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Help with my first electrical rewiring project & electr. diagram.

Help with my first electrical rewiring project & electr. diagram.

Old 12-22-05, 12:27 PM
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Help with my first electrical rewiring project & electr. diagram.

Hello Everybody,

We bought an old house (as-is) which was build in the 60s. We want to move in soon, but there is a lot of electrical repair to do : Most of the outlets are not grounded. Further, previous owner(s) added new circuits and obviously got rid of some old. The crawlspace is a mess with dead and life cables lying around everywhere. I decided to do a complete rewiring and replace all wires (except furnace, A/C and range ... and of course except the service panel and main feeder, they look fine).

I drew an electrical diagram last night with my plans for the new circuits including the new layout of the outlets. Most of the drywall needs to be replaced anyways, so I am 100% flexible. electrical_diagram.gif ... I am more a computer guy than a electrical guy ... I did not do too much electrical stuff before and would highly appreciate the opinions of you guys with more experience??

- Our house has approx. 1300 square feet. The small bedrooms are just 9x9, the master bedroom approx. 13x15 feet
- The main service has 150 Ampere.
- The panel is grounded with a new grounding rod next to the service entry and is additionally connected to the water pipes. At least something useful from the previous owner.
- In the diagram, I used a solid circle to mark where the circuit goes to the panel
- Since I am rewiring anyways, I plan on doing 12 AWG wires and 20 Ampere circuits only for the whole house. Does that make sense?

Old 12-22-05, 12:52 PM
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I very much like your drawing. I wish that everyone who would undertake a project like this would as good a job. make sure that when the project is complete that you keep the drawing around as a map of your system, and update it to take into account any last minute changes.

Unfortunately you have made several mistakes that you need to correct.

Today's electrical codes are very stringent in bathrooms and kitchens.

First the bathrooms. You cannot go outside the bathroom with any circuit that serves bathroom receptacles. That receptacle in the master bedroom has to go on a different circuit. Further, you can't cover two bathrooms as you have done with a single circuit. You can go either to one circuit per bathroom, or you can put the bathroom receptacles (no lights) on a single circuit and cover all bathrooms, and then put the lights on another circuit, which can include other rooms.

Next kitchens. You need two circuits that serve the kitchen counter top. Even though you have a small kitchen, you still need two circuits for the counter top. Most people would consider that small area to the left of the kitchen to be a dining room. This means that those receptacles must be on one of those two kitchen circuits. Further, those kitchen and dining room overhead lights must be on a different circuit than the receptacles in those rooms.

Finally the washer and dryer. You just have a dedicated circuit for the washer and dryer. That circuit can't go to lights, can't go outside, can't go to the workshop.

I do like your idea to use only 20 amp circuits. That simplifies things. All of the dedicated circuits I mentioned need to be 20 amp ones.

In addition to what I have mentioned (and I may have missed something), there are other requirements. For example, you need receptacles outside. In those bedrooms you need at least one receptacle per each wall. Depending on how big the living room is you may need additional receptacles there as well.

Further, you may want to consider a dedicated circuit for the hot tub (it may require one) and a dedicated circuit for the computer (not required, but desirable).

I suggest you do some reading. Go to one of the big box stores and purchase a good book or two. You want books that will detail the requirements, as well as provide information on the basics (running wire, making connections, etc).

You also want to take your plan and run it by the inspector. Better for him or her to catch any problems before you do the work rather than after.

I'm sure that others will chime in with anything I might have missed.
Old 12-22-05, 01:14 PM
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A couple further thoughts...

I believe you may be required to use AFCI (Arc Fault) breakers for any/all circuits serving bedrooms since these are new circuits.

You also should plan to add hardwired smoke detectors.

I would advise using separate circuits for lighting. I prefer this for a couple of reasons: so the lights don't dim in the room when you start a big load (such as a vacuum) in that room, and so when you service one part of the rooms electrical, you can still use the lights (not as important as the other reason, but still nice). I would plan two lighting circuits for a house this size. Use a AFCI breaker for one of them, and let it cover all the bedrooms, plus the smoke detectors.

I definately agree with using all 20A circuits. It's very little extra work, and just a little extra money, and you get a 33% increase in capacity. The only downside is that it can be harder to pack a box that has more than two cables entering. Use deep/oversized boxes in those cases.
Old 12-22-05, 01:20 PM
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I like your diagram too; it is a very complete way to review a large project like yours. Here are some of my thoughts in addition to racraft's:

1) Don't put the fridge and the TV on the same circuit. Although a dedicated circuit for the fridge is not required, I highly recommend it.

2) I think you should put all of the bedroom lights on one circuit seperate from the receptacles. Otherwise, the vacuum sweeper will cause lights dimming which I find annoying.

3) I didn't see any mention of hardwired smoke detectors. Most jurisdictions require these now, and they must be interconnected with 12/3. Sometimes they need to be on their own circuit, sometimes not; this is a local issue usually.

4) Remember your AFCI breakers for bedroom circuits.

5) Remember GFCI for kitchen countertops, outdoor recepts, bathrooms, unfinished basements.

6) Use 12/3 between the switch boxes and ceiling boxes for control of the light seperatly from the fan.

7) I think your hallway may require another receptacle; I can't tell based on the length in the diagram. It also looks like you may have too few receptacles on the kitchen countertop; no point along the countertop can be further than 24" from a receptacle which roughly means one every 4 feet. Perhaps another receptacle along the leftmost wall of the living room.

8) Learn and follow the strict clearance requirements for those lights in the bedroom closets.

Overall, I think you have a pretty good plan though.
Old 12-22-05, 02:13 PM
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I too like your diagram. What software is that if I may ask?

A complete rewire is a large undertaking and I dont think any of us on the forum can spend the time to write the book it would require to cover all the bases. Bob and the others have touched on several. A good book is a must, there are several that you can choose from, read a couple.

Some places to start:

You need to know how many circuits your main panel will support. Determine how many circuits/breakers can be installed in your panel both 120 and 220. Then adjust your plans accordingly to fit the panel.

You need to find out if it has the capacity to handle all the additions you may have. You do this with a demand load calculation. Go here to learn how....http://www.ecmweb.com/mag/electric_d...feederservice/
If your DLC comes out under the current rating of your panel then you are fine . If it comes out more then you may need to consider a new panel and upgraded service.

Along with the reading of the residential wiring books co-reference the NEC code book as you go. Here is an online version of the 2005 NEC......
You need to click "I agree" then the next page choose "open the 2005 code book". Then select the index icon and click on the section you want to reference. Read articles 110,210,220,300,334,680. You can ignore the sections that talk about electrical over 600 volts. Just generally read it for FYI it takes some formal study to understand all the ins and out.

As for your drawing, Bob has mentioned some of the things you need to address. Some others are

1.) Kitchen countertop receptacle placement and GFCI requirements. NEC ART. 210.52
2.) Bedroom AFCI frequirements NEC Art.210.12
3.) Bathrooms NEC art.210.10(c)
4.) GFCI's general NEC 210.8
5.) General wall receptacles and placement 6/12 rule NEC 210.52(a)
6.) Kitchen small applaince circuits required NEC 210.11 (c)

Check your local codes enforcement documents on the web for any revisions to the NEC. For example many places do not require the afci breakers for bedroom branch circuits.

Use the biggest cu.in. boxes you can if you run more than 3 cables to one box. This avoids box fill problems. Also if you are using wirenuts for connecting more than three wires this can become difficult for the DIYer. If this situation occurs and you experience trouble try these........
They are carried by most home centers and several manufacturers are now providing them.

The ceiling fans need fan rated boxes in order to hold the weight.

Read 334 in the NEC NM-b cable (aka Romex) has installation requirements that must be followed.

Good luck and let us hear how the project goes and ask your questions on the forum someone will be glad to answer them.

Last edited by Roger; 12-22-05 at 04:00 PM.
Old 12-22-05, 06:34 PM
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My opinions:
Put the computer room on at least two receptical circuits, another two for the living room, and yet another two for the excercise room. You may need a dedicated circuit for a treadmill. Hook the projector outlet into the outlet circuits.

Kitchen. 3 small applianec circuits, two for the counter, one for the dining area. Dedicated each for fridge, microwave, GD and DW (you might be able to share GD and DW).

One circuit each for the small BRs, two for the master.
One lighting for them all. plus smokes, all on AFCI circuits.

Kitchen/Bath lights, Hall rec/lights one lighting circuit, Comp/LR/Ex rm lights on another. Outdoor light circuit.

Two outdoor circuits, one front, one rear, GFCI.

One or two bathroom GFCI circuits, tub on its own.
Laundry and shop each on their own. Stub in for the possibility of an electric dryer.
Old 12-22-05, 07:24 PM
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Thank you!! You guys are amazing!!! Thank you soo much for your inputs. This is so much more than I hoped for. I will definitely incorporate your recommondations (probably all of them ... I am a German and we sometimes tend to be perfectionistic ). I hope I can update the drawing in the next few days (me and my wife will sand&stain the old hardwood floor over christmas so I am short on time with my electrical project). I will keep you updated.


P.S.: I did the drawing in Microsoft PowerPoint. Probably not the ideal software for that, but it works.

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