Possible to add an outlet?

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  #1  
Old 10-24-05, 08:42 AM
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Possible to add an outlet?

I have one light and one outlet in my basement. The outlet is directly connected to the circuit panel with it's own switch, the light is on another switch that controls most of the lights on my house. I want to add another outlet in my basement. Can I add the outlet by splicing into the light's box?

Thanks for your help,
Jeremy
 
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  #2  
Old 10-24-05, 08:49 AM
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Do you mean breaker, rather than switch?

If most of the lights in your house are on one breaker, then I would not recommend using that circuit for a receptacle in your basement or anywhere else. Use the circuit that has the single receptacle on it, or run a new circuit.
 
  #3  
Old 10-24-05, 08:53 AM
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Why do you want to tap the light box? Why not the receptacle box?

Is the light you want to draw power from controlled by a pull chain or a wall switch?

What do you want to power from your new receptacle?
 
  #4  
Old 10-24-05, 10:48 AM
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Do you mean breaker, rather than switch?
Yes, I ment breaker, sorry.

Why do you want to tap the light box? Why not the receptacle box?
My thinking was that it would be easier then either adding another breaker or tapping into the box off of the breaker box. I think I may go the route of adding it to the box outlet. Since there's only the one outlet on the breaker box, I could probably add more then one outlet onto that circuit?

Is the light you want to draw power from controlled by a pull chain or a wall switch?
Pull chain. But if I'm going to go off the outlet, maybe it would be a good time to add a switch to it? How difficult would that be?

What do you want to power from your new receptacle?
Home entertainment system: TV, Reciever, DVD, VCR, Cable Box and three video game systems.

Jeremy
 
  #5  
Old 10-24-05, 12:09 PM
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That's a lot to add to an existing circuit. Double-check to make sure that that one receptacle is indeed the only thing on that circuit. Shut off that breaker to it and leave it off for a week or two to see if you have lost anything else in the house. Sometimes there can be other things on the same circuit (such as upstairs bathroom receptacles or garage receptacles or the front porch receptacle) and it not be obvious that this is true.
 
  #6  
Old 10-24-05, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
That's a lot to add to an existing circuit. Double-check to make sure that that one receptacle is indeed the only thing on that circuit. Shut off that breaker to it and leave it off for a week or two to see if you have lost anything else in the house. Sometimes there can be other things on the same circuit (such as upstairs bathroom receptacles or garage receptacles or the front porch receptacle) and it not be obvious that this is true.
I hate to admit it, but at the moment, I have all that plugged into the one outlet available (the one mentioned above), using an extension cord drapped across the room.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-05, 12:55 PM
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I sure hope that extension cord is a heavy duty one and not a flimsy one.

Since this one receptacle is in the basement, you MAY be able to trace the cable all the way back to the panel. If you can follow the cable all the way back to the panel , and if it is the only cable attached to the receptacle, and if it is the only cable attached to the breaker, then you should be able to add to it.

However, I would consider the overall picture. Are you refinishing the basement? Why not run several circuits where you need them in this basement. That way you will be able to run your home entertainment items and other things you may want.
 
  #8  
Old 10-24-05, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
Shut off that breaker to it and leave it off for a week or two to see if you have lost anything else in the house. Sometimes there can be other things on the same circuit (such as upstairs bathroom receptacles or garage receptacles or the front porch receptacle) and it not be obvious that this is true.
A tip: When I move into a house, I invest an hour or so in documenting which outlets and lights are on what circuit. The best time to do it is when the place is empty so you can see all switches and outlets. First I walk around the house to make a list of all lights and outlets. Same for the exterior and the garage. Then I turn off a breaker and go room by room, turning everything on and off. I write the circuit numbers on the list as I go and then enter the info into a Word file. That enables me to generate one list by room and another by circuit. I've found it immensely valuable when changing lights and switches as well as trouble-shooting. For example, my list showed that the furnace motor in my new home was not on a dedicated circuit and that the one knob and tube run still left only serviced five ceiling lights. The two electricians I've dealt with were amazed, impressed and most thankful. When I sold my last house, the home inspector was totally wowed and kept citing it to his client as an example of how well the home had been maintained.
 
  #9  
Old 10-25-05, 05:25 AM
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A tip: When I move into a house, I invest an hour or so in documenting which outlets and lights are on what circuit. The best time to do it is when the place is empty so you can see all switches and outlets. First I walk around the house to make a list of all lights and outlets. Same for the exterior and the garage. Then I turn off a breaker and go room by room, turning everything on and off. I write the circuit numbers on the list as I go and then enter the info into a Word file. That enables me to generate one list by room and another by circuit. I've found it immensely valuable when changing lights and switches as well as trouble-shooting. For example, my list showed that the furnace motor in my new home was not on a dedicated circuit and that the one knob and tube run still left only serviced five ceiling lights. The two electricians I've dealt with were amazed, impressed and most thankful. When I sold my last house, the home inspector was totally wowed and kept citing it to his client as an example of how well the home had been maintained.
I second that. I recently redid our office and in the process replaced the last few remaining knob and tube cirucits in the house. The funny part was I'd kill the power to the office and lose power to the TV in the living room, which is on the exact opposite side of the house. After 88 years, its amazing what people can do to a home. In addition, I lost power to 3 miscellaneous outlets spread throughout the house due to them being spliced into the knob and tube circuit that ran up to the attic. It must have been a convenient place for previous homeowners to tab into for power since it ran up the middle interior wall.

On another note, I love how what should have been stripping some wallpaper and painting in one room turns into a complete rewire of 1/3 of our house. I just love home ownership.

Good luck.
 
  #10  
Old 10-25-05, 07:18 AM
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Okay, I checked it out last night and the one outlet is physically attached to the circuit breaker panel. It is on it's own 20 amp circuit. I should be able to add several outlets off of that, correct?

Thanks for the tips!
Jeremy
 

Last edited by jeremy1701; 10-25-05 at 08:02 AM.
  #11  
Old 10-25-05, 07:59 AM
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Yes, you should be able to tie into this circuit. However, I would not do so from the receptacle. I would do so into the main panel, either to the same circuit breaker (if it can accept two wires) or through the small piece of conduit and to the receptacle. Ideally I would still use a new circuit.
 
  #12  
Old 10-25-05, 08:06 AM
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Well, here's the thing... This would be my first electronic project, and I'm a little nervous adding an entirely new circuit. I was hoping to start off with something a little simpler, if you know what I mean. If I decide to add add a circuit, should I add a 20 amp or a 15 amp? Another silly q, I assume if it's a 20 amp circuit, I have to get 20 amp outlets?

Jeremy
 
  #13  
Old 10-25-05, 08:16 AM
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I agree that having your first electrical project include adding a new breaker is probably not the best idea. So just extend the circuit from this receptacle. Read at least three books on home wiring before beginning. Don't skip the safety section. Come back here with any questions that arise along the way.
 
  #14  
Old 10-25-05, 08:18 AM
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If this is your first time doing this work then opening the panel and adding a circuit may not be a good thing to do. Perhaps you SHOULD start with simply extending this circuit.

If you add a circuit, then add a 20 amp circuit, especially considering you want this for a fairly decent load. If you are in the US you don't need 20 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit, 15 amp ones will do. You do need 12 gage wire. In Canada you need 20 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit.
 
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