If you need to save a bit of money by doing the electrical yourself, or if you just want to keep a better eye on what your electrician is doing, you may want to do some reading.
I hit my local library and got out a bunch of books on the subject… I skimmed through most of the books over about 3 evenings. I was really just looking for the books that seemed most applicable and had the best approach to teaching. I chose to renew the top few, and read those completely over the past couple weeks (including the Easter Holiday). These were the best ones…
note: with wiring, the code changes from year to year, so you really want to find the books that are up-to-date enough with the National Electric Code (NEC) so you can pass inspection. You could/should start in the library, but you are going to need to buy an up to date version of your favorite that you can keep with you while you actually do the work. I recommend Amazon.com as the cheapest and easiest way to get your hands on the book you want.
Wiring Simplified (44th Edition); This book had the fewest pictures, but gave the most specific references to the 2014 National Electrical Code. The authors of this book (Richter, Schwan and Hartwell) are extremely well respected. The writing style was a little bit dry, but I liked how, in addition to explaining what the NEC rules were and were to find them in the code, this book also explained the “why” behind each rule. “Wiring Simplified” really covered everything from the planning stage to how to actually setup the service entrance and wire everything up. In also included tricks for making the job easier. This book is so respected that it is the only electrical book you will find at Home Depot, and they put it right in the Electrical isle.
Wiring a House (5th Edition); This was my favorite book. It stood out for me because it was really about wiring a whole house, which is what I needed to do. It included sections on designing the circuit layouts and the service entrance. Many other books seemed focused only on renovations and assumed that the serious electrical work was already done. The Author, Rex Cauldwell, also has a great reputation and brings both his experience as a master electrician (and plumber) and his degree in Electronic Engineering to this book. He tells you how to meet the code, and then common sense ways you should exceed it. The explanations and images are excellent (pictures on every page). The book is actually a fun read with humor sprinkled throughout and as a result, I was able to read it much more quickly than some of the other books.
You’re about to learn all the top secret information about… wiring that contractors rarely discuss. You’re putting your ear to the keyhole and listening as we discuss what to buy and what to avoid, what looks good and what really is good, what works and what doesn’t. ~ Rex Cauldwell, Wiring a House, p 207.
I have one more book to go through, I may come back and put that here later…