I want to install can lights in my living room. I live in NJ and I am allowed to do this work myself. I was told by local township to submit 2 sets of drawings for locations of new lights/switches. My question is how can I draw these diagrams ? I can just draw it my way but I am not sure If there is any standard way for drawing electrical plans which I have to follow. Does it have to be 3D plan ? Is there any free software out there which I can use ?

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    Why not ask the local township? They'll know and will probably give you an example or at least let you look at one already submitted.
    – JACK
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 21:22
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    My city will accept hand drawings, even if amateurish and unprofessional, if they clearly depict what the intent is. You should include written details like what size breaker is feeding, what else is on the circuit, what wire type and gauge, fixture brand/model/rating, the conditions in the install area (e.g. some can-light fixtures are rated for insulation contact, some are not...) Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


I Normally draw a rectangular box and provide the room dimensions. Show the location of the door and the light switch. In the diagram show where the feed is to the existing light or the switch and the location of the existing fixture with wire running from the switch to the fixture.

At each location you draw the cables list the size and /type and or conduit examples : 12-2WG or 14-2WG for Romex. If conduit 1/2” emt 3 ea #12 thhn or possibly MC 14-2 WG (Emt electric metal tubing, MC metal clad,)

I usually change colors and show the new fixtures fed from (the original light fixture box or switch). If any question of box fill I show the Fill calculation for the size and type and box size if only 1 in 1 out I don’t
switch loops fed from the fixture I do unless the box is separate. the fixtures do not have to be exact locations the wire route is approximate. I have turned the drawing in on the hamburger wrapper from my lunch in one case but they usually like it on an 8-1/2 x 11 paper your name and address the location of the room in the home with an explanation like “existing feeder 14-3 nmb (Romex) from main panel 15 amp breaker #6 . Addition of 3 ea ic can lights 60w max.

I have never had to provide more than this and as I said I have laid out a quick job for a guy that caught me in town and I drew it up on a hamburger wrapper it might have been yellow and the inspector told me I better have a burger for him on the inspection. But approved the drawing and gave me the permit on the spot after copying it.

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    Hamburger wrapper!
    – ojait
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 0:05
  • I should make sure to mention (for others as living room is acceptable) the room in the house as defined by code as the name on the drawing. NE bedroom (not Ella’s bedroom) downstairs living room, master bath, 2nd floor bath , kitchen and living room are acceptable unless there are 2 then the location is required, they get picky on the panel having similar locations. Written on the sticker in the panel is fine. I print a list and tape it in with the date my name and license# phone# (inspectors love this as it is neat and readable), you can do the same with the date professional looking helps
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 15:46

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