reading Squintz's review on it. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering, but my concetration is in guess what...Control Systems. I worked some control systems projects in industrial applications, but most of my career I have been in the computers field. So my knowledge of wiring for power and residential systems is just basic. I know the theory, but not the practice and customs on this area of knowledge.

This is an area that is more guided by security than engineering, so stuying the technical aspects of electricity is not enough. As the book on Residental Wiring explains (this was new for me) 'The Code', as many of us know it, was written by a fire prevention association - not an enginnering body. So meeting the code ensures acceptable secure pratices - not necessarily the most efficient of technically correct design, but it is safe.

Returning to the book, it is oriented to high school and bachelor degree students learning electricity. It is VERY complete and explains every topic from end-to-end. I only kept it for a few days because my brother, who is designing its own house confiscated it. The book also include sample engineering drawings. So it is good even if you are at the design level. I recommend the book to everybody trying to understand their house wiring - mostly the power part (not as good on networking and automation).

But the book, at about $60 is expensive.

Today I spent about 10-15 minutes waiting for a special order at Home Depot. I was sitting in front to a rack of books and noticed 3 different Home Wiring books. So I decided to give a fast look to them and include my personal optinion on them here. I dont remember the exact names. All them had the publishing company in medium font in the front and had the 'Wiring' word in big. They all are about $20. Not as complete as the one above, but they are still very good. The rating that I added to them was a relative comparison among them.

1. Creative Homeowner's : A
Very clear diagrams. Nice pictures. Good background explanation on every topic. Pictures of real how-tos. I would say that it is heavier on explanation than on how-to step/examples. So you get the knowledge to get around if your situation differs from the examples. Several topics covered including Home Automation (X-10). Has a chapter on low voltage wiring (entrance bell and garden lights), but not enough on telephone and networking. Its the best solution for installing your 3 or 4-way swtiches and other minor installations, and how to understand the wiring of your house.

2. Black & Decker's: B+
This is a heavier book. Very clear diagrams and nice and clear pictures. Includes background explanation on the topics. It is stronger on how-tos, but it is still good. The problem that I have with too much how-to is that you dont do much with how-tos if your situation is slightly different than the one explained by the book. If you dont know what you are doing you are stuck. With the theory on this book you should get around. Most of the examples on installations on walls/ceilings do not apply to me because I have a concrete house. But, if you have a typical US house it is a very good investment. Aren't they making concrete houses in Florida and New Orleans yet? They should.
Returning to the book, this book has a beeter coverage of netowkring and telephone wiring.

3. Stanley's: C-
Not worth your money. Very dark pictures. THis book is made of how-to examples. But the pictures are so dark that they are not pleasnt to read. They also look old. You might get your job done with the book (if you find exactly what you need), but you will not learn a thing.

Well, this is my opinion. I hope it helps you talk with your electrician if you still choose to use one, or save you some money if you are brave to DIY.