Extending circuit in future

Old 05-19-04, 07:43 AM
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Extending circuit in future

I am wiring a new home office in an otherwise unfinished basement. I plan on putting the lights (4 cans) on their own circuit, since the outlets could have a pretty heavy load. I plan on a 20 amp circuit for the lights because all the existing circuits in the house are 20 amp and I have the 12 gauge wire anyway.

So here's the question. It seems to me to be a waste just to have the 4 cans on the circuit. What can I do safely now to make extending this circuit easier later (if I wanted to finish more of the basement)? Can I just run a wire off the circuit and put it into an accessible junction box?

Old 05-19-04, 07:54 AM
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Just after posting I thought of an easy way to accomplish what I want. I will run the wire from the panel to a junction box outside of the room, then a wire to the lights/switch. That way I can open up the box later if needed to add a wire.
Old 05-19-04, 08:02 AM
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Yes, that's a good plan. Might even be better to run two or three spare cables from the panel to this same location. That way you could add more power to your basement later without tapping into this lighting circuit.

By the way, if you're not running low on panel space, it's not much of a waste to only have four lights on the circuit. I'd save the rest of this circuit for more lights later.
Old 05-19-04, 06:38 PM
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There has been some rumblings that the NEC will at some point require the lights to be on a separate circuit from the outlets anyway. Many circuits trip from a fault in a plugged in device, leaving people in the dark. Once in the dark these people have a bad tendency of falling down the stairs, on their way to the panel.

I'm going to sound like a badly skipping record but I strongly diagree with using a 20 Amp breaker on a 2 Amp load. You gain nothing by using a 20 Amp breaker and if there is a problem you want that breaker to trip as soon as absolutely possible. Depending on the type of fault the 20 Amp breaker could hang in there a lot longer than the 15 Amp. I have several circuits with 10 Amp breakers. They started making them for a reason.

Last edited by speedy72; 05-19-04 at 06:52 PM.

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