dividing one circuit into three


Old 11-02-05, 08:48 PM
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dividing one circuit into three

I recently moved into an older home (1955) and the two bedrooms and bathroom are all on the same circuit (15 amp). I have been able to locate most of the wiring runs from the crawlspace except where the run first starts, which is in the bathroom. This wiring is in the wall and inaccessible. What I am thinking of doing is disconnecting this first run of wiring at both the bathroom switch and in the breaker panel and capping off. Then running a new line (14/3) from the breaker box thru two seperate 15 amp circuit breakers in the crawlspace. I will then use the old wire to pull the new wire through the floor and walls and wire one bedroom to one of the hot wires and continue pulling the new wire backwards through the circuit eliminating old wire along the way until I can connect the bathroom to the other hot wire. I would connect all the common white wires and ground wires together to go back to the breaker panel. The other bedroom I will be able to do on its own seperate line.

My question is then, can I or should I wire two seperate 15 amp circuits together to a common return line to the breaker box using 14 ga. wire?
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Old 11-02-05, 09:32 PM
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I can't answer your main question, but I wanted to point out that you normally can't pull new wire through using the old because the old is supposed to be attached with staples or fasteners every 4-5 feet. (I've just done the same thing replacing armored cable with 12-2 Romex)

You may want to just buy a big roll of 12-2 instead, in case you want to create any 20 amp circuits. (the bathroom should have a 20A dedicated) I bought a roll of 250' of 12-2 for $40 or so. It was only $10 more than the 100' roll.
Old 11-02-05, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jhowman
My question is then, can I or should I wire two seperate 15 amp circuits together to a common return line to the breaker box using 14 ga. wire?

Can you share a neutral for two circuits? By code, yes, this is allowed. It is called a "multi-wire circuit" (MWC). The breakers that feed the "two" circuits MUST be on OPPOSITE LEGS of the service. Usually, two breakers are installed side by side to insure this. You should be able to measure 220V across the two hots.

Should you share a neutral for two circuits? Considering the fact you aren't really saving much money running 14-3wg verses two sets of 14-2wg, that you aren't really saving much time doing so, and that you are introducing the potential for a SERIOUS fire hazard should you goof the MWC up...no, you probably should NOT do this.

Also, as I believe was pointed out already, todays code requires bathroom recepticals be on a 20A circuit. This circuit is ONLY to be used for bathroom recepticals, but can serve recepticals in more than one bathroom. Alternately, a 20A circuit can serve recepticals and other outlets (ie, lights, fans, etc) in a SINGLE bathroom. In this case, that 20A circuit must be dedicated to ONLY that one bathroom. 20A circuits REQUIRE at least 12 guage wire. To do what you propose right, you should remove/abandon ALL the 14 guage wire in your bathroom and give it a new, 20A circuit with all 12 guage wire. Remember also to GFCI protect the recepticals.

As the other poster mentioned, I doubt you will be sucessful in pulling out the old wire as it is probably stapled...
Old 11-03-05, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Looks like I will have to re-evaluate how I am going to tackle this wiring problem.
Old 11-03-05, 11:18 PM
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Lightbulb You Can Do It!!!

Hi, Regarding Your Situation. Building Codes Would Suggest You Use 12 Awg Romex To Feed Your Bathroom On A Dedicated Circuit, This Size Wire Handles Up To 20 Amps Of Current.also You Should Install A Gfci Receptacle If Needed.now For Your Bedrooms You Could Use 14/2 Or 14/3 Awg Romex And Feed These Circuits Which Handle 15 Amps Of Current. You Can Branch These Wires To 1 Circuit Breaker At Your Electric Panel, Or Make A Junction Box Accessible In Your Crawlspace Than Feed One 14/2 Back To A 15 Amp Circuit Breaker. I Know It Will Be Tough To Do This, But Sounds Like You Can Do It. Goodluck! And Be Safe And Cut All Juice When Working.

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