How many circuits for my basement?

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Old 11-10-02, 05:06 PM
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How many circuits for my basement?

To my basement, I am adding a large room 25x16 with two seperate areas to light, a bathroom, an exercise room and a mini bar.

The large room will have 6 receptacles and two sets of 4 recessed lights.

The minibar will have a GFCI for the counter receptacle and refrigerater and undercabinet lights.

The bathroom will have vanity lights, a ceiling fixture w/exhaust fan and one receptacle.

The exercise room will have 4 receptacles and a light fixture.

Can I use 2 20A circuits for simplicity?

Can the bedroom share the Sump pump 15A circuit?

Typically, is it best to try to use the existing basemnet curcuit wiring or start from scratch and just take it's place in the breaker panel (200A)?

Thanks,
Aaron
 
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Old 11-10-02, 10:47 PM
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Only 6 receptacles in a 25 by 16 room is a code violation. You need more. I can't say how many more without knowing where the doors are.

You cannot put anything else on the circuit with the sump pump.

If you house was built in the last decade or so, your builder gave you two spare circuits, probably a multiwire 15-amp circuit terminated in a box with a cover plate. I'd recommend supplementing that with two or three additional 20-amp circuits. You at least need a 20-amp circuit for the bathroom.

A lot of the electrical design depends on what you plan to do in the basement, and what electrical equipment will be down there. E.g., will you have a large-screen TV, will you perhaps need supplemental electrical heat, will you have electrical powered exercise equipment, etc. It would also be useful to know the total square footage. And the type of lighting (incandencent or fluorescent) is also significant.

There is a ton of room for personal opinion, but I think you need four to six circuits for all this, depending on factors such as those above.

Be sure to follow all codes. It sounds as if you perhaps haven't read up on the codes yet. In addition to the electrical codes, there are a lot of other codes you'll need to know (bedroom egress, firestopping, HVAC codes, combustion air for your furnace, various clearance requirements, GFCI in unfinished areas, insulation requirements, etc.).

Good luck and do your homework.
 
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Old 11-11-02, 05:45 PM
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John,

Thanks for the response.

I've been struggling through books and forums such as this for the rest of the basement and have most of the Framing/HVAC/plumbing covered. Now I am moving along to educating myself on electrical codes. I bought a book (creative homeowner's WIRING) and it is terribly full of useless information. Very little on codes. I looked long and hard through it before asking these questions. I probably need another book.

The large area (25x16) would have have:
North - 16' wall would have 2 outlets
West - 25' wall would have 3 outlets.
South - 16' boundry is actually a 5' doorway to the bath room, a 6.5' minibar (not wet) and an entrance to the room.
East - 25' boundry would have 2 outlets total. It has a door and the stairway and then joins the south wall at the enterance so it is actually more like a 22" wall.
I miscounted earlier, that makes 7 not including 2 on the mini bar. Adding more oultets to the plan is not a big deal.

Our house was built one year ago and there are no blank circuits w/breakers. The basement is about 750 ft². The bathroom is 5x9, the exercise room is an irregular 12x12 and the landing is about 8x10. The rest is closets.

I am thinking about one circuit for the large area and mini bar, one for the bathroom and one for the exercise room. There will be a big screen, a stereo and a mini fridge in the large room. No electric exercise equipment in the exercise room. Do you still see a reason for a fourth?

Thanks again,
Aaron
 
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Old 11-11-02, 06:05 PM
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Aaron,

I recommend a little green paperback called "Wiring Simplified". It an inexpensive book sold in most Home Depots, and covers almost all of the codes you will need in your basement in only about 180 pages. You'll want to pay particular attention to the receptacle spacing requirements, and the bathroom requirements. But you'll also learn about box fill rules, cable supporting rules, cable protection rules, cable and wire stripping, how much wire you must leave in each box, etc.

Make sure that no spot along a living space baseboard is more than 6 feet from a receptacle. This includes within 6 feet of either side of any doorway, and all wall spaces between doorways that are 2 feet or wider.

Dedicate one 20-amp circuit to just the bathroom, and put one GFCI-protected receptacle within 36" of the sink.

Leave at least 6 inches of wire in each box.

Receptacles within 5 feet of the minibar sink must be GFCI protected. Receptacles in all unfinished areas (e.g., furnace or storage rooms) must also be GFCI protected.

You'll read about all this and more in "Wiring Simplified". I don't think "creative" is a word I'd be looking for in the title of an electrical book. You want to do some pretty boring (and safe) stuff.
 
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Old 11-11-02, 07:05 PM
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Thanks again.

Aaron
 
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