switched or non-switched flexibility


Old 02-27-06, 02:25 PM
wgc is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 362
switched or non-switched flexibility

Here's an idea, what do people think?

First, in a normal room, does the code require that outlets and lights be on different circuits or is it just a good idea?

If the entire room is on one circuit, I can use three conductor wiring. At the switch, one conductor can be tied to hot while the other hot is switched. The lights would be connected to the switched hot. The outlets would be connected to always hot. Both hots would be in all locations, so I have more flexibility. For example, to make a receptacle switched, I would only need a quick re-connect to the hot that is already there, rather than any running of new wire. As another example, if I wanted to add a receptacle and the most convenient junction in the circuit is a light fixture, I can extend from there while still having the choice of switched or not. What do you think? Good idea or bad?
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Old 02-27-06, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
First, in a normal room, does the code require that outlets and lights be on different circuits or is it just a good idea?
It's not required. But it's a good idea if you have the panel space for the extra breakers and don't mind running a bit more cable. It's not a safety issue, but some people are annoyed when the vacuum cleaner causes the lights to flicker. If that doesn't bother you any, then it's no big deal. Putting them on separate circuits also reduces the chance that a receptacle overload will leave you in the dark. But if you design your circuits well and use them wisely, that's never going to happen anyway.

You can run black/red/white/bare cable everywhere if you want, but I probably wouldn't. The boxes will get crowded. It's usually a better idea just to run the wires you need to where you need them. It's not hard to do so. If you design well, you will never need the flexibility you are planning for.
Old 03-01-06, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,457
Lightbulb Extra wire in boxes

Article 314.15(A) and tables 314.16(A) and 314.16(B) of the NEC specify box volume requirements.
Extra wire could cause boxes to be filled beyond allowable limits.

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