Box for an electricity meter in an apartment: the nuances of the selection and installation of a box for an electric meter and automatic machines

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Tatyana Zakharova
Last update: May 2019

For the distribution of power lines in the apartment meets the electric box - a kind of "control point" in which protective automatic devices and an energy meter are installed.

If you select and install the box for the electricity meter in the apartment and then connect the devices according to the established requirements, the use of household appliances, lighting equipment and electrical installations will be not only uninterrupted, but also safe.

In this article, we will just talk about the intricacies of choosing a box for an electric meter, and about the main stages of its installation. We also provide useful recommendations for connecting electrical appliances.

How to choose an apartment electrical panel?

If street boxes for electric meter - not a novelty, the boxes for apartments have appeared recently. Previously, a control box was installed, which was installed on the site.

It served from 2 to 6 apartments, and its filling consisted of electric meters according to the number of premises and protective groups.

Now the number of electrical appliances, which are much more powerful than obsolete devices, has increased. If earlier the energy consumption for one apartment was 750-800 W, today only one hair dryer or vacuum cleaner consumes more than 1.5 kW.

Outdated method of installing a meter in an apartment
An example of a “shield” that was previously mounted in an apartment or a private house: a meter of kilowatts of energy and a pair of “plugs” with fuses

Accordingly, the requirements for equipment have changed, new devices have appeared that guarantee complete safety for apartment residents.

However, only a qualified electrician should deal with the selection of a shield for the meter of consumed electricity, its filling and connection - it is forbidden for fans without assembly to assemble the box.

The purpose of the box for the electric meter

Wiring devices are placed in a special, sized box, which performs several functions at once:

  • serves as a basis for fastening protective devices and other equipment;
  • groups equipment in one place, which makes operation and maintenance easier;
  • protects devices from accidental pressing;
  • protects the internal filling from environmental influences.

Apartment electrical panels differ both in size and material of manufacture. They are made of plastic or metal. Some resemble closets, others are small boxes.

Plastic models with the possibility of installing an electric meter and 6-24 automatic machines are considered the most popular.

Electrobox for installation in the apartment
A sample of a compact apartment electric box. Outside, a box built into the wall is protected by a transparent door. The advantage is that you can quickly read the meter

There are two types of electrical panels: embedded and outdoor. The choice depends on the installation and connection conditions, as well as the underlying surface.

To install the inner box, it is necessary to equip a niche in the wall, that is, to carry out additional construction work.

Outdoor electric box for an apartment
To fix the external model, you do not need to hollow the wall. The box is hung on mounts using screws or dowels. Prerequisites - stability and reliability

The most successful installation site is a corridor or an entrance hall. On the one hand, a shield is installed near the entrance of the electric motorway to the apartment, on the other, it is easier make circuits in all rooms. Mounting the box in a bathroom or kitchen is not recommended due to high humidity.

What to look for when choosing?

First of all, boxing is chosen, focusing on its planned content - the number of wiring devices. But it is important to take into account other nuances, up to the design and the possibility of increasing the number of machines over time.

Wiring diagram for the assembly of the electrical panel
The design of an apartment electrical system includes the mandatory drawing up of a diagram on which protective devices with an electric meter are indicated, including. You can navigate to it when choosing an electrical panel

There are many manufacturers that produce all kinds of models of boxes. It is better to dwell on those intended for the apartment, that is, to exclude, for example, large metal production cabinets or shields with special fastenings for additional equipment.

In household boxes, you should pay attention to the following characteristics and design features:

We recommend working with companies that sell only certified equipment. Responsible sellers usually do not offer “bare” boxes, but boxes with a set of fasteners.

It is better if the din rail frame is removable to make assembly more convenient.

Din rail is sized
If the kit does not have enough frames with din rails, organizers for wires, a grounding bus, a set of wall mounts - all elements can be purchased separately. Better combine equipment from one manufacturer

Hoping for good quality cheap products is not worth it. An electric box usually lasts for years, so it’s better to purchase an expensive but reliable model of one of the brands: ABB, Legrand, Schneider, Makel, Electric, Hager.

Of the Russian manufacturers, RUCELF, IEK, Era, Master are popular.

Features of drawing up a scheme

The assembly of the electrical panel is a crucial moment, so it is important to take into account all the nuances, especially the wiring diagram, installation method and correctly selected equipment.

In addition, you should definitely keep in mind a number of factors, including:

  • type of exclusion;
  • total power of electrical appliances;
  • maximum power;
  • type of electrical appliances.

The choice of equipment, and therefore, boxing, depends on the items listed.

By type of disconnection is meant the wiring of conductors "Loop", "star"using junction boxes or a combination of different types. The number of wires suitable for the box - 3, 10 or more than 20, depends on the choice.

Star wiring
An example of a star wiring. Wires are combined into several groups serving separate zones. For example, the “Kitchen” zone includes two outlet circuits and one lighting

Determine the total power necessary so that choose the right rated parameters of automatic protection devices, as well ascable section - these values ​​are interdependent.

Assume a cable cross section of 2.5 mm. This means that it is designed for a current of 25 A, and the nominal value of the machine installed on the line is 16 A.

For the most powerful appliances, such as air conditioning, oven, washing machine, separate power lines and separate machines are designed.

Instructions for installing a box for an apartment

The sequence of installation of electrical wiring may be different. If you choose a hidden wiring method, then the first step is the construction work to cut the strob under the wires. At the same stage, you can prepare a niche in the wall for the installation of an electrical panel.

If a hinged box is selected, this item should be skipped.

Stage # 1 - niche preparation and box installation

The built-in box is suitable for walls made of a material that can be easily processed. For example, in a plasterboard partition, it is enough to simply cut a niche exactly according to the size of the box.

But a reinforced concrete wall requires a lot of effort to hollow out even a small recess in area, so it is more rational to take a mounted model and hang it on the dowels.

Installation of an electrical panel in a wooden house
It is advisable to mount external (mounted) models if the apartment is located in a wooden house.To install the built-in box you will have to equip a sealed niche that prevents the contact of electrical appliances with wood

Niche cutting is performed in the following order:

  • Markup. The distance from the floor is 1.4-1.7 m, for the accuracy of the cut we draw around the contour of the box.
  • With a puncher, circular saw or jigsaw (depending on the material), we cut the contour of the niche.
  • We get the cut pieces of drywall. If the wall is brick or concrete - we hollow out the middle with a puncher, a drill.
  • We clean the edges, remove the garbage.
  • We mount the box according to the instructions so that only the front panel with the door protrudes from the outside. If there are special fasteners in the kit, use them.

There are several mounting options, most often the box is fixed in a recess behind the back wall. If there are small gaps along the edges, we cover them with plaster or alabaster. When there are no gaps, we make additional reinforcement with glue.

It is important to remember that breaking the walls of an apartment can be fraught with problems. So, if the concrete wall is a supporting one, then cutting reinforcement without an agreed design is prohibited!

In such situations, it is easier to install a mounted model - to fix the case on the intended mounts. Self-tapping screws or dowels usually come with the box.

Wall Mounting an Embedded Model
Along with the installation of the electrical panel, the wire entry is arranged: for the inner boxes, the gates are hollowed out, which are then hidden under a layer of plaster, for the external ones, the wires are sewn into plastic boxes

The assembly is usually carried out after the completion of construction work, when all the holes and strobes are closed, and the body is installed in place.

Stage # 2 - assembly and filling of the box

We offer step-by-step instructions for assembling an electrical panel for a standard 2-room apartment.

For example, an initial assembly kit includes:

  • 2 40 A circuit breakers - at the input and after the counter;
  • electricity meter "Mercury 50 A";
  • voltage relay Zubr D340t;
  • 3 RCD at 40 A;
  • 7 automatic machines 16 A - for outlet groups, separate - for the oven and for the bathroom, where the water heater and washing machine are located;
  • 2 automatic machines 10 A for lighting circuits.

If any of the listed devices are missing or, conversely, their number is greater, then the number of machines can be reduced or increased.

For the listed devices, a box for installing an electric meter and automatic machines with 3 DIN rails is suitable.

Electric box for 36 modules
Each rail is designed for 12 seats, a total of 36 modules are placed. The meter usually takes up space on 6-8 standard modules

First, fill the top DIN rail:

  • Input Machine Installation in the upper left corner, that is, in the first position. It is advisable to use a bipolar device of 40 A. To one pole, according to the marking, we connect the phase, to the other - zero.
  • Electric meter installation. We fix it to the right of the input automaton. The choice of metering device is best entrusted to a specialist from the management company, who is informed about the maximum energy consumption.
  • Installation of a second machine at 40 A. It duplicates the functions of the input device and serves for additional insurance.

We fix the following devices on the second DIN rail - first voltage relay, and then RCD.

Voltage relay in the electrical panel
The voltage relay performs three functions: it monitors power surges, captures critical values ​​and disconnects the line during overload. Its presence is optional, but to protect expensive electronics it is better to put

RCD installation involves the installation of three devices with a nominal value of 40 A and a cut-off threshold of 30 mA, which serve three separate zones. However, it is recommended to use an RCD with a cut-off threshold of 10 mA for the bathroom.

We pass to the third DIN rail:

  • Installation of single pole machines. Outlet lines for the kitchen are usually overloaded, so we advise you to divide them into 2 groups and install a separate protection device for each group.
  • Connection of devices in the electrical panel between themselves.

In the free space we install two buses: one for connecting the neutral conductors, the other for grounding. The space around the busbars must be free for the distribution of the connected wires.

Connecting conductors to buses
We recommend connecting devices with single-core wires. The installation process is faster, since they do not require crimping and installing tips and are firmly fixed in the sockets

It is important to worry about your own safety - before starting work, be sure to remove the voltage in the network, i.e. turn off the power supply to the apartment!

Lighting circuits may not have grounding conductors if fluorescent lamps equipped with grounding contacts are not involved in the lighting process.

Next, we perform the latest work on connecting:

  • Connecting the input cable and all work linesdeparting to food areas in the apartment. Testing of protective equipment, indication of conductors.
  • Marking machines. The designation to which group each device belongs will further facilitate network maintenance and will allow quick disconnection of circuits in an emergency.

On this, the installation of the apartment box can be considered complete.

Instrument Connection Tips

The assembly of an electric box must be done by a qualified installer, but sometimes there is simply no way or time to call a specialist.

In this regard, everyone who independently installs protective devices must know the following rules:

  1. The electrical box must be “in reserve” - a bit larger than what is required now. Perhaps in the future the number of devices will increase, and extra modules will be useful.
  2. It is recommended to divide the RCD connection by service zones: bathroom + toilet, kitchen, bedrooms. No need to combine in one UZO groups from the bathroom and living room, children's room and kitchen.
  3. RCD does not protect against short circuit, it is placed after the machine, while the RCD rating must be one step higher or at least equal. For example, if the machine is 16 A, it is better to put the RCD on 25 A.
  4. The correct connection procedure: input automatic machine - electric meter - RCD. Putting an RCD at the input instead of the machine is considered a mistake, only an automatic protection device can be replaced difavtomat.

Typically, groups of machines are connected to one RCD for two reasons: either because of the economy of the modules, or because of the high cost of the equipment. Ideally, an RCD should be installed after each machine.

Experts recommend that you do not install RCDs or difavtomaty on outlet lines, to which you plan to connect a PC in the future. If the response threshold is incorrectly calculated, the devices will erroneously respond to the computer and disconnect the line.

Electromechanical RCDs for the apartment
When choosing an RCD, it is better to dwell on electromechanical devices than electronic ones. They are considered more reliable and do not require power for operation.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Option for assembling an electrical panel:

The importance of design and preliminary calculations:

Electroboxing for odnushka - professional advice:

How is the equipment transferred from the common area to the apartment:

It is not possible to assemble and connect an electrical panel with a meter on your own - a qualified specialist, a representative of the management company must choose and install an electricity meter.

There is a tolerance for the installation of some models by the owner of the apartment, however, to verify the correct connection, sealing and starting the meter, you still have to invite the electrician from the UK or ZhEK.

Are you professionally engaged in electrical work and want to supplement the material presented by us with useful recommendations? Please write your comments under this article.

If you did not find the answer to your question in our article, ask our experts in the comments section - we and other visitors to our site who are versed in the topic of wiring will try to clarify the most controversial or difficult points.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Immanuel

    The electric meter in the apartment has one big plus - it is much safer to put different magnets on such a meter so that less energy is wound up) When the meter is in the stairwell, even in the general vestibule, there is a danger that the neighbors will notice that something is wrong, or those checking , and nobody will check the counter of the house without your presence, and you can always remove all fawn)

    • Semen

      Immanuel, today this is a very dubious advantage. Disk counters, on which the magnet stunt worked, are extremely rare today, but this does not work with electronic. Well, and in the end, doing so is simply unethical.
      And the advantage of an individually selected box is precisely that it is individual. You can put additional RCDs, you can sign which machine is responsible for what, you don’t have to worry that during the replacement of the outlet, watchful neighbors will turn on the machine.

  2. For some reason, we installed an electric meter during the construction of the house in the hall. It is very uncomfortable. Now we are going to transfer to the hallway. I think we’ll put the outdoor so as not to hammer anything.

    • Expert
      Amir Gumarov

      Good afternoon, Ivan.

      I think that the electrician chose the place of installation of the meter at the smallest distance from the VL-0.4 kV support passing in front of the house - I mean that the hall windows face the street where the line passes, and the hallway is behind the hall.

      In any case, when transferring the electric meter, be guided by the requirements of the PUE, other regulatory documents. Screenshots of the corresponding paragraphs - attached to my answer.

      Attached photos: