Routing power and wiring for commercial buildings can be extremely challenging. Many facilities have unique power needs, and you have to cater to those needs. Despite the specifications, the building itself might not be designed to accommodate the easiest or most efficient layout for wiring and electrical enclosures.
When space is limited, you need strategies that help you maximize your economy of space, and there are some surprisingly simple ways to do that. Most of it comes down to finding the right enclosure that can do the job you need, and while you search for that enclosure, you can keep a few things in mind.
Shift the Mounting Angles
When space is limited, it’s often hard to orient the enclosure in a way that allows you to fully mount and secure it. This can be especially true for side-mounting boxes.
The solution sounds pretty simple, but it requires you to explore more enclosure options. You can get a box that has the right mounting orientation that allows you to install it where you need it. When you have access to a wide enough selection, variable mounting angles are available, and there is a solution to many of these situations.
There are times when you might even need a customized box in order to get a mounting solution that works.
Size the Box Appropriately
One of the most important aspects of enclosures with limited space is the wiring itself. If the box isn’t sized correctly, you can run into dangers from excessive heat buildup, or you can have grounding and shock issues.
It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes a larger box is the answer. You can consolidate wires and devices into a single box, which ultimately reduces the amount of space you have to devote to electrical enclosures. Naturally, the inverse can also be true. Depending on your space constraints, you might have to split the contents intended for one box into multiple boxes.
Regardless, for safety reasons, it is essential that you remember the rules for sizing the box. Add up the total number of wires, cable clamps and devices that will be in a given enclosure. Control for the gauge of wires that you are using, and ensure that you have enough space to let them all breathe.
If you can’t fit everything into the space intended, you will have to consider a redesign. As frustrating and challenging as that might be, you can’t safely run the system if you physically don’t have enough space to prevent fire and shock dangers.
Use Multi-Gang Boxes
This concept pairs closely with the ideas above. If you are trying to consolidate electrical enclosures, then a multi-gang box might help you do that. These are boxes that are designed to put multiple outlets, switches or other devices in a single enclosure. They allow you to reasonably organize dense wiring a little better — leading to improved safety and freedom in your wiring design.
Multi-gang boxes are all about efficiency, so when space is limited, it’s important to consider how they can alleviate some of the design challenges and help you build the system that you need.