Installing a new outlet?

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Old 07-09-05, 06:52 PM
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Installing a new outlet?

I am trying to find out whether it would be OK for me to add a new outlet to my basement. Here is the situation:

I am in the early stages of finishing my basement. Our first step has been to install tubing for radiant heat. I just talked to a contractor last week about installing the heat source and controls for the heat system. He pointed out that I will need an outlet for the new water heater. After he left I noticed that the outlet our water softener is plugged into has only one receptacle, and I was wondering whether I can just replace that outlet with one that has two receptacles. My main concern is that I would be overloading the basement circuit by adding another water heater. Right now there are just two circuits (with 15 amp breakers) running power to our basement: One dedicated to the furnace. The other runs power to all the lights and outlets. Currently plugged into outlets are the main house water heater, sump pump, water softener, and air exchanger.

Would it be too much adding another outlet receptacle to this circuit for another water heater? If so, does that mean I'd need another circuit run to the basement?

Thanks much!
 
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Old 07-09-05, 07:01 PM
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I noticed that the outlet our water softener is plugged into has only one receptacle, and I was wondering whether I can just replace that outlet with one that has two receptacles
Maybe, but probably not. First of all, you need to find out the electrical specs on the water softener and find out if it requires a dedicated circuit. If the requirements are low, the next problem is that this receptacle is almost certainly not GFCI protected, so depending on location, you may need GFCI protection for anything new you add.

Take a step back and look at the larger picture. To finish your basement, you will certainly need somewhere between 2 and 8 new circuits anyway. So although tapping the water softener circuit may be a short term expediency, you need to solve the larger problem anyway. Once you address the larger problem, the water softener circuit will no longer be necessary.

In general with basement finishes, I find it best to plan out everything before doing anything. This saves you the trouble of making poor early decisions.

Water heaters vary in their electrical requirements. Find out the specifications of the one you plan. However, even small ones require a lot of power and almost certainly need a new dedicated circuit.
 
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