Your Home's Office Electricial Needs

For years the concept of ‘home office’ has been in use to varying degrees but when this Pandemic partnered up with necessity, the Mother of Invention, ‘home office’ exploded as workers everywhere sought refuge in the safety of their homes while continuing to generate an income. But is commandeering a bedroom or playroom all that is required to set up an office within one’s home?

OUTLETS AND CIRCUITRY: PROBLEM
Older building codes leading up to the 1960’s only required 2 outlets per room on a circuit shared by other rooms within the house. If your house is pre-1960 or even 1980’s, chances are your newly designated home office is woefully underwired and underlit.

Consider for a moment these common loads found in the average home office:

15” Laptop – 50-60 watts
Desktop – 100-125 watts
Monitors – 30-50 watts per screen
Home Printer – 50-100 watts when printing, 3-5 watts in stand-by mode
Commercial Printer – 300 to 500 watts when printing, 30-50 watts in stand-by mode

Note: these totals are contingent on charging, screen brightness, graphics, number of running programs, etc.
It may not sound like much but add it all up over time and you will have an explanation for that nuisance tripping of circuit breakers or fuses down in the basement or garage.
If the maze of extension cords lying on your floor looks anything like one of the course in last night’s dinner (spaghetti), it is time for a badly needed electrical overhaul.

OUTLETS AND CIRCUITRY: SOLUTION
One or two new 20 amp, 120 volt dedicated circuits, strategically placed will ensure total uninterrupted service and separation of other home circuits in the area.        
Just a quick note about chargers; leaving chargers permanently plugged in outlets saps small trickles of energy when not in use. Vampire consumption of power is avoidable by plugging in chargers only when devices require recharging.

SURGE PROTECTION
Protecting your valuable electronics with surge protectors is a wise choice but plugging multiple surge strips into one another is not. Surge protecting strips are designed to derive their power only from a wall outlet.

WIFI SIGNAL: SPEED AND MORE SPEED
If your downloads are taking longer than a load of laundry, it is probably time to up the speed from your incoming service provider. A phone call to that provider will make downloads speedy and your office space more work conducive and user friendly.
Wifi signal strength diminishes over short distances and has trouble penetrating floors and ceilings. Signal extenders are an easy fix any homeowner can find on-line with installation being relatively simple. Or consider repositioning the router/modem closer to or within your office.

LIGHTING: THE IMPORTANCE OF "LIGHT LEVELS"
As you will be spending many hours within these four walls, including after-hours, (studies show employees often work longer hours from home) attention to lighting is critical to both comfort and productivity.

The three types of lighting to consider are;

- General Lighting – recessed flood lighting and ceiling mounted fixtures
- Task Lighting – recessed spot lighting, desk lamps, pendant fixtures)
- Accent Lighting – table lamps, wall sconces, bookshelf or art highlighting

How do you know if you have enough lighting? That is a very easy exercise in photometrics. Photo what?? First some definitions:

- Foot Candle: One Foot candle (fc) is equal to one lumen per square foot.
- Lumen: Lm a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source

Bedrooms typically are designed with only 30 foot candles of light.
Offices, on the other hand, are work areas and require up to 50 foot candles (on average) or higher.

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR HOME OFFICE HAS ENOUGH LIGHT
Measure the square footage of the room (length x width), multiply that number by the 50 foot candles and you will the total lumens required to illuminate that space.

Example:

A room measuring 16 feet by 12 feet has 192 square feet.

192 square feet multiplied by 50 foot candles is 9600 lumens.

A standard five inch recessed LED bulb at 12w (100w equivalent) = 1200 lumens

A total of 8-five inch recessed lights will be required to adequately light this office.

Dimmers-you can always dim down too much illumination but cannot raise insufficient lighting to higher levels. Design in enough light with dimmers to control the light levels to your individual comfort and adjust each dimmer accordingly.

Light Coloration: Some concern must also be given to the color of the lamps which correspond with the Kelvin scale. A general rule is between 3000k to 4000k for your office.

CONCLUSION
If the importance of this information strikes a chord but seems daunting in design, then contact a Lippolis Electric lighting professional who will happily go over the various options and help correct both power and lighting issues in your office away from office. 

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Lippolis Electric, Inc. | 25 Seventh Street, Pelham, NY 10803 | 914-738-3550 | lippoliselectric.com  | 538 Route 22, Pawling, NY 12564  | 845-855-1420