New outlet for wall-hung plasma tv

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  #1  
Old 08-15-05, 08:01 PM
Edge
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New outlet for wall-hung plasma tv

I would like to install a new outlet in my wall for a plasma tv. I have an accessible circuit nearby that has several outlets on it. One in the basement, two inside, and one outside gfci. (I now know the basement outlet should also be gfi, but I'll have to rectify that another time).

Is there any reason I cannot tap into this circuit and add an outlet for my tv? The circuit originates in the basement breaker box, goes into the basement outlet, into the adjacent crawlspace, and up into a wall to feed the three above mentioned outlets. Can I just cut into this wire somewhere in the crawlspace, add a wiring box, and run another 12/2 from the wiring box to the new outlet location, using wire nuts to connect the line, branch with the two outlets and gfci outlet, and the 2nd branch feeding the circuit to the tv?

The new outlet will be about 8 feet away from where the existing circuit runs. The new 12/2 would have to run perpendicular to the floor joists in the basement/crawl-space ceiling. Do I have to drill holes in the joists for the wire, or am I able to tack it to the underside of the joists, since the crawlspace is not an occupied area?

Thanks in advance for the help, and let me know if I need to provide any more information.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-16-05, 02:06 AM
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Check the power consumption of the TV. It will be upward of 300 watts. The big ones can use up a whole 15 amp dedicated circuit.

Then guess a few other things plugged into that outlet. And consider what else is on the circuit, and could be on that circuit later. Your increasing needs today corroborate my rule of thumb that people want 50% more outlets every 20 years. If a new circuit isn't much more work now you'd be wise to add it, just in case some electronic device you want gets invented in the near future.

It's a 15 amp breaker? Curious the wires are 12 gauge, but no harm in that. You're right to continue same gauge.

Your wiring plan sounds fine. Just staple cables to joists within the safety of a crawlspace.
 
  #3  
Old 08-16-05, 03:41 AM
Edge
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Thank you for the reply. It sounds simple enough!

My TV actually uses 500W. I had thought about running a new circuit and dedicating it only to the new TV outlet, and then installing an additional outlet below the TV for audio equipment, DVD player, etc. I'm out of slots in my breaker panel though. I've read about skinny breakers or double breakers or something like that. Is there any reason for me to not use something like that for adding a new circuit? My box has somewhere around 20 slots (rough estimate).

I assume adding the new breaker is pretty straightforward? I have a good understanding of electronic theory and electricity in general, but have not worked in a breaker box before. I do have a main disconnect at the service entrance, so I can kill all of the power to the breaker box. Makes me a bit more comfortable!

Anything else I should know?
 
  #4  
Old 08-16-05, 04:17 AM
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Tell us about your panel box (brand, model #, age, etc.). Do you see "CTL" on a label somewhere on it?

Tandem/twin breakers may be a possibility depending on what kind of panel box you have.
 
  #5  
Old 08-16-05, 04:33 AM
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You may or may not be able to use tandem breakers in your panel, it depends on the panel. That would be your best plan of action, because you are then guaranteed that nothing else will be on the circuit.

As for your original plan, it sounds correct. You will probably find that you need two boxes in the crawl space, or that you would have to replace one of the wires to the next device. Rarely is there enough slack in a cable to all you to cut it and install a junction box. You need six inches on each side (a total of one foot) of wire on each side for the connections. You will have to drill holes and run the wire through the joists, or you can install a running board perpendicular to the joists and run the cable along the running board.
 
  #6  
Old 08-16-05, 05:33 AM
Edge
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I just remembered I have a couple of 220V breakers in the box for circuits I no longer need. They were for old window AC units which are no longer in service. I will verify, but I am almost certain there's nothing else on these circuits.

I should be able to remove one of the 220V breakers and the associated wire from the breaker box, and install a 20A breaker feeding the new 12/2 run for the new outlets, right? The 220V breaker is double height, so I would need a filler panel of some sort, I guess?

As for your drilling holes / running board remarks, does installing a running board give me any advantage to stapling to the underside of the joists? If I were to run the wires through the basement and not just the crawlspace, would I then be required to drill holes in the joists, as opposed to attaching the wire to the underside?
 
  #7  
Old 08-16-05, 05:59 AM
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You can certainly remove the no longer needed 240 volt breakers. Rather than buying a filler panel for the unused space, simply buy two breakers, install them and leave one unused.

You also don't have to completely remove the unused cable either. Remove it from the panel, and cut it off close to the wall. You don;t have to remove it all the way to the receptacle. In fact, you can leave it installed, just not connected in the panel. You may even consider converting it to a regular 120 volt circuit, if possible.

You may be able to get away without a running board in the crawl space, but you certainly need one in the basement if you aren't going to drill holes through the joists. The running board provides something solid for the cable to run along, since it will be below the joists. When the cable is running through the joists it doesn't need the protection.
 
  #8  
Old 08-16-05, 06:35 AM
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I now know the basement outlet should also be gfi, but I'll have to rectify that another time
It might already be GFCI protected by the outside GFCI.

two inside
These are not, by any chance, in bathrooms are they?

Can I just cut into this wire somewhere in the crawlspace, add a wiring box, and run another 12/2 from the wiring box to the new outlet location
Most of the time there is not sufficient slack in the cable to do this. You may need to add two junction boxes. Don't make a splice unless there is sufficient slack in the line so that the splice will not pull apart with thermal changes.

Of course, adding the new circuit is by far preferrable.
 
  #9  
Old 08-16-05, 06:56 AM
Edge
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Thanks for the help, everyone! It looks like I'll be removing one of my 220V breakers and running a new circuit for the TV/stereo/etc. It doesn't look like it'll be be much more work than tapping into the existing circuit.


Originally Posted by John Nelson
It might already be GFCI protected by the outside GFCI.
It's not. I just replaced the outside outlet with a GFCI outlet over the weekend. It's at the end of the run. I think I'll just remove the basement outlet from this circuit and run a new line for basement outlets, with a new GFI outlet protecting them all. I'll be back for more advice when it's time to make those changes.

Originally Posted by John Nelson
These are not, by any chance, in bathrooms are they?
No, they're just wall outlets in the same room as the TV. They likely won't even be used for anything. My bathroom wiring is also a subject for another thread! (One 20A circuit feeding 1 1/2 baths, plus 3 bedrooms. -- no outlets in the bathrooms though, just lighting for now.)
 
  #10  
Old 08-16-05, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Edge
Thanks for the help, everyone! It looks like I'll be removing one of my 220V breakers and running a new circuit for the TV/stereo/etc. It doesn't look like it'll be be much more work than tapping into the existing circuit.
Very good plan. Expensive electronics should have their own circuits anyway with quality surge protectors.
 
  #11  
Old 08-17-05, 05:23 AM
Edge
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My breaker box is in the basement, surface mounted on a concrete block wall. Most of the wires coming from it exit the box at the top, run straight up the wall 8-10" until they hit the joists above, and then go their separate ways.

For my new line, I'll exit the top of the box, run straight up to the joists above, run parallel to one of the joists over to the adjacent crawl space, and then perpendicular to the joists in the crawlspace, probably using a 1x8 as a running board for support.

My question is does the wiring need to be protected as it exits the breaker box? I'm assuming that once it reaches the joists, I am able to tack it to the side of the joist it's runing parallel to, and that will provide adequate protection.

If protection as it runs up the wall to the joist is required, what should I use? I plan on running 12/2 romex for the circuit. As for running along the joist and the running board, and up through the sill plate and into the wall to the outlets, are there any regulations on how often it needs to be tacked? I've heard every 12 inches.

Thanks again!
 
  #12  
Old 08-17-05, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Edge
My question is does the wiring need to be protected as it exits the breaker box? I'm assuming that once it reaches the joists, I am able to tack it to the side of the joist it's runing parallel to, and that will provide adequate protection.
No protection is needed out the top of the breaker box, unless your existing wiring is in conduit. National code does not require it, but some states or cities might. If your existing wiring is exposed romex out the breaker box, go ahead and install the new circuit that way.

Yes, staple it to the sides of the joists when running parallel.

As for running along the joist and the running board, and up through the sill plate and into the wall to the outlets, are there any regulations on how often it needs to be tacked? I've heard every 12 inches.
Every four feet is the minimum, although you could staple it at every joist if you wanted.

Since this is an add-on circuit and not new construction, the cable does NOT need to be stapled once it is inside the walls. This is called "fishing" the cable and is allowed in add-on electrical work.

Good luck!
 
  #13  
Old 08-22-05, 09:31 AM
Edge
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Just a follow-up.

I ran some 12/2 to my new outlet location this weekend. It went pretty well .. some cussing here and there while trying to get the 12/2 through a 3/8" hole in my sill plate. (Yes, 3/8". I quickly realized the error of my ways and went shopping for a 5/8" bit. Much easier!)

As for my breakers, I discovered the double height 20A 220V breaker and the two single 110V 20A breakers I was replacing it with with are actually the same thing. I removed the metal bar connecting the throws on top the two breakers, and voila! Two 20A breakers. They were the exact same part numbers as the ones I picked up at the store, I assume I did the correct thing. Someone correct me if there is a problem with this.

As for the wiring -- I'm starting to think I should have used BX in the basement (at least until the crawl space starts), as It's a workshop area that I use quite often. I read somewhere that the NEC states NM cannot be used in areas where it's subject to damage. Is tacked to a joist, 7' from the floor in a basement workshop, "subject to damage?"

Thanks
 
  #14  
Old 08-22-05, 11:18 AM
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As for my breakers, I discovered the double height 20A 220V breaker and the two single 110V 20A breakers I was replacing it with with are actually the same thing. I removed the metal bar connecting the throws on top the two breakers, and voila! Two 20A breakers. They were the exact same part numbers as the ones I picked up at the store, I assume I did the correct thing. Someone correct me if there is a problem with this.
Not really a problem, if the handletied breaker was a double pole common trip then taking the handle tie off it will not cause the breakers to be independent of one another. A ground fault on one will also trip the other. The handle tie is there for manual operation to ensure both ungrounded legs are disconnected.

Is tacked to a joist, 7' from the floor in a basement workshop, "subject to damage?"
This is not subject to physical damage. If the NM is tacked to the bottom edge... spanning joists .... without a running board then this would not be allowed.
 
  #15  
Old 08-22-05, 12:32 PM
Edge
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Originally Posted by Roger
Not really a problem, if the handletied breaker was a double pole common trip then taking the handle tie off it will not cause the breakers to be independent of one another. A ground fault on one will also trip the other. The handle tie is there for manual operation to ensure both ungrounded legs are disconnected.
They're two separate breakers, and are single pole. Siemens type QP, in a Murray 200A box.
This is not subject to physical damage. If the NM is tacked to the bottom edge... spanning joists .... without a running board then this would not be allowed.
I tacked it to the wide face of the joist ('side', not 'edge').

I was just curious about this when I started looking at the other more recently installed circuits -- which were all AC. But then I have plenty of fabric-covered wiring spanning the joists without a running board. It all looked pretty scary, until I looked inside the breaker box. All of the existing fabric-covered wires were in good shape (with PVC insullation over the individual conductors). I suppose this is just an older version of NM?

As for spanning joists in an uninhabited area, such as a crawl space, why would a running board be required?
 
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