circuit determination help

Old 10-29-02, 06:29 AM
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circuit determination help

I am finishing our basement and have the following items to wire for. How should I divide these needs up to several 15 amp circuits using #12 romex. Can I do it in 4 circuits or less?

1 wall light
1 - 1 gang gfi receptacle
1 combo ceiling fan/light/htr

Open area:
2 - 2 gang receptacles
10 - 1 gang receptacles (1 refrigerator, 8 general use, 1 workshop)
7 - 2' x 2' trofer florescent fixtures divided on 3 - 3 way switches
3 - closet lights on separate switches

Can I use romex from the trofer lights to the junction box or do I have to use conduit/flex conduit?

I have a few receptacles that will use Wiremold raceway. Can I slide romex through the raceway or do I need to fish 3 separate wires?

I look forward to hearing from you!
Old 10-29-02, 10:13 AM
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The bathroom needs its own 20-amp circuit. Nothing outside the bath should be on this circuit. Depending on the wattage of that heater, you may want a second 20-amp circuit just for that.

I'd run one 15-amp circuit just for the refrigerator.

I'd run one 20-amp circuit for the eight general purpose receptacles. If the general purpose receptacles will be lightly used, and if the refrigerator is small, you might be able to put the refrigerator on this circuit.

I'd run one 20-amp circuit for the workshop. Maybe more depending on what kind of tools you have and how you use them. If your workshop consists of only hand-held tools, you might be able to put this on the same circuit as the general purpose receptacles. But don't put the workshop, refrigerator, and receptacles all on the same circuit.

All lighting can be on one 15-amp or 20-amp circuit.

You can use Romex with wiremold.

Conduit would not be required for your lighting in most areas.
Old 10-30-02, 07:25 AM
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John, thank you for your help! I feel much more comfortable with my circuit layout now.

I have a few follow up questions.

There are existing pull string lights with plastic electrical boxes that are also serving as junction boxes for other fixtures. If I no longer need the pull string fixture can I just cover the plastic box with a metal solid coverplate? Or do I just leave an unused pull string light? I should add that I am installing a drop ceiling so all of the electrical work now exposed will be behind the ceiling tile.

How many amps, in accumulative breakers, can run out of a 200 amp breaker box? When I add up the breakers there are 455 amps on the left side with 2 breaker slots open and 315 amps on the right side with 3 breaker slots open. Can all open slots be filled with 20 amp breakers for my new circuits or will I overload the breaker box?
Old 10-30-02, 08:07 AM
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You can covet the old boxes with plates,, and you arent going to overload the box with this project. Adding large appliances is what tends to contribute to overloads,,, big ac units, extra water heaters, hot tubs.
Old 10-30-02, 09:17 AM
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Yes, you can cover the boxes, but use plastic covers rather than metal ones. Otherwise, you'll need to ground the cover.

Nothing says you can't have breakers that add up to a million amps in a 200-amp panel. There are restrictions, but this isn't one of them.

And there is nothing to be learned by considering right-side vs. left-side. What breakers are on what side is meaningless.

You can fill up all the open slots with any breakers you want. Breakers don't overload anything. It's what those circuits power than potentially can cause overload.

It would be unusual for an ordinarly home to overload a 200-amp panel, unless you take up simultaneous welding and kiln use, and switch to electric resistance heating in the arctic after removing all insulation.

Last edited by John Nelson; 10-30-02 at 10:03 AM.
Old 10-30-02, 09:24 AM
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The unused boxes can be covered with plates, although I think you'll need plastic plates if they are plastic boxes. The metal plates would need to be grounded and any of the blank metal plates I've seen do not provide a means for grounding themselves. They are normally used on a metal box where the entire box is grounded. All electrical boxes must remain accessible, so as long as you can just remove a drop-in ceiling tile and have access, I think you'd be okay. I'm sure the pros could verify this.

Adding up the ratings marked on the breaker handles does not give a good indication of your power consumption or additional available capacity. You need to do a load calculation to determine exactly how much power you are using.

Sorry John, must have been typing at the same time you were.

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