How to Wire SIPsDecember 1, 2006
You’re going to take the leap and build a SIPs house. Everything is set; manufacturer, dealer, designer. Even your architect thinks it’s a good idea after you agree to supply him with a month’s worth of espresso.
You were lucky and lined up the subs ahead of time. The roofing, siding, flooring, and concrete contractors all said they had been looking for the opportunity to work with SIPs. Even better, your HVAC guy has already cut his teeth on three SIP structures and is fully on board.
Now all you have to do is line up an electrician.
A big question with SIPs is how do you make the electrical connection? Unfortunately for you, the SIP industry has a bad wrap when is comes to running wire. Is this reputation deserved? If the electrician shows up on the job without a good understanding of wiring panels and/or the installers don’t help him out by communicating with him, the job is going to be a nightmare and that electrician will blame it on SIPs instead of where the real blame belongs (frankly that’s you).
The general contractor is responsible for making sure the SIP installers and the electricians communicate so that the electrician knows what tools he’ll need and has the information to do the job well.
If you build a SIP house, it’s all on you. But luckily, prepping a SIP house doesn’t take much time if you make it part of the install. The tools you’ll need aren’t that expensive or hard to operate. And, if done right, the proper electrical prep, will save you tons of aggravation down the road.
Who’s smiling now?
Here’s how to do it.
First, find out what your SIP manufacturer will do. Most have horizontal and vertical chases but they may also add chases for a nominal charge based on your design. This will save a bunch of time later on.
Second, become familiar with a few tricks that will make the installation a breeze.
The Hot Ball
Buy a ball bearing from a local machine shop. EPS panels will turn to vapor under very high temperatures.
Heat up a the ball with a torch. You want the color to be just under red. At this temp the ball will move through the foam but not cause a flame.
Drop it in the hole and watch it disappear.
Create a funnel for it to escape.
Don’t touch it!
For short distances, you can plunge holes with a big auger.
If you’re using this hog, hold on tight.
A flex bit is your biggest friend for long runs.
Clearly identify where you need to go and angle it in.
This connector hole can be filled later.
The rest of the flipbook
Now it’s time for some real fun.