SAFERhome Standards – Electrical & Telecom
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Criteria 9 – Light Switch Positioning: All switches positioned at 42″ to the centre of the electrical box from the finished floor.

The light switch height standard of 48 inches came from over 100 years ago at the turn of the century when electricity was first being introduced into housing. Due to chair rails and wainscoting the interior designers always insisted that the switch be put above the wainscoting. That ended up being the standard. Since then Universal design has proven that 42 inches works ergonomically better for everyone.

Criteria 10 – Electrical Outlet Positioning: All outlets positioned at 18″ to the centre of the electrical box from the finished floor.

At the end of the 19th century when the new idea of electricity was being introduced into existing housing, the electricians found out very quickly that if all the outlets were not at the same height the clients would complain about the lack of neatness. So the electrical industry started a training program with all the apprentices that introduced the process of using their hammer to set the height of all the outlet boxes.

When you check your home you may find height variations around the 12-inch height mark and that is due to different electricians and different sized hammers. Universal design discovered that 18 inches worked ergonomically better for everyone especially seniors with back problems.

Criteria 11 – Electrical Outlet Placement Locations

  • Beside windows, especially where draperies may be installed, for future curtain controls.
  • Bottom of staircases, for future stair gliders and to use for the vacuum
  • Beside the toilet, for future automated type of toilet seats and lifting technologies (GFI outlet)
  • Above external doors (outside and inside), for future door openers and other technologies
  • On front face of kitchen cabinet, for one easy-to-reach outlet in the kitchen area
  • At Node Zero Location where all the house wiring meets in one place, the communications control centre for smart home options including using electricity for senior’s independence while aging in place and energy conservation, control and management.

With these wiring and electrical outlet placements, the house is also ‘smart’ ready for energy saving technology.

Criteria 12 – Four-Plex Outlets: Placed in master bedroom, home office, garage, and recreation room.

All these locations have a history of being loaded up with lots of electrical devises. By increasing the number of outlets in these areas, issues such as electrical overloads and the potential fire hazards are significantly reduced. This especially helps seniors in the bedroom location with independence through technology options.

Criteria 13 – RG-6 Coaxial Cable Runs: All homeruns return to one central area. (Node Zero)

This is the minimum quality of cable needed to deliver a high-speed communication throughout the home of the future.

Criteria14 – Telephone Pre-Wiring: Cat 5E (4 pair) homeruns to all areas and return to one central area.  (Node Zero)

This is the minimum quality of wire needed to deliver high-speed communications throughout the home. This is the same standard, inexpensive wires as offices use for their phone systems. The telephone wire is the backbone to letting all the systems in the home communicate and increase seniors’ independence through electrical devises and support. The SAFERhome Standards recommend and measure for at least one telephone line to the front door bell position.

This same wire can also deliver significant energy savings by cross communication of the home heating, lighting, and water systems. Better communications directly relates to energy savings. Placement and the number of outlets are based on the homes design.

Criteria 15 – Low-Voltage Runs: All homeruns return to one central area. (Node Zero)

When all the low-voltage homeruns meet in one place they make the home smart ready. This open wiring network design gives the homeowner the ability to use electricity not only for energy savings but also for independent seniors aging-in-place lifestyle needs. The other benefit is that the house has the ability to cross-communicate with any current/future or proprietary technology.

Criteria 16 – Electrical Boxes: All light switches and A/C outlets use Smart electrical boxes.

By installing Smart electrical boxes, introducing technologies, eg. automated light control, in the future is made easy.