Wiring in basement

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  #1  
Old 01-12-06, 12:29 PM
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Wiring in basement

I hope you can offer me some advice.

I am finishing my basement, which will include a wet bar, TV area, bathroom and games area for the kids. I am in the rough in stage right now. I plan on having three light "zones" (three switches to control lighting in different parts of the basement), along with a refrigerator (bar), dishwasher (bar) and plenty of electrical outlets. I am having an electrician come over to assist with the connections into the circuit box, and adding any breakers I might need. My plan and questions are:

The basement has three existing lights, all of which have the pull cord switches (in other words, electricity to these is always on). I assume all three are on same circuit (although I haven't tested this yet). My original plan was to replace these lights with recessed lighting, and control the lights with end of run switches. Am I correct in assuming that this isn't possible, though, given that all three existing lights are on the same circuit (in other words, wired this way, would one end of run switch would turn on all lights, and I wouldn't be able to seperate into zones?). As such, will I need to run new wire for two of the three zones from the circuit box (with the third using the existing wiring and an end of run switch). I will not have any three way switches in the basement.

What would be the most efficient way to run wire from the box to control lights and outlets, given that I want the outlets to be hot all the time, but the lights to be controlled by a switch? Or should i just put them on seperate breakers? (note, I plan on running 12 gauge for outlets, but 14 for lights)

Also, I assume the regrigerator will get its own direct power from the box (12 gauge, 20 amp circuit).

And I assume the dishwasher will get its own direct power from the box (12 gauge, 20 amp circuit). Can these two be shared (refrig and dishwasher)?

If the GFI behind the bar is shared with other outlets in the basement does the GFI need to be first in the run? Given the size of the basement, I expect to have at least two zones for outlets (I'll probably have 12+ outlets total if every wall needs an outlet within 6')

I am trying to save some cost by pulling the wires myself and having everything ready at the box for connection when the electrician shows up, so I want to make sure I have this right before I begin. I already have the locations for the switches marked...it is just a matter of running the wires.

Thanks;

John
 
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  #2  
Old 01-12-06, 01:03 PM
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It depends what else connects to these boxes.
If nothing, pull them down and start from bare, using its supply line.
If the boxes have to stay, you need to keep them accessable.

I'd not run the Fridge and DW on the same circuit.
 
  #3  
Old 01-12-06, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jwalko
If the GFI behind the bar is shared with other outlets in the basement does the GFI need to be first in the run?
Only if you want the other receptacles to also be protected by it.
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-06, 02:15 PM
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More circuits is better. If you have doubts as to whether two things can share the same circuit or not, then assuming you have space in the panel, put them on separate circuits. If feasible, allow separate individual circuits for the refrigerator and the dishwasher.

"End of the run" switches are usually a bad idea for a DIYer. It's too easy to botch things up. It's better to have "Start of the run" switches. Run power to the switch box(es), and then from each switch to the lights it controls.

Don't worry about the "most efficient" way to run cable. Worry about the simplest way to run cable. First, run 12/2 cable daisy-chained to to all receptacles and switch boxes on the same circuit. For 3-way switch pairs, run this cable to just one of the two switch boxes only. The order of receptacles and switch boxes is immaterial. Next, run 12/2 cable from each single-pole switch box to the light(s) it controls. Next, run 12/3 cable from each 3-way switch box to the second 3-way switch box of the pair. Finally, run 12/2 from the second 3-way switch box of each pair to the lights it controls.

Receptacles in he finished areas of basements, and not near the wet bar or in a bathroom, do not require GFCI protection (but can be protected if you want). Receptacles in unfinished areas of the basement, and near the wet bar or in the bathroom, need GFCI protection, which can be provided by the first receptacle on the circuit.

Code requires a receptacle every 12 feet, not every 6 feet.

If you're running new circuits, don't base decisions on how the existing cable is routed. You're probably going to end up abandoning all existing cable anyway.

Most important of all: Read at least three books on home wiring, cover to cover, before doing anything. There are at least a hundred electrical codes you need to learn. Don't assume that you can just "wing it" based on common sense and Internet advice, and then everything will come out okay. Electricity is dangerous. It's no place to go by gut feel. You cannot come up with an acceptable plan just by thinking about it for a long time.
 
  #5  
Old 01-12-06, 07:29 PM
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Basement Wiring

John and others;

Thanks for the advice.

John, I will be hiring an electrical contractor to help me w/ the job...I was just trying to get the wire runs done myself, as that is a very time consuming process. What I am trying to determine is how many wires I need to run from their destination back to the electrical panel.

So, as it stands now, I figure one circuit for the dishwasher (12 ga, 20 amp), one circuit for the refrig (12 ga, 20 amp), probably two to three circuits for the lights and recepticles (12 ga, 15 or 20 amp). I am not counting the bath, as it will ahve its own circuits as well. My hope is to get my electrician in before I start wiring, but don't know if that is possible.

John Walko
 
  #6  
Old 01-12-06, 07:54 PM
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Absolutely talk to the electrician before you start. Determine the division of labor. Discuss the design. Discuss the materials. Otherwise, you may not be able to find an electrician willing to finish your job.

You still need to know the codes, even if you are just pulling the wires. Because the way you pull the wires will determine how hard it will be, and whether it will even be possible, to meet code.

Perhaps after you do the preparation, you may decide you don't even need an electrician.
 
  #7  
Old 01-12-06, 07:56 PM
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I think your looking good so far, one circuit for fridge, one circuit for dw, heres what I would do though. One circuit for the lights, your planning on a few cans (recessed), you don't need anymore circuits, 15 amps is fine. You can save some money and run 14/2 instead of 12/2 for the lighting as well.

Outlets can have their own 15-20amp circuit, but the bathroom outlets needs to be on their own 15-20amp circuit. Outlets can be paralleled with 14/2 as well. You might want to consider pulling your bathroom light off your outlet power, but not GFCI protected (unless you want it to be).

Also, I work for an electrical contractor (i'm just an apprentice, but I'm not a green-horn) we don't have an electical code in our area, so check with your local codes to make sure you do things correctly without having to redo work.
 
  #8  
Old 01-12-06, 08:55 PM
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I don't know what a 15-20 amp circuit is, but bathroom receptacles in the United States must be on 20-amp circuits. And of course that requires 12-gauge wire.
 
  #9  
Old 01-13-06, 07:12 PM
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when i said 15-20 amp circuit, i was refering to the circuit breaker, 15 or 20 amps. I agree with you on the bathroom being 12/2, I would still say the rest of the basement could be done with 14/2-14/3. But if that goes against NEC then 12 all the way.
 
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