Wiring Question - Finishing Basement


Old 03-25-04, 08:19 AM
Chris Perkins
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Wiring Question - Finishing Basement

Forgive me if this sounds confusing. I'm a do it yourselfer and I'm finishing my basement. There is one 15 amp breaker that is hooked up to one three way switch and two single pole switches (located at the bottom of the stairwell in my basement). The three way switch is used to operate the light in the stairwell (along with a single pole switch at the top of the stairwell. The other two single pole switches (bottom of the stairwell with 3 way switch) are used to operate two different sections of the basement. Also, from the box that holds all three switches, a 14/2 wire goes to a GFCI outlet which is located in the basement. When I turned off that breaker to do my re-wiring, I discovered that lights and outlets doesn't work in one room upstairs.

In someway, the room upstairs is connected to the box that holds those switches. From the ceiling there is one 14/3 and three 14/2 wires. I figure the 14/3 is from the switch located at the top of the stairs, 2 14/2 wires are from the two different sections of the basement, and 1 14/2 wire is from the utility box. As noted before, another 14/2 wire goes from the switch box to the GFCI.

How in the heck do I wire all this stuff back together? I want to run my 14/2 wire (from the utility box) to the switch box first (which will contain the same amount and type of switches), then to the GFCI, the room upstairs, and to the next outlet in the run. The easiest way possible is preferred. I'm glad I'm almost done with this stuff (thats until the next project occurs).
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Old 03-25-04, 09:12 AM
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There are several problem with your post.

You say that the switch at the top of the stairs is a "single pole switch". I think that it is probably a three way switch.

Are you describing the previous wiring, or what you want to do. I am going to assume that you are describing the previous wiring. Please corret me if I am wrong.

You have not told us anything about the specifics of the wiring. Are the basement lights getting power from the switch box, or are there just switch loops to the set of three switches? Is the upstairs getting power from the switches, or supplying power to them?

The bset way to answer these questions if you don;t know how is for you to describe all the wiring.

List every cable coming into or leaving the boxes. List the color of the wires and where they connect. List every wire, even if they don't connet to anything in the box. use designations such as C1, C2, C3 for the cables, and B for the black wire, W for the white wire, R for the red wire and G for the bare grund wire.

Do this for the switch box at the top of the styairs, the bottom of the stairs, the GFCI outlet and eeach light in the basement as well as the light in the stairwell.

Also, if you are finishing the basement you undoubedly want more outlets than just one. While you could wire from the existing GFCI (which probably no longer needs to be a GFCI), I would recommend a new circuit. A finished basement will need power, and sharing it with all those lights and the room upstairs is probably not a good idea.
Old 03-25-04, 11:23 AM
Chris Perkins
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Sorry, that was confusing.

The condition I stated was the way the wires were previously wired. By finishing my basement, I'm changing the wiring scheme. I have a total of three circuits in the basment now. One is a 20 amp that goes to the basement bathroom and the others are 15amp circuits which runs to the left and right of the utility box throughout the basement. On one of the 15amp circuit runs, which jumps from outlet to another outlet, the 14/2 wire would eventually go to the switch box that contains the 3 way and 2 single pole switches. The run, including the upstairs room, will have a total of 5 outlets and 3 lights. Please advise if this is considered overloading. I misrepresented the type of switch at the top of the stairs, as you stated, it is actually a 3 way switch. Also, the room upstairs, along with the basement lights, lost power when I turned off the circuit and there is a possibility the circuit may be ran upstairs first and one of the 14/2 wires coming from the ceiling is hot (if the breaker was on). How do I test to determine if the circuit goes to the room upstairs first and not the basement then to the room upstairs?

The GFCI outlet, which is located directly under the switch box, is about 5 feet from a water heater and a furnace located in a utility room. In the basement, I plan to put GFCI outlets in the half bath and washer/dryer room. Therefore, I'm not sure if I'm required to have a GFCI in the utility room, if not, I would prefer to just have a regular outlet.

I have a total of 4 wires from the ceiling, one is a 14/3 (C1 - black\white\red), three are 14/2 (C2-4 black\white). I think C1 goes from one 3 way switch to the other. C2 may come from the upstairs room (or utility box) then goes to the 3 way switch and is also hooked up to the GFCI outlet. C3 and C4 came from the basement lights and was spliced with the two single pole switches and with C2.

In my new run, I would like to run 14/2 wire to the GFCI outlet (regular outlet if within code), then to the switch box where now I only need one 3 way switch (for stairwell light) along with only one single pole switch (needed to control two lights in a room now). If after testing and C2 is from the room upstairs and not the utility box, I would like to run C2 from the switch box to the room upstairs. If C2 is from the utility box, I don't I will eliminate the circuit all together and just use the new one I roughed in.

Thanks for loosing some brain cells trying to decipher this stuff.
Old 03-25-04, 03:12 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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If you have an outlet in an unfinished portion of your basement, it must be GFCI protected.

No, 5 outlets and 2 switched will not overload the circuit, as long as you aren;t trying to use multiple high current devices at the same time.

You still have not answered my question.

Please descrive the wiring in detail for each of the locations I asked about. I want details, such as:

C1R - 3way switch.
C1B - 3way switch
C1W-C2W-C3W wire nutted together, etc.

None of us want to guess.

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